Trump’s Delusions

As I alluded to yesterday, Donald Trump’s interview with the Associated Press was deeply disturbing. It is tempting to throw up your hands and simply say, “the man is unhinged.” But if you have any interest in the particular way he is unhinged, this interview provided multiple examples of how he is delusional.

For example, he actually bragged about the “great chemistry” he has with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, when we all witnessed the exact opposite with our own eyes during their recent meeting. He went on to suggest that one of his great achievements will be the relationships he has established with foreign leaders.

I think I’ve established amazing relationships that will be used the four or eight years, whatever period of time I’m here. I think for that I would be getting very high marks because I’ve established great relationships with countries, as President el-Sissi has shown and others have shown. Well, if you look at the president of China, people said they’ve never seen anything like what’s going on right now. I really liked him a lot. I think he liked me. We have a great chemistry together. …

Here is how he described his about-face on labelling China as a currency manipulator.

But President Xi, from the time I took office, he has not, they have not been currency manipulators. Because there’s a certain respect because he knew I would do something or whatever…

And the media, some of them get it, in all fairness. But you know some of them either don’t get it, in which case they’re very stupid people, or they just don’t want to say it. You know because of a couple of them said, “He didn’t call them a currency manipulator.” Well, for two reasons. Number One, he’s not, since my time. You know, very specific formula. You would think it’s like generalities, it’s not. They have — they’ve actually — their currency’s gone up. So it’s a very, very specific formula. And I said, “How badly have they been,” … they said, “Since you got to office they have not manipulated their currency.”

For a reality check, China has been propping up the yuan for the last couple of years — long before Trump even announced that he was going to run for president.

On the topic of his address to a joint session of Congress, Trump actually said, “A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.”

The list could go on as there were several other examples. But perhaps you get the point. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these kinds of delusions from Trump. They started the first day he was in office with claims that his inaugural crowd was the biggest in history.

What we are witnessing is someone who needs to reshape reality to put himself in the center as “the greatest” of whatever standard is being measured. It is one thing for someone to brag constantly about their actual accomplishments. That can be annoying and selfish. But that isn’t what Trump does. He creates delusions to pretend he has accomplished great things. In that endeavor, he gets constant assists from right wing media – which creates a dangerous feedback loop.

The only remaining question about all of this is whether Trump actually believes these delusions or simply creates them in a calculated way. Based on what I’ve seen of his intelligence level and the immediacy with which he reacts delusionally, I’d guess it is the former. In a way, that is more dangerous because he wouldn’t even have the capacity to see reality. But either way, it is a disturbing trait for anyone in his position.

As we get closer to the president’s 100th day in office, I expect we’ll be hearing a whole host of delusional statements from him and his staff in an attempt to alter the reality of his failures so far. In other words, brace yourself for a constant barrage of reminders of just how unhinged our president is.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .