As Donald Trump winds down his first year in the White House, it’s become clear that he has no intentions of changing his blustering and chaotic style of politicking.
There was a hope among more sober conservatives and centrists that Trump would shed some of his personal grievances and vendettas and adopt a more tepid style of politics when he took office January. But ol’ Donny has remained pugnacious and cranky, relying on a steady stream of cable news from critics and supporters alike to give him material for his attacks.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on Trump’s “battle for self-preservation” as Robert Mueller’s collusion investigation engulfs Trump’s family and associates.
The details in the story paint a picture of an insecure and anxious president, eager to latch on to positive news, and a very, very questionable diet.
Trump needs constant encouragement and positive reinforcement. But as the cloud of the Mueller investigation hangs over the White House, aides decorated his office with maps of the counties he won in last year’s election:
“For Mr. Trump, every day is an hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation. He still relitigates last year’s election, convinced that the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, into Russia’s interference is a plot to delegitimize him. Color-coded maps highlighting the counties he won were hung on the White House walls.”
While Trump needs positive reinforcement, he’s most comfortable on the attack. So the president spends much of his time looking at news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, which have often been critical of his administration:
“Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.”
Anyone who watches four to eight hours of cable news a day will most likely have a fatalistic sense of reality. Trump’s moods are so volatile that advisers have to pick and choose when to raise issues with him, finding ‘silver linings’ to talk to the president about:
“Once he posts controversial messages, Mr. Trump’s advisers sometimes decide not to raise them with him. One adviser said that aides to the president needed to stay positive and look for silver linings wherever they could find them, and that the West Wing team at times resolved not to let the tweets dominate their day.”
Finding positivity can be hard for his staff, especially as Trump has turned the White House into some sort of cable news Cerebro, tracking all his favorite, and least favorite, shows with his ‘Super Tivo’:
“The ammunition for his Twitter war is television. No one touches the remote control except Mr. Trump and the technical support staff — at least that’s the rule. During meetings, the 60-inch screen mounted in the dining room may be muted, but Mr. Trump keeps an eye on scrolling headlines. What he misses he checks out later on what he calls his ‘Super TiVo,’ a state-of-the-art system that records cable news.”
While watching his endless flow of cable news, Trump rambles to anyone who will listen while drinking his DOZEN DIET COKES a day:
“Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day.”
A dozen Diet Cokes. That is a horrifying number of Diet Cokes. That is a catastrophic amount of Diet Cokes. You can’t possibly be healthy drinking that many Diet Cokes.
The Times story is a careful and litigious piece of journalism with over 60 sources of Trump’s associates, legislators, and advisers, but when Trump was told about the reporting of the story, he was quick to rebuke the information. On a recent trip to Asia, Trump told “befuddled” reporters on Air Force One that he didn’t have time for TV:
“‘I do not watch much television,’ he insisted. ‘I know they like to say — people that don’t know me — they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources — you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents a lot.’
‘Primarily because of documents’ is my new favorite excuse for not doing a thing. As much as I particularly disdain this administration and the political reality of our nation at this moment in time, I will be adopting ‘primarily because of documents.’ Thank you, Mr. President.
Despite the constant cloud of negative headlines that have surrounded the Trump administration virtually since inauguration day, the president still loves to see his name in headlines, positive or not:
“To an extent that would stun outsiders, Mr. Trump, the most talked-about human on the planet, is still delighted when he sees his name in the headlines. And he is on a perpetual quest to see it there. One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it.”
This is not a particularly mentally or physically healthy man. He is obsessed with his own image and craves to see his name in headlines, but when he’s not combing through cable news with his super TiVo or reading through papers with a sharpie in hand, Trump finds comfort in bringing guests to dinner:
“‘I can invite anyone for dinner, and they will come!’ Mr. Trump marveled to an old friend when he took office.”
Dinner offers a brief respite from the president’s news pipeline:
“Mr. Trump has always relished gossiping over plates of well-done steak, salad slathered with Roquefort dressing and bacon crumbles, tureens of gravy and massive slices of dessert with extra ice cream.”
A dozen Diet Cokes a day, well-done steak, bacon crumble salads, and extra ice cream (not to mention his love of McDonald’s Fillet-o-Fish). This is clearly the diet of a very stable individual. Gonna start eating well-done steaks to own the libs.
Unfortunately for Trump and those around him, when dinner is over and his friends leave, it’s back to cable news, where he watches Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham on Fox News to feel all good about himself and Don Lemon to get mad:
“When the guests depart, the remote control comes back out. He is less likely to tweet at this hour, when the news he would react to is mostly recycled from hours earlier. But he watches Ms. Pirro and her fellow Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and sometimes ‘hate-watches’ CNN to get worked up, especially Don Lemon.”
This is a pretty worrisome portrait of a dude that is clearly not doing so hot. Eight hours of cable news a day is enough to cause your brain to start melting away. Twelve Diet Cokes a day CAN’T BE GOOD. As for well-done steak, well that’s just psycho shit.
Robert Mueller better hurry his ass up.