‘Trump is almost always punching down’: Pulitzer Prize-winner reports on his ‘instinctual nastiness’
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

President Donald Trump's "mean streak" was the focus of a Friday Washington Post story by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ashley Parker.

"Over the past dozen days or so, the president has spewed forth an advent calendar’s worth of cruelty — new barbs popping out almost daily, like so many tiny bitter chocolates — underscoring the instinctual nastiness that is central to his brand and casting doubt on claims from his aides that Trump is merely a counterpuncher," the newspaper reported.

"In addition to taunting John Dingell as his widow prepared for her first holiday season without her husband of 38 years, Trump also ridiculed everyone from climate activist Greta Thunberg to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-CA)," the newspaper noted.

Republican strategist Stuart Stevens blasted Trump for his tantrums.

“Trump is the worst within us, and he markets that worst as admirable,” Stevens said. “He appeals to our darkest angels, not our better angels.”

Stevens said the conduct is the "classic abusing spouse trope."

“The essence of counterpunching is never having to take personal responsibility,” he said.

The newspaper noted Trump supporters are relying upon the counterpunch defense to excuse any misconduct by Trump.

"The counterpuncher defense is repeated ad nauseam by Trump allies, including first lady Melania Trump, whose key initiative is an anti-bullying campaign called 'Be Best.' "But by definition Trump is almost always punching down. His targets of derision are not only less powerful than a U.S. president, but many are among the weakest and most vulnerable members of society," The Post noted. "He has mocked and attacked, among others, immigrants, minorities, women and a reporter with a physical disability."

"In many ways, Trump’s casual viciousness is now an inextricable part of his brand, the attribute that many supporters love and that his critics hate," The Post noted.