According to CNN, President Donald Trump feels humiliated by the bombshell New York Times story revealing that he lost over a billion dollars in bad business deals between 1985 and 1994 and used the losses to avoid paying income tax for eight years.
Aides say that in private, he is expressing his determination to prove to his supporters that he is, in fact, a very good negotiator — and in particular, that if he does not, it would leave him vulnerable to former Vice President Joe Biden if he becomes the Democratic nominee for president.
Making matters worse for Trump, many of his foreign policy ambitions are stalled. China is refusing to budge on trade negotiations, North Korea is launching missiles in defiance of the administration’s pursuit of de-escalation, Venezuela’s embattled autocrat Nicolas Maduro is no closer to being toppled by the opposition, and Iran is defying their prior nuclear commitments after Trump moved to reimpose sanctions.
According to CNN, Trump is so desperate to prove himself that he even gave the Swiss government a phone number for them to pass along to Iran, and said “I’d like to see them call me.” And he is increasingly growing frustrated with the more hawkish members of his administration, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, as he fears they may take his government to war and wreck any pretense that he has diplomatic skill.
Failing both at home and abroad, Trump evidently feels as though the image he has built for himself has come crashing down, and he is desperate to save his personal brand.