The Media Village Idiots at Politico are trying on a new narrative: Trump is just a uniquely “self-contained” individual, who doesn’t respond to normal primate responses like ‘friendship’ and ’empathy’. He’s not really a monster, he’s just isolated, poor thing!
As someone who also has trouble connecting with humans, I will attest that this is the biggest load of shit since Ringling Brothers disbanded its animal acts. Trump, like any other circus performer, is an entertainer. He’s spent his entire life crafting a “Donald Trump” character, a media-friendly mock-up of everyone’s nightmare Big Boss Business Guy… the guy behind the curtain is just a meatsack that craves familiarity and doesn’t want to be touched.
The tragedy, for the rest of us, is that just as the aging monster’s physical and mental decline became inevitable, a confluence of Republican venality, American stupidity, and Russian cupidity propelled the Donald Trump Show into the White House. Great news for the parasites, not so much for the rest of us:
He’s increasingly isolated in the White House, but for Donald Trump, being alone is not a liability. It’s where he’s most comfortable…
His critics might see his growing isolation as a product of his political inexperience—an aversion to the norms of the legislative process, a penchant for topsy-turvy management. But as unprecedented as this might be in the annals of the West Wing, it’s merely a continuation of a lifelong pattern of behavior for Trump. Take away the Pennsylvania Avenue address, the never-ending list of domestic and international crises, and the couldn’t-be-higher geopolitical stakes—and this looks very much like … Trump throughout his entire existence. Isolated is how he’s always operated…
“One of the loneliest people I’ve ever met,” biographer Tim O’Brien said in an interview. “He lacks the emotional and sort of psychological architecture a person needs to build deep relationships with other people.”
It’s been this way always, because he’s always been foundationally, virulently untrusting. “There’s a wall Donald has that he never lets people penetrate,” a former associate told me. Trump has a dark, dour view of humanity. He considers the world “ruthless,” “brutal” and “cruel.” Through this zero-sum, dog-eat-dog lens, friends aren’t friends—there’s no such thing. “They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you,” he wrote in his 2007 book, Think Big. “… they want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife …” Why he’s like this is the subject of vigorous discussion among psychology experts. The deep-seated influence of his formidable father? The wound of the alcohol-fueled death of his more mild-mannered older brother? Simple genetics? Trump is not self-reflective—“I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” he told a biographer several years back—but he can be self-aware. And on this front, he’s been quite clear, and remarkably consistent.
“My business is so all-encompassing I don’t really get the pleasure of being with friends that much, frankly,” he said to one interviewer in 1980.
“Most of my friendships are business-related because those are the only people I meet,” he said to another 36 years later. “I think I have a lot of friends, and some of the friends I haven’t spoken to in many years. … I mean, I think I have a lot of friends, but they’re not friends like perhaps other people have friends, where they’re together all the time …”
Exceptions exist, of course, and Roger Stone is one of them. The inimitable, provocative political operative has known Trump, and has been friends with Trump, since 1979, when Stone was working on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign and Roy Cohn introduced him to Trump. “It’s fun to be his friend,” Stone told me. Few people have known Trump longer than Stone, or know him better.
But Trump, well before he was elected to inhabit the Oval Office, was “psychologically lonely and isolated, emotionally lonely and isolated,” I suggested to Stone. He’s a person who certainly can be socially gregarious and charming—many people say that, because many people have experienced it—but he ultimately prefers to be on his own, I offered. Now that he’s president, it seems these “self-isolating” tendencies have been exacerbated. I wondered if Stone agreed.
“I think,” Stone said, “that’s generally true, yes.”
There’s been so much focus, understandably and unavoidably, on the various parts of Trump’s personality that have helped define his presidency to this point. They are frequently cited as obstacles to his and his administration’s success. His driving belligerence. His fleeting attention span. His sweet tooth for chaos. But in the end, his well-established unwillingness, or inability, to make and maintain relationships that matter might be the most politically debilitating. Or it might not be. This elemental character trait seen by many as such a liability hasn’t stopped him yet. He is, after all, the most powerful person in the world…
Business-like! There are only two classes in the Trump monster’s world: the people he’s currently using, and the parasites who are using him. What could possibly go wrong?
He thinks the world is “horrible.” He thinks people are “vicious.” He thinks they are ceaselessly envious and want what he has. “Trust your instincts,” Trump has said. “Trust yourself.” But nobody else. “There are so many stories about people who have been decimated by people they trusted,” he has said. There’s nobody he admires. He has no heroes. “Donald,” gossip columnist Cindy Adams once said, “is somebody who’s in love mostly with himself.”…
[In 1990, Trump] wrote about the tycoon turned neurotic hermit in Surviving at the Top. “The Howard Hughes story is fascinating to me,” Trump told readers, “because it shows that it’s possible to fall very far very fast. As time goes on I find myself thinking more and more about Howard Hughes and even, to some degree, identifying with him.” He cited Hughes’ aversion to germs, and the downsides of fame, like when he’s approached in restaurants and people end up “spraying their good wishes all over my food.”
“Every time that happens,” Trump wrote, “Howard Hughes and his reclusive lifestyle look a little less crazy to me.”…
Wayne Barrett addressed Trump’s interest in Hughes in his biography. Barrett had been reporting on Trump since the late ‘70s. His book came out in 1992.
“Over the years,” Barrett wrote, “he had openly toyed with a final surreal twist to the plot that had become his life—he told friends that he might end up a Howard Hughes-like recluse, squirreled away, allowing his fingernails to grow longer than his stubby fingers. That poignant script may have appealed to the loner quality in him that had always kept him apart. The Hughes scenario only worked, though, if he could figure out a way back to the top.”…
(And so the Republican Party, in its death spasms, decided they’d take the rest of the country down with them. Speaking of monsters.)