President Donald Trump has been moaning about his political misfortunes in calls with friends, as the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide racial protests and widespread unemployment threatens his re-election chances.
The president doesn't even bother with pleasantries anymore, friends told the Washington Post, and instead launches immediately into "woe-is-me" monologues.
"The president rants about the deadly coronavirus destroying 'the greatest economy,' one he claims to have personally built," the newspaper reported. "He laments the unfair 'fake news' media, which he vents never gives him any credit. And he bemoans the 'sick, twisted' police officers in Minneapolis, whose killing of an unarmed black man in their custody provoked the nationwide racial justice protests that have confounded the president."
The president always places himself as a blameless victim at the center of these public crises, the paper reported, just as he does in his yelped tweets about “PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT!” and “POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
Longtime acquaintances say his self-victimization is nothing new, but they say those tendencies have really been cranked up during a summer of turmoil and death.
“Whatever bad happened, no matter what it was, it was always against him, always directed at him,” said Barbara Res, a former executive at the Trump Organization. “He would say, ‘Why does everything always happen to me?’”
“It was as if the world revolved around him," she added. "Everything that happened had an effect on him, good or bad.”
Even some of the president's allies are uncomfortable with the president's self-pitying phone calls while Americans are ravaged by the deadly virus, economic hardship and racial turmoil.
Some associates are urging him to adopt a less egocentric approach to boost his approval ratings, and advisers such as Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino have tried to cheer him up with events featuring truckers or social media videos featuring crowds of supporters.
Advisers also show the president internal polling that shows him in a stronger position than public polls, which all show him losing to Joe Biden.
However, some senior officials insist the president does not see himself as a victim but instead cares only about the victims of the pandemic.
“The United States of America did not ask for this plague and every American has been affected from the closure of our economy to caring for the sick and mourning those tragically lost, but under the leadership of President Trump our Transition to Greatness has already begun, and the American people are showing tremendous courage to defeat the virus, responsibly open the economy, and restore law and order to our streets,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Post in an email statement. “The President’s message has been consistent: resilience, hope, and optimism.”