Of all the Trump profiles, hot takes and think pieces over the few years, I think that the one published by the New York Times today is easily one of the best and most realistic.
The account, based on interviews with 60 current or former White House staffers and people in Trump’s orbit, shows Trump as a man with deep insecurity and uncontrollable narcissism. It portrays, quite accurately, his need for attention and headlines as an uncontrollable appetite, a Sarlac pit of ego that he has thrown himself into headfirst. To satisfy these needs he reportedly watches between four to eight hours of television per day.
His insecurities include viewing his election result as illegitimate due to his loss of the popular vote and his lack of control over the breadth of the Russia investigation, the latter of which hangs over his head like a cloud. They are markers of a man of deep loneliness, a man whose satisfaction can only be guaranteed through the headlines he seeks, regardless of whether the reality they attach themselves is ficticious.
At age 71, Trump is an unchangeable man who views the world purely in terms of black and white. He views his administration as an “hour-by-hour” fight for self-preservation, a demon that must be brought down to his horrific level. His weaknesses fuel his excesses: he reportedly never exercises (outside of his frequent golfing), binge eats steak and drinks a dozen Diet Cokes a day. He refuses to change his racist, amateur approach and the result is a record low approval rating. His reign has so far been one of the most futile and incompetent in United States history.
Trump thought that when he took office, he would become a dictator. He thought that the job was easy and that he would take care of it like a branding and management deal. He ran into road blocks that terrified and trounced him.
That’s because while Trump views his time in office as a fight for survival and triumph over the enemies in the television show in his head, there are other people who are fighting, hour-by-hour, to defeat Trump and Trumpism by organizing in communities around the world.
This “episode” isn’t over yet. We’ll see who wins.