Yesterday Trump held a “summit” with some people from the news media – and pitched a Hitler-style fit at them for covering him in such a meany unfair way.
I wish I were joking.
David Remnick heard from people who were there.
He points out the obvious: that any idea that the job would make Trump a wiser and better human is dead as a stone.
First came the obsessive Twitter rants directed at “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live.” Then came Monday’s astonishing aria of invective and resentment aimed at the media, delivered in a conference room on the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower. In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?
For more than twenty minutes, Trump railed about “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. When he was asked about the sort of “fake news” that now clogs social media, Trump replied that it was the networks that were guilty of spreading fake news. The “worst,” he said, were CNN (“liars!”) and NBC.
This is where we are. The President-elect does not care who knows how unforgiving or vain or distracted he is. This is who he is, and this is who will be running the executive branch of the United States government for four years.
That. He doesn’t care who knows what a fucking baby he is. He doesn’t care that he’s revealing himself, hourly, to be too childish and petulant for junior high school. He doesn’t care that we can all see what a vain greedy self-obsessed buffoon he is. He must not even realize that that’s what he’s showing us.
It’s mind-boggling. I’ll never get used to it. The grotesquerie cannot be assimilated.
The over-all impression of the meeting from the attendees I spoke with was that Trump showed no signs of having been sobered or changed by his elevation to the country’s highest office. Rather, said one, “He is the same kind of blustering, bluffing blowhard as he was during the campaign.”
Another participant at the meeting said that Trump’s behavior was “totally inappropriate” and “fucking outrageous.” The television people thought that they were being summoned to ask questions; Trump has not held a press conference since late July. Instead, they were subjected to a stream of insults and complaints…
From the guy who will be president in a few weeks. They’re the fourth estate, and he thinks it’s a good idea to summon them to his GoldVomitorium in order to try to bully them. He thinks he gets to tell them what to do.
Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and who is now his senior adviser, said that the meeting had been “very cordial, candid, and honest.”
Participants said that Trump did not seem entirely rational about his criticism of the media, nor did he appear any more informed about policy than he had been during the campaign. When one participant pointed out that all Presidents and Presidential candidates believe they get bad press, Trump said, “Not Obama!”
In fact, Trump went on at length about how much he has come to like the current President—how “great” they are getting along and how he “loves” Obama. He said that since the two met at the White House, two weeks ago, they have spoken twice on the phone. When I interviewed Obama for nearly two hours last week, he was obviously doing his best to avoid insulting or provoking a man whom he had previously declared “unfit” and “uniquely unqualified” for the Presidency. During the President’s trip to Europe and Peru, sources said, one foreign leader after another came to Obama in a mood of shock and alarm, including Angela Merkel, of Germany.
Well of course they did. What’s not to be terrified about?
Participants said that Trump did not raise his voice, but that he went on steadily at the start of the meeting about how he had been treated poorly. “It was all so Trump,” one said. “He is like this all the time. He’ll freeze you out and then be nice and humble and sort of want you to like him.”
“But he truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment,” the source continued. “He doesn’t. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”
And he doesn’t know he doesn’t understand it, and he doesn’t know that it matters that he doesn’t understand things like that.
Also, he will have the nukes. He’ll use them. I don’t think there’s any way he won’t. He has no inhibitions, no understanding, no impulse control, no ability to reason or check himself – why would he not use them?
He could be game over. It’s looking likely.