A few days ago I mentioned that if you took an observer from 2016 and showed her President Trump’s tweets today they’d think something had gone seriously wrong with the man. Yes, he was all the bad things in 2016. Almost everything that has happened connected to him was predictable. Much of it was in fact predicted. But the affect, the garbled speech, the dipping into vocabulary of Internet hate speech groups, it’s all much wilder and antic than the version we saw four years ago. But as I wrote this I noticed something different.
Through the 2016 campaign Donald Trump seemed to be enjoying himself. Not good fun. It’s the delight you see in Internet trolls and bullies. But still, he seemed like he was enjoying himself. That changed: I don’t think there’s a been a single day since January when he seemed like he was enjoying himself. He seems pissed and angry.
On the one hand this makes perfect sense. The centerpiece of Trumpism is grievance. Not just anger or predation but grievance. So it fits. But again it’s different. Then I was reminded of this bracingly revealing interview from almost exactly three years ago in which Trump explains pretty clearly – in a way that seems candid rather than strategic or self-serving – that he thought winning the presidency would amount to a sort of adulation or love entitlement (emphasis).
You have to love people. And if you love people, such a big responsibility. (unintelligible) You can take any single thing, including even taxes. I mean we’re going to be doing major tax reform. Here’s part of your story, it’s going to be a big (unintelligible). Everybody’s saying, “Oh, he’s delaying.” I’m not delaying anything. I’ll tell you the other thing is (unintelligible). I used to get great press. I get the worst press. I get such dishonest reporting with the media. That’s another thing that really has — I’ve never had anything like it before. It happened during the primaries, and I said, you know, when I won, I said, “Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.” And it got worse. (unintelligible) So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought the press would become better, and it actually, in my opinion, got more nasty.
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