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How Trump thinks: Inside the mind of POTUS



You have to wonder what’s going through Trump’s head these days.

It must be a relief to get away from America and the constant scandals swirling around him and his administration. It must feel good to go places—Israel and Saudi Arabia—where he’s admired, if not necessarily loved. The Saudi royal family—those paragons of democracy–rolled out the welcome mat, and Netanyahu praised him to the skies.

But traveling to friendly countries for this president is like taking medication to ease pain. It doesn’t really solve the underlying sickness; it just masks it. Trump will be back soon enough, and will have to face up to his mounting legal and political problems.

I’ve been awfully tough on him for a long time, so let me try to see this from his point of view. First, he doesn’t acknowledge the personal faults in himself that many of us perceive: the arrogance, mendacity, narcissism, bullying, insults, threats, intellectual laziness and faux-religious pandering. It seems obvious to his critics that, character-wise, he’s deplorable; but to himself, he’s just “me,” the way all of us think of ourselves. And being “me” has worked out pretty well for Donald J. Trump. So, even though he reads the criticisms in the press and on social media, he’s able to convince himself that it’s not “me” they’re accusing. The critics don’t know the real “me” because, if they did, they’d see what a kind, good, loving, regular guy I am, and how hard I’m working to accomplish things for the American people.

What things? Like trying to protect America against terrorism. Don’t his enemies see that? And the Flynn thing. Jeez, all he was trying to do was shield the good reputation of an American patriot. What’s wrong with that? And helping dispossessed workers who have lost their jobs. Who could be against that? If you’re Donald Trump, you think, “Yes, I may be a billionaire, but I feel a greater affinity for the unemployed coal miner in West Virginia than I do for George Soros, Bill Gates or Michael Bloomberg. I really do want to help those Rust Belt folks, and I can do it by making America great again.”

We—his critics—think this is arrant nonsense. But, from Trump’s point of view, he’s entirely serious. He’s serious, too—in his own mind—about wanting to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, if he did, would win him a Nobel Peace Prize. He sees no reason why things have to be the way they are in the Middle East: As a New Yorker, he understands that people from different backgrounds can live together in peace, and as the negotiator he is, he believes he’s the right guy to bring all sides together. Given the importance of that goal, he can’t understand why his critics aren’t rooting for him.

He knows that he never intentionally tried to derail any investigation. Oh, sure, he might have been inept in his handling of things—he is, after all, an outsider, not privy to the ways of Washington–but there was certainly no collusion, no obstruction of justice. The tweets were just how he felt at the moment, not some conscious effort to mislead. He knows that the Russian thing is fake news. From his sources—Breitbart, InfoWars, Fox—as well as in his own mind, he knows the truth, and it baffles and frustrates him that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the liberal media are out to get him, for purely partisan reasons. He’s not particularly paranoid (he tells himself), but just because you know you have enemies doesn’t mean you’re paranoid.

And besides, he won the election! He is POTUS! If he has any self-doubts at all (and who doesn’t?), they’re crushed by that overwhelming fact. America likes him! He tuned into the national mood—not Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, not Ted Cruz or John Kasich, not Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. That is proof that History is on his side. And when History favors you, you know you’re right, and can be confident you’ll be vindicated.

So, yeah, he has a fight on his hands. He’s aware of that, and his White House legal team is telling him to get outside counsel. Meanwhile, he’ll move forward, backed by his Republican base, and knowing that Ryan and McConnell—those assholes—won’t dare oppose him. Bring it on, Democrats! He’s never shied away from a fight—he loves a good brawl—and he’s not about to back down now. Whatever else he may be, Donald J. Trump is not a loser! As he said in his Coast Guard Academy speech, “Never, never, never give up. Things will work out just fine.” Won’t they?

  1. I don’t know if it’s dementia or just the inevitable result of his mental instabilities. Either way, he’s in a dangerous spot, and so are we, until he’s safely disposed of and no longer has his finger on the nuclear codes.

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