Donald Trump, Winning in Mississippi and Michigan, Wants RESPECT

by Heather Robinson

Fascinating political theater this evening in the aftermath of Donald J. Trump’s victories in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries.

In an event at once reminiscent of a Presidential press conference and a segment on Home Shopping Network, Trump promoted Trump water. Trump wine. Trump Airlines. Trump steaks. Trump University.

Basically, Trump used a speech about his political wins in these two states to defend and promote all the companies Mitt Romney cited in his speech last week as examples of The Donald’s business failures. The fact that some of these companies, such as Trump Steak and Trump University, are indeed defunct did not temper The Donald’s boasting. He also went on at length about his real estate holdings in places like New York and Florida, pointing out that Romney didn’t talk much about them in his attempted takedown of Trump the other day. Trump also (after saying he wouldn’t name names) called out by name members of the Republican establishment and fellow candidates who have criticized him and attempted to thwart his rise, including Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, saying, “Every single person that has attacked me has gone down.”

A few thoughts on this bizarre and entertaining event.

Clearly, Romney’s speech last week bruised Trump’s ego badly. And the other candidates’ attacks, and even analysis and reporting by journalists, has burned Trump (who never does seem to grasp that it is the duty of the press to aggressively vet candidates). Trump specifically called out Megyn Kelly, saying something to the effect that she acknowledged tonight he had done well, and he didn’t expect her to be so fair (any regular viewer of Kelly’s show on FOX News can see she is very balanced and professional and never betrays any personal bias, even against Trump, who has personally attacked her time and again). She regularly plays the devil’s advocate in her questioning of all guests and candidates. She has been very fair to Trump all along.

For her, clearly this is nothing personal.

For him, it is.

Tonight Trump seemed to be using his speech as an opportunity to gloat and to attempt to humiliate people who have tried to obstruct his rise, or who simply do not believe he is the best candidate.

What was most fascinating was witnessing that at once Trump wants to belittle these people, the “establishment” (Romney, Graham, etc.) and yet also wants their respect. Trump’s ego issues are colossal, and no doubt account for a great deal of his extreme drive. Clearly he cares deeply what people in “the establishment” think and say about him, and he wants the respect of the establishment he claims to disdain. Why else would he need to say, “I have more money than all of them put together, times 20”? Why else cite and delineate all his companies – including the failed ones Romney mentioned – by name and go into a long discussion about his various properties, specifically pointing out that Romney glossed over his real estate holdings?

I guess it could be argued that Trump addressed so many specific points raised by Romney to convince the voters. But, based on tonight’s results, Trump’s faithful bloc of voters didn’t buy Romney’s spiel about Trump. No, I don’t think this speech was intended to convince voters as much as it was intended for Romney and the “establishment,” who are in The Donald’s head. After saying he wasn’t going to name names, The Donald attacked individual members of the establishment and people he feels have not shown him respect. He alternated between saying they (Romney, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio) were nice guys, that he could get along with them, and saying they are nasty, irrelevant, etc. and insulting their characters and appearances (“Lyin’ Ted” and “Little Marco.”)

Other gems Donald threw out this evening: “I can be more presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln.”

We’re back in the schoolyard, folks.

Most of us have some insecurities and do our best to hide them, but Trump channels his into bravado and showmanship in a way I have not seen anyone do in such a naked, obvious way since about seventh grade. This display of insecurity is human enough, and combined with his showmanship, is fascinating and entertaining. There is something cathartic about watching it; for me, even though I’m not a Trump supporter, it is hard not to cheer along with him as he smacks down his critics. He is the class clown tossing the books out the window while the supercilious teacher impotently scolds him.

But unless it is mostly an act (and who can tell, exactly?) I continue to wonder what it would mean for the country, were Trump to secure the Presidency. Would he start saying, “We’re huuuge, and your countries are nothing” at the United Nations, for instance? If a foreign leader criticized his leadership, would he start calling him or her a “loser” running some “podunk, piece of nothing country”? (Note to Trump’s attorneys, those aren’t actual Trump quotes, just my best approximation of his style).

I’m by no means certain he would, but I’m not sure he wouldn’t.

While I’d wager that, with Trump’s tremendous charisma, he was, in a sense, playing a part tonight, neither his enormous ego nor his hostility toward those who oppose him strike me as purely an act.

Regarding Trump, Charles Krauthammer ,whom Trump addressed this evening, saying, “I’ve been waiting about five years, Charles” (presumably for the great Conservative commentator to write something positive about him) said, “I don’t think I’ve heard such a stream of disconnected ideas since I quit psychiatry 30 years ago.”

I wonder how else what we are seeing now might resemble what Krauthammer saw while practicing psychiatry.

Probably not much, since narcissists rarely seek treatment.

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