It can get hard to sort out which of the endless exposés in various newspapers and on special report news releases have the most accurate depiction of our mercurial, impulsive, irascible president. In one he can be made out to look like an evil mastermind while the next may portray him as a bumbling fool, unable to complete simple tasks without assistance.
Some news outlets, however, have access that others may not — insider privileges that allow them to go almost unnoticed as they move about noticing everything. Some have turned that access into books, but some are content to just have their accounts published in a daily paper.
Yesterday’s New York Times had one such account, and while not all aspects of the tale of Trump are surprising, it is startling to find out how little the paradigm shift in America that’s taken place during this pandemic has actually affected the president.
Scary, in fact.
I know you were right there with me when you saw the headline of this article. But honestly, it’s not just that Trump is a TV addict with almost a perversion for seeing himself or hearing news about himself on it. It’s that we knew he was that guy, and a global pandemic has done nothing to change that behavior.
It’s as though Trump is incapable of learning or adapting in any way, has no interest in doing so, and may not even have any idea that he should. He is, to use a word that makes me cringe, uncurious about anything outside of his brain’s own pleasure center.
Even his rallies have a substitute now, like a heroin addict swapping in beer His daily briefings. Trump treats the purpose of the briefings — informational awareness and concern for the health of American citizens — into an aside, like so many fingerling potatoes in the way of his well-done steak:
Mr. Trump rarely attends the task force meetings that precede the briefings, and he typically does not prepare before he steps in front of the cameras. He is often seeing the final version of the day’s main talking points that aides have prepared for him for the first time although aides said he makes tweaks with a Sharpie just before he reads them live. He hastily plows through them, usually in a monotone, in order to get to the question-and-answer bullying session with reporters that he relishes.”
Every day has become an exercise in being more Trump-like than the day before.
And lest any of his practice go to waste in his daily walks out into the Never-neverland of a White House staff that can’t and won’t question his refusal to grow up in any way, Trump wraps it all up just the way this headline promised you.
After he is done watching the end of the daily White House briefing — which is held seven days a week and sometimes goes as late as 8 p.m. — Mr. Trump watches television in his private dining room off the Oval Office. Assorted aides who are still around will join him to rehash the day and offer their assessments on the briefings. Comfort food — including French fries and Diet Coke — is readily available.
By the end of the day, Mr. Trump turns back to his constant companion, television. Upstairs in the White House private quarters — often in his own bedroom or in a nearby den — he flicks from channel to channel, reviewing his performance.”
The entire account is worth a read, but don’t let the Times reporters desire for continued access fool you. This is not a rosy account, and it is not the way they paint it at the outset, some picture of a “new reality” for the president — Donald Trump knows one reality. His own. And when things don’t conform to his reality, he switches on the TV.
Featured image via screen capture
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