Tina Brown on Trump

One school of thought has it that the best way to deal with Trump is to give him what he wants. Flatter him, clap for him, give him his silly parade and his useless border wall — and you might get him to agree to something actually productive for the country.

Tina Brown, legendary former editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, has a different take on Trump. Rather than a vain, shallow huckster abnormally susceptible to flattery, she sees him as a man without a soul.

Her coverage of Trump had already started to shift by the time she became editor of The New Yorker and persuaded him — over the breakfast where she recalls that he bragged about his success with the Atkins diet for 20 minutes — to participate in the Singer story. Trump has said that Brown deceived him, promising a flattering profile that turned into a scathing portrait of a man with no soul.”


Brown also sees Trump as a silly man, one whose bullshit has been able to smooth his way right into the presidency. Now, the two New York icons have little to do with each other.

These days, there isn’t much of a relationship left between Trump and Brown. When she sat near Trump during the fateful night at the Correspondents’ Dinner, she said they didn’t even exchange pleasantries. “We ignored each other,” she said. “I don’t go up to him, I don’t want to go to talk to him. I never really did. I came to think he was very silly.”

If she thought he was silly then, a thin-skinned buffoon fuming about Obama’s taunts, it’s less amusing to her now. “Power makes him much, much worse — it feeds his narcissism,” Brown said. “He’s such a needy man. Every despot in history has been a very needy person.”

Facts clearly don’t move Trump off the insane focus on getting attention any way he can, nor does taking seriously his endless tweeting and blustering and mocking of people as credible as John McCain. I wonder if Brown’s approach might not be better? What if we all started treating Trump is a silly man, a con artist who happens to have a lot of power and wants to use it to glorify himself?

I think there’s potential here, to make fun instead of treating him as someone who is “like… very smart.” His words, not mine.

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