The New York Times has a great, long-read piece about what they call “Trump’ s battle for self-preservation”. The article is worth the time.
Well, the man watches a lot of TV, and drinks a lot of diet Coke. We also know that he plays a lot of golf.
The reporting left me with two basic questions:
Who’s doing the work that POTUS usually does? Who’s making the decisions? Not Trump, if he’s spending a huge chunk of his day watching cable TV, treating each day as a reality tv episode whose ratings he has to win, calling up sycophants and supporters, and tweeting out messages designed to whip up his base. The president does, in theory, have actual work to do. Who’s doing it?
Where are Melania and Baron while Trump is pacing the family quarters, doing his solitary thing hour by hour? There’s no evidence here of a family life of any kind. We knew the Obamas had a marriage, an extended family life that included Michelle’s mother, because we had some window into their time in the White House. Through events, state dinners, and informal photography, they invited us — the American people — in. We saw a couple who enjoyed being together, enjoy being together now. We saw a family whose members were affectionate with each other. We saw lots of smiles, laughter, lighthearted moments.
I loathe Trump, and have no sympathy for him on any level. But it’s hard not to see what a damaged human being he is, how isolated and combative is his nature. He doesn’t smile; he smirks. He plays golf with the boys; women are arm candy, nothing more. His children are part of the flattery squad that has to reinforce, day in and day out, how wonderful he is. Political allies are not allies at all, but people to be bested. Political opponents he fights to the death, lest they destroy him first.
The utter mystery to me is why 32% of voters see this sad and sorry yet deeply destructive soul as someone to raise up as a leader, a role model, a defender of American values and American democracy. It’s like taking our worst fears and saying, “Look, this is just like me, and I will fight to the death to make you accept me and Trump as we are.”
Right now, that 32% is having outsized influence on our national conversation. Still looking for someone good and decent and politically adept to take command of the national stage and turn that conversation around.