The Method to Trump’s Madness

It’s true that most of the media was aghast at Trump’s performance in the press conference yesterday. But that’s not how it’s playing in the right wing media. Take a look at some of these headlines:

Rush Limbaugh: Trump Triumphs Over Press
Roger Simon: The Media Bulls Have Met Their Matador in Trump
Alexis Simendinger: Defending Rocky Start, Trump Regains His Mojo

As Michale Goodwin writes, that’s how Trump’s performance yesterday is playing among his supporters.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected…

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

According to this account from the New York Times, that’s exactly what the president thought he needed.

For days, a frustrated and simmering president fumed inside the West Wing residence about what aides said he saw as his staff’s inadequate defense and the ineffectiveness of his own tweets. Over the objections of some top advisers who wanted to steer him away from confrontation, Mr. Trump demanded to face the media, determined to reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into chaos, scandal and incompetence…

He attempted to reassert his command of “dishonest” journalists at a time when the news media is questioning his capacity to lead. It all made the brooding boss feel better, people close to Mr. Trump said.

In addition to the press conference, Trump has planned round two for tomorrow.

The key there is to notice that Trump needs to connect with “his people.”

Yesterday when I noted the criteria for assessing Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one that had not obviously been exhibited during the press conference was, “requires constant admiration.” Obviously Trump was able to satisfy that need when he was running for president, but the office itself comes with constant scrutiny and the kind of critiques his ego isn’t able to withstand. Getting back in touch with his supporters via the press conference yesterday and a campaign rally tomorrow is the method to Trump’s madness we’re seeing on display.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.