It was an illuminating leak. Donald Trump privately admitted that he can’t control himself, even if it means getting re-elected. According to three sources, when Trump aides expressed alarm for the president’s tweet saying, “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” Trump replied, “I have to be myself.”
It’s unclear if this means Trump really can’t control himself or if it means he’s unwilling to summon sufficient discipline to do so, even if it gets him a second term. As is so often the case with the Trump conundrum, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I think Trump wants a second term, all things considered, he just doesn’t want to work very hard for it. Trump is lazy, and his laziness is the byproduct of a lifetime of practice.
Everything has always been too easy for Trump, so much so that he’s never learned discipline. From birth Trump has never known anything but privilege. When he wanted money he went to his father, who gave him, by some estimates, over $400 million in increments large and small over time. When he wanted out of serving in Vietnam his father arranged that too. When daddy’s money ran out after he died, Trump went to the mob for funding, both the domestic and Russian mob, agreeing to launder their money in exchange for a cut. Throughout he counterfeited the role of the high profile, celebrity businessman and real estate developer.
Trump cannot even discipline himself in what he eats. Trump eats like a teenager left alone by his parents on a Saturday night. Most adults learn that you can’t sustain a remotely healthy life on food almost exclusively from McDonald’s and KFC. That’s a lesson Trump never learned, and he’s held his older self perpetually hostage to his younger, undisciplined self’s choices. Those choices are coming home to roost in poor coordination and poorer mental cognition.
Trump fooled a lot of people, particularly non-New Yorkers, but he couldn’t fool reality. He was a spectacular failure as a businessman by any metric, bankrupting just about everything he undertook and going a billion dollars in debt for a decade in the 80s and 90s. It was with his hit TV series, “The Apprentice,” that he slowly climbed out of the economic hole he’d dug for himself. He was able to parlay his sullied but sufficiently deceiving reputation into reality TV stardom. It was from that reboot that he was able to remake himself.
Trump’s run for the presidency was a publicity stunt that he didn’t expect to pull off. He envisioned the celebrity capital he could eke from it by playing the role he always ultimately plays, the whiny, misunderstood victim. As stunned as we all were when he won, no one was more surprised than Donald J. Trump.
Now that his unquenchable ego has had a taste of the presidency, Trump is in for the biggest letdown of his life. Donald Trump is headed for a major loss in November and he lacks the imagination to know how it will affect him. He believes he will command the same respect and deference he’s enjoyed as is the automatic due of the man himself, mistaking the deference afforded an occupant of the office of the presidency with respect for Donald Trump. It’s going to be an eye-opening 78 days for a lame duck president who is arguably the most despised human being in modern history.
Meanwhile Trump has what he enjoys most, another hood-off Klan meeting, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has a little more than four months left to enjoy it while it lasts. Donald Trump’s days are numbered. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.