Monday, September 09, 2019


The president tweeted this a few hours ago:

There's just one problem: As The Washington Post's Philip Bump notes, no recent public poll shows Trump above 88% among Republicans. All of the latest polls show him in the mid- to high 80s -- which seems impressive enough -- but Trump feels the need to bump that number up even more.

As CNN's Daniel Dale has noted, Trump has a habit of boasting in numbers -- and inflating those numbers, even when the correct numbers are already boastworthy. He does it with unemployment statistics and drug price declines. In his business career, he did it with the number of floors in his buildings.

Now that he's president, reporters actually fact-check him in something close to real time, then report on exaggerations like this. But he still keeps exaggerating.

Why is Trump bragging about his favorability within his party? Presumably because he now has three challengers for his party's presidential nomination. It might be embarrassing if one of them were to register a significant vote percentage against him -- but that clearly won't happen. Somewhere between 84% and 88% of Republicans approve of the job he's doing. And yet four state parties are canceling their nominating contests so Trump won't have to run against these three guys.

Wouldn't it be more impressive if he beat these candidates overwhelmingly? But Trump would rather be seen as too scared to run than as the guy who wiped the floor with his challengers.

This is the same president who insisted for an entire week that he correctly reported risk to Alabama from Hurricane Dorian, simply because he couldn't bring himself to acknowledge error. This was a function of Trump's desperate need to be admired -- but he seemed less worthy of admiration than if he'd simply admitted the mistake and moved on. Instead, the people he's trying to impress have spent a week laughing at him -- or worrying that he's too unstable to be entrusted with the nuclear codes.

We know that Trump craves approval -- but the things he does to win approval inspire disapproval. He insists on a ridiculous hairstyle and an embarrassingly fake skin tone so people won't think he is what he is -- a 73-year-old man with something less than a full head of hair. Has he not noticed that many balding septuagenarians have been respected and loved throughout history despite making no effort to conceal their age? Why does he do this?

Trump is not just a narcissist -- he's an inept narcissist. More people might like him if he didn't do so many preposterous things in an effort to make people like him.

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