It seems like a minor footnote in the context of Donald Trump’s racist, objectivist primal scream against Puerto Ricans this morning, but the president humiliated himself further in another tweet about the Alabama Senate race that should not go unremarked:
In analyzing the Alabama Primary race,FAKE NEWS always fails to mention that the candidate I endorsed went up MANY points after endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
What kind of crippling insecurity would lead a man who has achieved the pinnacle of political power to say such a thing? Trump’s endorsement of Luther Strange was one of the few reasonably moral things he has done since taking office. Strange is objectively less crazy and damaging both to the country and to the Republican Party than Roy Moore. He was also loyal to Trump, and Trump owed him loyalty in return. Even if Strange was headed to certain defeat, within the context of Republican politics Trump did the right thing to endorse him. A true leader tries to push his followers in the right direction even if they don’t always listen, and demonstrates that within reason he is committing to sticking by those who stick with him, his policies and his principles.
But for Trump none of those things apply. Trump doesn’t have specific policies he cares about beyond feeding generic white male resentment and destroying Barack Obama’s legacy. He famously has no particular loyalty to associates and subordinates. It’s just all about him. Trump is a narcissist’s narcissist, and his inner demons cannot stand the fact that he endorsed the eventual loser.
But even a narcissist of moderate intelligence and discipline, having inadvertently done the right thing for once, would know to simply keep quiet about the matter and lay low. But Donald Trump lacks even moderate discipline or intelligence. He cannot help himself. He has to insist that despite the appearances, he’s really a winner after all because his endorsement supposedly helped Strange gain in the polls.
As with so much else, this too is wrong. Trump’s endorsement had little noticeable impact on the polling. Trump is lying again.
But what an odd thing to insist, anyway. It would be more remarkable if the sitting President of the United States had absolutely no impact on his own base when injecting himself into a congressional race in a small state, going so far as to hold a rally for his favored candidate. Trump would be wise not to call attention to the fact that he couldn’t even accomplish that much, but even if he were right it would be no accomplishment at all.
In a day filled with outrage, this small vignette was one of the least overtly important, but perhaps most telling and embarrassing of all when analyzing Trump’s character defects and his crippling insecurity.