Never has Donald Trump’s trademarked obsessive narcissism been more shamefully exposed than it was in off-the-cuff remarks he made yesterday to a reporter.
He was asked why, two weeks after the event, he had not mentioned that four special services personnel were killed in Niger. The response was typical of this ego-possessed president. He would, he responded, be writing to and calling the families of the servicemen. He did not venture to explain why he had not done either one to date. Instead he embarked on a plaintive lament on how tough it would be make these calls.
Not how tough it would be on the families. How tough it would be on HIM.
“It’s the toughest calls (sic) I have to make,” he groaned, wearing an anguished expression that didn’t quite register on the sincerity meter and anyway only served to underline the substitution of his pain for that of the victims. “It’s a very difficult thing … It gets to a point where you have to make four or five calls in one day. For me, that’s by far the toughest.”
Rarely does anything this man does or says focus on the matter at hand, only on how well it reflects on himself, or how he might profit from it. By stressing the pain Donald Trump will endure calling people who are suffering the worst pain that can be inflicted on a human being the man has struck a new low.
Having thereby dug a large hole – to which his ego rendered him oblivious – Trump continued to dig. Not satisfied with thrusting himself into the spotlight on a subject that would have caused any normal human being to recede into the background, he now spotted an opportunity to score some political points against his predecessors. “If you look at President Obama, and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls ….”
Well, as it turns out they did make such calls. So, yet again, Trump had been caught in a blatant lie. The collection keeps growing. His press secretary, the robotically partisan and profoundly absurd Sarah Huckabee Saunders, will no doubt compound this one, as usual, by defending her boss’s remarks as some kind of alternative truth, and the barely-disguised shocked reactions of some television presenters as part and parcel of the media’s relentless campaign of ‘fake news’.
I hope the families of the fallen decline to take his calls – though Trump would no doubt have a glib explanation for that, too.