Conservatives somehow believe that Donald Trump, a former reality-TV-host-turned-president, is a real tough guy, presumably because he spent so many years pretending to fire people on “The Apprentice.” But that is, and always has been, a lie. Trump supporters mistake his petty, spiteful aggression for strength, when it is in fact the exact opposite.
Trump’s endless bickering and Twitter tantrums reveal a man who is thin-skinned, self-obsessed and pathetically insecure.
Despite having more power and responsibility than anyone else on the planet, Trump wastes his days in the White House obsessing over pointless feuds and satisfying his compulsive need to whine about every perceived grievance.
Why? Because the only thing Trump truly cares about is making himself look good. No policy is more important than boosting his ego. No lie is too outrageous if it’s in service to his self-esteem.
Just consider the depressingly stupid week-long brouhaha over Trump’s infamous condolence call to a fallen soldier’s widow.
A Democratic Congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, who was present for the call, said Trump seemed to forget Sergeant La David Johnson’s name and told Sgt Johnson’s widow he “knew what he was getting into when he signed up”.
Trump accused her of “totally fabricating” his words. “I did not say what she said,” he insisted, over and over again only to be contradicted by Ms Johnson herself who later confirmed the Congresswoman’s account.
So unless you’re prepared to impugn the motives of a grieving widow, it is clear that Trump was lying.
The phone call itself is not the problem here. We all occasionally stumble over our words or blurt out the wrong thing, and that’s without the immense pressure of speaking to a tearful spouse. So, Trump’s clumsiness during the call is entirely forgivable. The problem is, however, that the President of the United States would rather shamelessly lie about his conversation with a war widow than offer anything resembling an apology.
This isn’t the kind of arrogance you usually see in politics. If you want an example of an arrogant president, look at Barack Obama, who genuinely believed he could change the world by making inspiring speeches, without considering the fierce Republican opposition.
Trump, a guy who scammed poor Americans so he could live in a penthouse made of gold and marble and somehow anointed himself the champion of the white working class, is different. His ego is gigantic, yes, but it’s also pathetically fragile. That is why he has such an overwhelming impulse to get back at anyone who criticizes him.
In Trump’s mind, he was the victim. He always is. When his words offend a grieving widow, he’s the victim. When the media quotes him word-for-word and he doesn’t like how it sounds, he’s the victim. When he fails to convince Congress to do what he wants, he’s the victim.
This week he was attacking the Mueller investigation again, because when someone tries to find out why on earth he fired the FBI Director and lied about his motive, he’s the victim.
Trump, who repeatedly whaled on Obama for taking too many golf trips when he should have been working, has spent a quarter of his own days in office playing golf.
He accused the Clintons of being corrupt, and has used his presidency to funnel millions of dollars into his own businesses.
He constantly, shamelessly lies, and spent years spreading the ridiculous conspiracy theory that Obama was not an American citizen, but has the gall to label any facts that make him look bad “fake news”.
But no Trumpian hypocrisy is more infuriating than the people who called Obama a narcissist because he used the word “I” too much now fawning over a man whose defining character trait is a compulsive need to make everything about himself.
Trump’s fragile narcissism has corrupted his movement. There is only one condition for membership of the Trump personality cult — absolute loyalty.
You must praise everything he says and does. If you criticize him, no matter how impeccably conservative your credentials, you’re labelled a leftist; a commie or a traitor. Political and moral principles are sacrificed in service to the only thing that matters — Trump’s ego.
Trump’s constant, unquenchable thirst for adulation isn’t tough, it is pathetic. A bigger man, and a better president, would have enough self-confidence and respect to ignore the petty fights and get on with his job.
So, if after ten months of Trump’s compulsive whining you still believe he is as tough as he claims, you have not been paying attention.
As former New York City Mayor Michale Bloomberg recently said, “electing Donald Trump is the stupidest thing the U.S. has ever made.”
This article first appeared on Political Dig. Published with permission.