Trump biographer reveals how president can have both 'bottomless self-pity' and 'superhuman self-confidence'
Journalist and Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio (Photo: Screen capture)

President Donald Trump spent the Christmas holiday at the White House, where he signed blank legislation, claimed to be approving a contract for a 115-mile section of wall he could not legally build and complained of being lonely.


Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio appeared on CNN Wednesday to discuss Trump's "surreal" tweets that show "bottomless self-pity" even as he maintains his "superhuman self-confidence."

"He's very confident about his ability to manipulate us with Twitter and to command our attention so it is hard to fault him on that, but when he says I'm all alone, it's up to us whether that's a joke and whether he's just tweaking us or whether he really does feel all alone," said D'Antonio. "We do know from the New York Times reporting last week that he's quite isolated. That's always been a problem with him—he's tended to surround himself with people that agree with him."

D'Antonio was asked about a recent piece in which he argues that Trump is behaving as he always has.

"When he came into office, people said, I even speculated that maybe the office would change him," D'Antonio said. "But what he is really doing is insisting that we change our view of what the presidency is. And I think that's actually happening. People in many realms are starting to tune out elements of what comes out of Washington because they know it's going to change the next day. And they're not as upset by the chaos as they might have been a year ago."

Trump is a master manipulator who employs "a cycle of demanding something, not getting what he wants entirely, but interpreting it as a win," D'Antonio said. And "anything that happens that isn't pleasant is going to be somebody else's fault."

No one is still in denial about how he operates, D'Antonio said.

"I think the interesting thing is that everybody knows this now," he said. "This is his operating system. You know, the cyclical approach to manipulating us and declaring what is real instead of accepting what's real. There may be terrible things that happen in the year to come, but I don't think he's going to ever take responsibility for any of them."

Just as he will never take responsibility, D'Antonio said, Trump will also seek to quash dissent in his inner circle now that he is embattled.

"He's going to surround himself with people who are going to challenge him less," D'Antonio said. "The new cabinet members are going to be less independent-minded than the ones who have departed. So I wouldn't expect there to be more adults in the room.

Watch the segment below.