Republican Peter Schiff has got the award for "not being able to read the room". He has won it by so much, he gets to keep the award forever.
We are in the midst of a world-defining moment in terms of geopolitics. Ukraine has unified the West, solidified NATO and its support, and strengthened the EU. Putin and Russia are looking increasingly isolated as China tries to navigate a fine line.
And who sums up this scenario the most forcefully? Biden? Macron? Johnson?
Not even close, and everybody knows it.
President Zelenskyy does. He is the figurehead, and rightly so. Not just because he is leading like a leader, inspiring like an inspiration, but because he should encapsulate this defining moment since this moment—though it has huge global ramifications—is about Ukraine. It is about an independent, sovereign country being invaded by a huge superpower and fighting so bravely. It is about a humanitarian crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since World War 2. It’s about a nation galvanizing, coming together to present the biggest obstacle to Putin’s poorly crafted plans.
Stingers, Javelins, NLAWs, and MANPADs aside, Putin cannot succeed when the country he has come to liberate almost universally hates him and doesn’t want or need liberating.
And the glue that has bound this hatred, this resistance, this national pride has been the green-T-shirt-clad President, nonchalantly walking around Kyiv, filming himself and plastering himself all over social media.
This has been a masterclass in PR.
Zelenskyy’s publicly presented persona has succeeded in winning over politicians with standing ovations from the House of Commons to the Bundestag to the US Congress.
What hasn’t been a PR success has been Republican financier Peter Schiff’s utterly tone-deaf and ridiculously imbecilic remarks after the President’s speech to Congress. Schiff, a former congressional candidate in Connecticut and the chief economist at Wall Street giant Euro Pacific Capital, decided to sum up the whole state of affairs with an evaluation and criticism of Zelenskyy’s attire:
And Twitter obliged in the way that we would expect. Schiff doubled down:
I simply cannot believe that someone would be so ignorant of public image as to say this. Zelenskyy is famous for what he wears—it has become a thing. I’ve seen TV hosts dress the same, consistent remarks on it, and memes aplenty. The Ukrainian President is no fool. He knows this look is iconic. It’s why he hasn’t changed it. And it also represents that he is there, fighting with the Ukrainians for their freedom. He is working for them and with them and among them.
He is not a suit.
His people see this, and his audience sees this. His speeches to each of the national political houses he speaks to know this. At the end of the day, his speeches are emotional. They are designed to pull on heartstrings to evoke sympathy and action. And, my, has he succeeded. Do you think he would have appealed in the way that he has sitting stiff-backed in a neatly pressed suit?
He has won the war of images against Putin. He has won the social media war. He has won the information war outside of Russia. Now the West, due to his appeals and success in the aforementioned, are seeking to help him win the military war.
Twitter has gone to its own battle with Schiff and his exemplification of idiocy:
And speaking of great leaders fighting for and with those around him:
And the final thing I want to add here in terms of wearing suits comes in the form of a letter sent to a newspaper. It sums up my feelings as well as anything:
Or, as one commenter stated: