Eventually, there comes the time when everyone around you is retreating. Leaving you alone in the oval office, you quickly point out that they - of course - where not worthy of your trust in the first place and that you’re better of now that they’re gone. You are Nr. 45, the greatest of all.
I certainly cannot look into Donald Trump’s mind, but I highly doubt that he feels remorse or depression. He always feels betrayed, maybe he felt like this his whole life. Perhaps he is unable to understand that his inability to admit failure, to accept that it is ok to be wrong, is ultimately the reason that everyone turns their back on him. If so, we’re in for quite a ride:
As of now - Christmas Eve 2018 - his lawyer , campaign chairman , and national security adviser are soon in jail, he was forced to dissolve his family foundation due to FBI investigations , and his private company faces several civil suits .
Even more, the government is in shutdown , the stock markets are in decline , and his decision to bring home all troops from Syria brought him a resignation of his defense secretary Jim Mattis, in the form of a clear repudiation. A man, many believed as the last “adult in the room.”
Every person with access to some inner reflection would find, that now is the perfect time to admit failure, to muse on the past and promise betterment or at least a coherent explanation for this mess. But not Trump. On Christmas eve he tweeted:
I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
followed by an equally well versed:
AMERICA IS RESPECTED AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
So it’s the usual combination of blaming someone for something and then shouting something to everyone. I often feel remembered of this quote from Futurama:
“Your lyrics lack subtlety! You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!”
— Robot Devil, Futurama
My personal opinion is that we’ve reached full-denial mode, Trump begins to understand that he is losing control over the narrative which is the one thing he always controlled. He is a god-damn reality TV-star that, due to a lack of a proper electoral system, is president. His job was always to narrate. That is all he can do.
Understanding that the only way you know how to tackle problems is not working anymore must be hard and painful, no doubt, but I honestly wonder if Trump thinks we don’t see it. The fact that he fires everyone who disagrees with him , that he increasingly spends time in front of a TV instead of at his desk (scheduled as “executive time” in his timetable ) and that he refuses to accept any counsel is witness to the fact that he willingly isolates himself.
Throughout Trump’s life, he was never second-guessed, at least not permanently. The routines he built up to appear strong were based solely on his supremacy in every situation. He never really had to bend to someone’s will, and, for his own misfortune, he is too arrogant to see his shortcomings.
When you never respect someone, then no-one can teach you something.
This behavior now backfires, and Trump is not prepared of what’s ahead. I am pretty sure that in retrospect, the first two years will be seen as the easy years in Trump’s presidency.
Next year the Democrats will have the power to subpoena the heck out of everything they want; they will use it to launch their own investigations into multiple topics, like his family business practices in the past or his campaign’s ties with Russia. At some point, Robert Mueller III will publish his findings which will cause a reaction from Democrats, the American people and - maybe most importantly - the Republicans. The second they jump ship Trump will go down, and this will get ugly because even an isolated president has significant power.
We’ll see where this road leads to, but when all of this is over. The world will hopefully have learned a lesson not to vote for authoritarian populists and go with the standard power hungry pretending-to-be-representatives instead.
© Julian Zimmermann