Our Insecure and Thin-Skinned President
Donald Trump isn’t happy unless he’s making someone else unhappy. Humiliating a perceived enemy is the source of his energy, dark as that energy is. Confrontation is what invigorates him. It’s what gets him going.
Every day there’s a new target. By the time you read this, there will be another victim of the president’s wrath; someone who said something the president didn’t like. And no slight is too small for Donald Trump to ignore.
He goes after the prime minister of Denmark because she didn’t want to sell Greenland to the United States, and had the audacity to call the idea “absurd.”
The prime minister utters the word “absurd” but a man as thin-skinned and insecure as the president hears the word “stupid,” or something like it. And no one calls Donald Trump stupid and gets away with it, especially when he sees himself as a “stable genius.”
Then there’s Jay Powell, the chairman of the Fed, who the president has turned into a human piñata; a man he calls “clueless,” and actually asks, “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” (This is vintage Trump, who never takes responsibility for anything: Put the blame on Powell if there’s a recession – not his own trade war with China, which is what’s really slowing down the economy.)
No one who challenges the president is safe, not even an old pal like Anthony Scaramucci, who Mr. Trump now calls a “nut job.” Scaramucci’s sin was that he said nice things about the president and defended him against his critics … only 95 percent of the time.
Donald Trump is a man who demands loyalty all the time. Anything less is a form of disrespect, a show of impudence he just won’t tolerate, a trait not unusual in insecure people. Which explains why he’s even gone after a news organization that is constantly criticized for its coziness with the president -- Fox News.
Apparently, it’s not enough that Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs and the entire staff of Fox and Friends are shameless sycophants in his service.
The president expects real journalists who work at Fox to tell the world how wonderful he is too. Anything less is tantamount to fake news.
“This year alone,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, “Trump has attacked the network's polling operation (June 17), the network's decision to hold a town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg (May 19), the network's decision to host a Bernie Sanders town hall (April 16), the network's weekend news anchors and weekday anchor Shepard Smith (March 17), the network's handling of [the suspension of] host Jeanine Pirro (March 17), and correspondents John Roberts and Gillian Turner (Jan. 27).”
“Fox has changed,” the president tweeted, “and my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox. I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it."
Of course he’s not happy with it. And he won’t be until Chris Wallace and Bret Baier and the other hard news journalists at Fox are shameless toadies just like Hannity, Dobbs and the rest of the president's FNC courtiers.
Donald Trump may be so wrapped up in himself that he hasn’t noticed that America is growing weary of his non-stop battles. And unlike the president who thrives on confrontation, most normal Americans have had enough.
According to the most recent Real Clear Politics average of 10 major national polls, only 43 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance while 53.8 percent disapprove.
Yes, it’s still early but these are not good numbers for a president running for re-election. Actually, they’re horrible numbers.
His confrontations, regardless of who started the fight, are exhausting. The only ones who aren’t exhausted are Donald Trump and the 35 percent of voters who wouldn’t abandon him if he declared war on Canada and fired missiles into Toronto.
But they won’t be enough to secure his re-election. And it’s not clear if the “stable genius” understands that.