No end to the Trump neediness
One of the most tiresome experiences of parenting is the stage, at three or four, when your child doesn’t want to do anything without being watched and praised.
‘‘Look at me!’’ they call as they dig a hole in the sandpit or pause at the top of a slide. Dutifully you stop reading or talking in order to reassure them. You know they’ll grow out of this need to be seen and validated.
Unless you’re Donald Trump who, it’s becoming apparent, is 70 going on three. Britain, for instance, hopes to tempt him with a state visit, but that in itself is not enough for him. Trump reportedly wants a grander visit than any of his predecessors. According to aides, he wants lunch at Churchill’s birthplace, the magnificent Blenheim Palace, where the gilt and ornamentation predate Trump Tower by two centuries.
He wants a private tour of the Churchill War Rooms, with the foreign secretary as his deferential guide. Most audaciously he wants the Queen to ask him not to Windsor or Buckingham Palace but to Balmoral, which has always been a private retreat. To show that he can push the boundaries even further, he’s said to want to play a round of golf on its private course while the Queen, who is no golfer, is made to watch.
It’s the ultimate expression of infantile hunger to be the centre of attention; requiring the world’s bestknown monarch to endure being bored while you show off.
This is not an endearing human foible from the leader of the free world. It’s a deep character flaw. Becoming the most powerful person on the planet hasn’t calmed Donald Trump’s insecurities. This is a man so thin-skinned that he cannot bear any criticism. It’s led him this week to tell rank falsehoods to the CIA, ban parks staff from tweeting, and government scientists from talking to the press. In threatening the values of openness and fairness that America stands for, he’s acting on the advice his father gave him as a teenager, quoted in the book Trump Revealed, that he was a ‘‘king’’ who needed to become a ‘‘killer’’.
Trump seems to have expected that when he won the presidency he would receive the same adulation he got at his campaign rallies, or on the set of The Apprentice, or within his companies, where he has always been an authoritarian boss. It’s a fine irony that the man who spent years challenging the legitimacy of the former president and jeering at him has now discovered that the job involves responding to a constant stream of criticism.
In the weeks before the inauguration his aide, Kellyanne Conway, complained that Trump was not getting the respect he deserved from the media. This week Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said that the president’s feelings were hurt. He was, we were told, ‘‘demoralised that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment’’. This is incredible. The president is so needy that his priority appears not to be doing what he can to make America feel happier, but what America should be doing to make him feel happier about himself.
— The Times
US President Donald Trump has been infuriated by coverage of relatively small crowds at his inauguration ceremony.