Trump Believes His Own Delusions, Regardless of the Facts

In a rather telling article about why Donald Trump has decided to attack Amazon, Peter Nicholas gives us some insight into this president.

Early in President Donald Trump’s term, when White House officials heard him complain vociferously about Amazon.com Inc. they arranged private briefings in the Oval Office to make sure that he would talk knowledgeably about the company.

Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, and other officials gave PowerPoint presentations and briefing papers they believed debunked his concerns that Amazon was dodging taxes and exploiting the U.S. Postal Service.

It made little difference. Mr. Trump persisted in attacks that ran counter to the material they had showed him.

“It’s not the narrative he wants,” one person familiar with the matter said of the White House briefings.  “He clearly didn’t find it persuasive because he keeps saying it’s untrue.”

According to Matthew Lee and Josh Lederman, the same thing happened regarding Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria.

President Donald Trump has spoken: He wants U.S. troops and civilians out of Syria by the fall…

It wasn’t the result top national security aides wanted. Trump’s desire for a rapid withdrawal faced unanimous opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence community, all of which argued that keeping the 2,000 U.S. soldiers currently in Syria is key to ensuring the Islamic State does not reconstitute itself.

But as they huddled in the Situation Room, the president was vocal and vehement in insisting that the withdrawal be completed quickly if not immediately, according to five administration officials briefed on Tuesday’s White House meeting of Trump and his top aides…

Documents presented to the president included several pages of possibilities for staying in, but only a brief description of an option for full withdrawal that emphasized significant risks and downsides, including the likelihood that Iran and Russia would take advantage of a U.S. vacuum.

While we haven’t seen reports documenting these kinds of conversations about Trump’s insistence on starting a trade war with China, it is clear that he is similarly dismissing the facts that some of his aides are giving him about the folly of that decision.

Regardless of how any of us might feel about the specifics of Amazon, this country’s involvement in the Syrian civil war or U.S. trade policy, this is a deeply troubling aspect of this presidency. For example, Nicholas goes on to explain that Trump’s delusions about Amazon stem entirely from his own personal animosity.

Fueling Mr. Trump’s ire is not so much Amazon, the online giant that is revamping the retail industry, but the company’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, people close to the White House say.

Mr. Trump sees Mr. Bezos’s hand in newspaper coverage he dislikes and is lashing out at Amazon as a proxy, these people said.

Relying on his own delusions rather than actual facts is what leads him to the kind of lies he spewed yesterday in West Virginia about everything from migrant rapists to voter fraud. He believes these things because they serve a purpose in his mind and no factual evidence will dissuade him from doing so.

As a result, we have the National Guard deploying to our Southern border, the very real prospects of a trade war with China and the looming possibility that next month the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement, which could spark another war in the Middle East.

If there were ever any “adults in the room” at the White House, the president has shown them the door and is now reveling in the idea that he is finally comfortable in the office. Based on what we’re seeing, that means that he is now feeling free to act impulsively on his delusions. After a year and a half of chaos, we could be entering the most dangerous period of his presidency.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.