Trump’s obsession with himself

Another leak, this time of transcripts of President Trumps conversations with Australian and Mexican leaders early this year, have shown again how obsessed with himself and his image that Trump is.

He said “I am the world’s greatest person” to Malcolm Turnbull in January.

And recent reports show how he seems to have trouble understanding the difference between leading a company, where the boss can dictate what he likes, compared to the complexities of the US system of government.

Reuters:  Trump, frustrated by Afghan war, suggests firing U.S. commander: officials

During a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room, Trump demanded that his top national security aides provide more information on what one official called “the end-state” in a country where the United States has spent 16 years fighting against the Taliban with no end in sight.

The meeting grew stormy when Trump said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, a Marine general, should consider firing Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for not winning the war.

“We aren’t winning,” he told them, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some officials left the meeting “stunned” by the president’s vehement complaints that the military was allowing the United States to lose the war.

Trump seems to have a habit of firing if he isn’t ‘winning’.

CNN: Trump’s Russia statement proves he doesn’t understand separation of powers

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the Russia sanctions bill that the Republican-led Congress had approved overwhelmingly. But he made sure everyone knew he wasn’t happy about it — and in so doing revealed, again, that he has either little understanding of or little care for the separation of powers built into the US government.

What makes Trump’s derision of the division of power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches different is both how brazen he is about it and how many times he has expressed sentiments in his first six-plus months in office that suggest he simply doesn’t understand the fact that everyone in the government doesn’t work for him.

And the latest leaks from Washington Post: The Post’s latest bombshell 

Produced by White House staff, the documents provide an unfiltered glimpse of Trump’s approach to the diplomatic aspect of his job, subjecting even a close neighbor and long-standing ally to streams of threats and invective as if aimed at U.S. adversaries.

With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull:

The Jan. 28 call with Turnbull became particularly acrimonious. “I have had it,” Trump erupted after the two argued about an agreement on refugees. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

Before ending the call, Trump noted that at least one of his conversations that day had gone far more smoothly. “Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said, referring to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. “This is ridiculous.” … “This is going to kill me,” he said to Turnbull. “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people.”

With Mexican President Peña Nieto:

“On the wall, you and I both have a political problem,” Trump said. “My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.”

Trump seemed to acknowledge that his threats to make Mexico pay had left him cornered politically. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to,” he said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.” …

Peña Nieto resisted, saying that Trump’s repeated threats had placed “a very big mark on our back, Mr. President.” He warned that “my position has been and will continue to be very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for the wall.”

Trump objected: “But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that.”

Jennifer Rubin at WaPo: Why the leaked presidential transcripts are so frightening

It is shocking to see presidential conversations released in this way. Some in the executive branch, as Anthony Scaramucci aptly put it, are intent on protecting the country from Trump. This is a good thing, by the way. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has obviously failed to plug the flood leaks.

These transcripts may have been leaked before Kelly took over.

Trump is frighteningly obsessed with himself and his image to such an extent that he cannot fulfill the role of commander in chief. He cannot frame logical arguments based on public policy, and therefore comes across as, well, a fool to foreign leaders.

His desire to maintain his own image suggests he’d be more than willing to make the country’s interests subordinate to his own need for personal affirmations.

Trump’s narcissism leaves him open to flattery and threats (to reveal embarrassing material, for example). That’s the worry in the Russia investigation — namely, that Vladimir Putin has “something” on Trump, which compels Trump to act in ways inimical to U.S. interests.

Trump’s interests are paramount, so a cagey adversary can easily manipulate him.

There is no easy solution.

One cannot be impeached and removed for being an embarrassment to the United States or an egomaniac temperamentally unfit for the job (that was the argument for not electing him). Unless he really goes off the deep end, invoking the 25th Amendment is not a realistic option.

That leaves members of Congress and his administration with a few options.

And Trump keeps blaming everyone else. He recently tweeted:

But he can’t fire Congress, nor the Senate. He is stuck with the political and judicial system that the US has got. And the US is probably stuck with him until he throws a major hissy fit for not getting his own way and chucks the job in.

In the meantime it is likely that Russia, China, North Korea, and much of the Middle East will be trying to work out how they can exploit Trump’s ego.

With the amount of fire power available to lash out with this has to be a major concern.

One slightly reassuring thing – Trump seems to be relying more on generals to run his administration. They may be the best chance of keeping his flaws in check.

16 Comments

  1. Trumpenreich

     /  August 4, 2017

    LOL, what happened to the “The Russians stole the election off Hillary!” narrative?

  2. NOEL

     /  August 4, 2017

    Yah gotta laugh.
    Elected because of his claims of clearing the swamp and all he has achieved creating more swamp creatures.r

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  August 4, 2017

      He’s populated Washington with sewer rats…

      but the crumbling empire might tumble shortly. Robert Mueller has just empaneled a grand jury; issued subpoenas in relation to Fredo and Kushners meeting with the Russians; subpoenad Kushner’s firm in relation to financial irregularities; and appointed a financial specialist to look at possible money laundering activities…

      Cue outrage from the blind believers who will blame anyone and anything that moves except their Chosen One

      • The only commentator here we can rely upon for outrage and moral indignation is you JB

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  August 4, 2017

          why thank you Trav, I aim to please! 😀

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  August 4, 2017

          It’s a heavy burden but someone has to maintain outrage at the criminal, ethical, and moral excesses of 45… otherwise we end up accepting outrageous conduct as the new norm.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 4, 2017

            Noel, he said he was going to drain the swamp….he just didn’t mention that he would be doing it in order to refill it to his own taste.

  3. Joe Bloggs

     /  August 4, 2017

    #23 in our series of great phone calls that never happened:

    trump: “Hey Enrique, thanks for calling to support our border stoppages”
    Pena Nieto: “I haven’t called you recently and I don’t support your actions”

    Some time later…
    trump: “please help me get better press coverage”
    Pena Nieto: “No”
    trump: “You don’t understand. I want it”
    Pena Nieto: “No”
    trump: “It’s you and I against the world Enrique, don’t forget”
    Pena Nieto: “Fuck off”

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  August 4, 2017

    Breaking news: the Secret Service has moved their command post out of Trump Tower because of a lease dispute.

    This show has the greatest scriptwriters – so much intrigue!

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 4, 2017

    He said “I am the world’s greatest person” to Malcolm Turnbull in January.

    No he didn’t. He said “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people.”

    He obviously meant he was the biggest opponent of refugee entry to the USA. You have taken him out of context in your usual attempts to demean him. Shame on you.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 4, 2017

      He need not have said that about being the world’s greatest person in any context; he obviously thinks that he is the world’s greatest person at keeping people out of a country.

      If he had said that he was ‘the greatest opponent of….’that would be very different.

      If I say that I am the world’s greatest Dickens lover, that is quite different to saying that I am the greatest person who loves Dickens-the latter says that of all the people in the world who love Dickens, I am the greatest.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 4, 2017

        No. He thinks he is the worlds greatest person at wanting to keep people out of the USA. Why do you try to change what he said? And do you think anyone else has done as much to deliver on keeping people out of the USA.

        He needn’t have said anything but he did. It is obvious what he meant and it was not what PG has said he meant.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 4, 2017
    • Gezza

       /  August 4, 2017

      I got a few clues Al. I was hoping he’d catch up to me sometime on that one. They’ll never get that place sorted out, they’ll never spend enough money on development, the local govts will always be parochially corrupt, the people ignorant, cos Muslims, & they’ll never get enuf loyal troops of their own or the Afganis on the ground to stop them warring.