Wednesday, October 11, 2017


In response to Gabriel Sherman's Vanity Fair story describing President Trump as "increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods," Martin Longman reaches for just the right quotes:
Back in April, President Trump did an interview with Reuters in which he said that he was already missing the lifestyle he enjoyed prior to assuming the office: “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” he said. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

It wasn’t a surprise to his longtime friend, radio shock jock Howard Stern. On the February 1st airing of his program, Stern told his audience that he had warned Trump off of running for president:
“I really was sincere, I said, ‘Why would you want to be the president of the United States? You’re not going to be beloved, it’s going to be a f*cking nightmare in your life,” Stern recalled telling Trump in audio first flagged by CNN’s KFile.

“He stepped into a situation that’s really not a win for him,” he added. “He’s a 70 year-old guy, he’s got a great life, gorgeous wife, great kids, he’s got helicopters, airplanes, all the accoutrements of the great life… so now to step into this f*cking mess, and for what? There are people who are better suited for this kind of thing.

“He didn’t need this in his life.”
But I don't agree with Longman's conclusion:
I don’t think Trump ever thought he’d win a primary, let alone the nomination or the presidency. He wanted attention and he wanted to build his brand. Maybe he wanted to do the Russians a favor and torch Jeb Bush’s neoconservative presidential aspirations.

Before long, he might grow as pissed at the people who voted for him as the rest of the world is already feeling. “What kind of maniacs thought I’d be good at this job?” I can envision him saying.
I don't think Trump believed he would absolutely win the nomination and the presidency, but I'm sure he had a lot of confidence in his ability to do so. He was sure the presidency would be easy -- I can't believe he thought winning the presidency would be hard. This is a guy who thinks everything is easy for a man of his towering intellect. As David Corn reminds us today, as far back as the 1980s, Trump believed he had all the skills he needed to be a nuclear negotiator:
In a 1984 interview with the Washington Post, Trump, then a 38-year-old celebrity developer, said he hoped one day to become the United States’ chief negotiator with the Soviet Union for nuclear weapons. Trump declared he could negotiate a great nuclear arms deal with Moscow. Comparing crafting an arms accord with cooking up a real estate deal, Trump insisted he had innate talent for this mission. He claimed he would know exactly what to demand of the Russians—though he conceded his lack of experience in the technical field of nuclear weaponry. “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles...I think I know most of it anyway,” he said. “You’re talking about just getting updated on a situation.”

... In 1986, Trump told Bernard Lown, a cardiologist who invented the defibrillator and who received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for joining with a prominent Soviet physician to promote nuclear arms reduction, that he could concoct a nuclear disarmament deal with the Soviet Union and end the Cold War in an hour.
I think Trump is upset now because everything isn't effortless. He thought a bill that would give everyone great healthcare for less money would just magically appear on his desk, awaiting his signature. He thought his generals should give him an awesome plan to wipe out all terrorists immediately. He thought he could just demand a massive increase in America's nuclear arsenal and it would happen, as if arms treaties, budget limitations, and the fear of a global arms race weren't constraints on him.

Everything was supposed to be easy -- and I'm sure he still thinks it could be. I'm sure he thinks it's other people's fault -- although maybe he occasionally suspects that he's not up to the task. That thought must be painful, and I'm sure it's instantly banished from his mind. But no wonder he's in a bad mood all the time.

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