Know this from the get-go: I do not claim to know Donald Trump very well if well at all. What I’m laying out here is something which may be semi-plausible, based on what little I DO know and have seen of the words and behaviors of the man who is now the president-elect of these United States.
There can be no doubt but that the healthiest (or at least most active) characteristic of Donald Trump’s psychology is his ego. Regardless of what he has or has not accomplished, Trump is convinced not only that he’s all that and a bag of chips, but that everyone else should think so, too. His overinflated self-image reinforces his self-perceived rectitude in everything he’s done to this point, whether in his business dealings or as the focal point of the television series, The Apprentice. It is also an established fact that he has at least ruminated about vying for the presidency for more than a decade. The pivotal question is: has his interest in running been about self-advertisement and promotion, or was he genuinely interested in being Commander-in-Chief?
It’s entirely possible that Trump announced his candidacy for president as a combination ego-boost / marketing ploy: promote himself and his brand, strut his stuff for a few months on the campaign trail, then go back to being a jerk on NBC and hawking everything from high-rise buildings to meat products. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. Somewhere between Iowa and the primary debates, Trump caught on with assorted demographics which the Democrats had either discounted or forgotten about. They bought the hype … and because they did, Donald John Trump is now the president-elect.
So what does he think of all of this in his heart of hearts? A very good question and one which varies depending on which Donald Trump you’re talking to at the moment. In his first meeting with President Obama, I was left with the impression that our would-be 45th president was more than a little impressed with the man he met and the picture of the presidency Barack painted for him. One might think that Donnie’s runaway ego had been tempered a bit by the weight of this vision. The moment was brief, though, as Trump boasted in a subsequent interview about having won a great landslide victory in the 2016 election. Really? Three hundred six electoral votes amounts to a landslide? And shall we also mention the popular vote, which as of this writing has Hillary Clinton ahead by roughly 2.75 million votes? Oh, sorry, I forgot; we live in a post-factual world. Meanwhile there are rumblings of the possibility of the Electoral College swinging the election to Clinton and a Congressional inquiry into Russian interference with the election which could result in a complete disqualification of the Republican presidential ticket.
All you've got to know is this: right now the government of the United States is sitting on top of the Washington Monument, right on the very point, tilting right and left and ready to fall off and break up on the pavement.
-- Senator Raymond Clark, “Seven Days in May”
Right at this moment, that’s how I’m beginning to feel about the future of this country under President Donald Trump. That feeling is not helped by his recent assertion that he isn’t interested in daily briefings provided by the US intelligence apparatus, that he’s a smart man and has no need of them. Thus far, the only person I’ve heard who may have the brass to confront Trump about his arrogant presumption is Vice President Joe Biden, who suggested the possibility of taking him “behind the gym” for remedial lessons in reality and humility … and maybe not letting his left drop.
That still doesn’t answer the question: just WHAT does Donald Trump think of this? Being that he might as well be the 21st century incarnation of P. T. Barnum, I suspect we will never get a straight answer out of him. Trump’s public persona remains the carnival barker / showman / con man and he doubtless will maintain that façade at all costs. He has let it slip, though – the above-mentioned meeting with Obama – and I wonder if there is there is a portion of his stomach sufficiently twisted from a possible recognition of what he’s actually gotten himself into to render even the slightest bit of reserve or hesitance to his overblown ego.
We had better hope there is … because that may be the only thing standing between us and four positively miserable years.