Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday Week in Review, self-reflection edition

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

He shared some of his thoughts on the subject of Donald Trump.

He's not mad. In the midst of the fallout from the double-barreled Mueller investigation news, which saw his campaign chair indicted for conspiracy against the United States, and his foreign policy advisor plead guilty to lying to the FBI about meeting with Russia on behalf of the campaign, Trump was calm.

We know this because he called the New York Times on Wednesday to announce that he was calm. “I’m actually not angry at anybody,” Trump said in the unsolicited interview.

That having been said, Trump may want to inform the dozens of sources from inside his own administration who have repeatedly described his reaction to the Mueller probe as "fuming," "seething" (a word used more than once), or "freaking out."

He's quite popular. In the same call, Trump reminded the NYT of his enduring popularity, saying, “I just got fantastic poll numbers." This came shortly after he hit record lows in both the benchmark Gallup and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls.

He's perfect. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked on Wednesday what Trump's flaws are. "Probably that he has to deal with you guys on a daily basis," she responded. Pressed for a serious answer after polite chuckles from the press corps, Sanders grew serious and said "I just gave you one" and moved on to the next question.

Sanders cannot be accused of putting words in Trump's mouth: he has never, to all appearances, ever identified anything he is deficient in. (The list of things he considers himself the best at is somewhat longer.) 

He matters.  Asked by a Fox News interviewer on Thursday whether his failure to address the critical shortage of State Department personnel was hurting his agenda, Trump had this reassuring response: "Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters."

Why do these things matter?

  • Whether they are presidents or adolescent children, people who are not upset rarely if ever call people up to declare that they are not upset.
  • A president at 33% approval is in no sense of the word popular.
  • While nobody doubts the sincerity of Trump's belief that only he matters, the belief itself is not a good sign.