Surely the image of White House press secretary Sean Spicer raging at the press corps as he falsely declared Trump’s inauguration the biggest ever in an unsteady tirade on Saturday is burned into your mind if you follow politics.
You ain’t seen nothing yet, apparently.
That ragefest came straight from President Trump, who thought Spicer hadn’t gone far enough, Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Matea Gold reported in the Washington Post, in an article based on interviews with senior White House officials, Trump advisers and confidants.
“President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build,” they open.
Watching the “massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency” compared to the footage of his much smaller inauguration, “Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.”
He seems to have taken personally that pundits were comparing his turnout to the protests and to other inaugurations. We already know Trump responded to the National Park Service tweeting out a picture of the National Mall during his inauguration as compared to Obama’s by ordering them to stop tweeting.
The writers go on to talk about the power struggles within the Trump administration, noting, “At the center, as always, is Trump himself, whose ascent to the White House seems to have only heightened his acute sensitivity to criticism.”
The Washington Post article’s description of Trump’s temperament isn’t a one-off. It can be seen as corroborating a Politico article in which we learned, “One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.”
They have to control information that might infuriate him.
The Trump team is relying on the fact that their base doesn’t care about facts or reality, according to the Josh Dawsey’s Politico article, “First, his team will be very combative, even when the facts are not on their side, trusting that their political base dislikes the news media and will believe them no matter what. Sometimes, they are likely to muddy the water or throw a hand grenade into a political debate just to change the headlines.”
This New Trump is just like the Old Trump. President Trump doesn’t care about the facts and he is not going to change tactics now just because he’s supposed to be leading the free world.
So far, we’re not getting New Trump. We’re not getting the “reboot,” Republicans told us was coming, you know when the man who campaigned like an incoherent megalomaniac in need of medication and therapy was going to magically turn into the kind of person who should be holding the red button.
It was foolish for anyone to fall for that “give him a chance” rhetoric after the way Trump campaigned, as Trump never gave any indication that he was an intelligent person capable of such long-term deceit as a strategy. Impulse is the name of the game with Trump. Trump has gut instincts regarding showmanship and the big con. He’s Vegas meets gangster. Subtlety isn’t Trump’s forte.
The first few days of the Trump administration paint a scary picture of the new president’s temperament. Thin-skinned rageaholics do not good leaders of democracy make. Donald Trump is an easy pawn with an ego so fragile he simply can’t let even the slightest criticism roll of his back.
No one said being president would be easy, but of all people to refuse to broker any criticism, the man who spent 8 years trolling President Obama over his birth certificate should have known that the job wouldn’t be a cake walk of obsequious press coverage and fawning subjects.
The anger we saw in the Trump administration on day one came from the top down, so the trickle down ragefests will continue. It will be an administration marred at the very least by inappropriate outbursts and chaotic, childish responses.