Donald Trump built a political career on his purported gifts as a negotiator and dealmaker. But after six months in office, his presidency has been defined by his seemingly endless capacity for self-pity. As Charles Blow writes in his Monday column for the New York Times, Trump may be the single biggest whiner in America.
Blow notes that in a speech to graduating Coast Guard cadets in May, Trump claimed that no politician “has been treated worse or more unfairly.” These comments came after a New York Times report that FBI Director James Comey had been asked to drop an investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. A separate Washington Post story also alleged that the president had revealed highly classified information with visiting Russian officials.
Trump “is unceasingly pained, injured, aggrieved,” Blow writes. And it is this sense of victimhood that appeals to conservatives who feel their privilege is waning in power:
The way they see it, they are victims of coastal and urban liberals and the elite institutions — economic, education and entertainment — clustered there. They are victims of an economy evolving in ways, both technical and geographic, that cuts them out or leaves them behind. They are victims of immigration and shifting American demographics. They are victims of shifting, cultural mores. They are victims of Washington.
Trump’s whining isn’t a clever political tactic, but a natural expression of his narcissism and fragility. Coupled with Steve Bannon’s stated mission of “deconstruction of the administrative state,” and Blow sees a “perfect storm of extreme orthodoxy and extreme insecurity.”
Trump is a tool of those in possession of legacy power in this country — and those who feel that power is their rightful inheritance — who are pulling every possible lever to enshrine and cement that power. Suppressing the vote. Restricting immigration. Putting the brakes on cultural inclusion.
The only thing preventing that toxic orthodoxy and insecurity from erupting into chaos is Trump’s laziness. Blow notes that his “Twitter tantrums” and “obsessive television viewing” don’t constitute real work. Newsweek called him a “Lazy Boy” on its cover this week. And as if playing the victim weren’t enough, Trump also accuses other politicians of his own vices—this crooked and lazy liar is “at this very moment on a 17-day vacation.”
Read Charles Blow’s column in its entirety at the New York Times.