Trump’s UN delusions

I didn’t really have much to say beyond the obvious humor value of Trump getting himself laughed at at the UN.  But, apparently, I am subscribed to the NYT’s Frank Bruni newsletter without even knowing it, and I really did like Bruni’s take on just how amazingly delusional Trump was here:

Where did he imagine he was? Whom did he imagine he was talking to? He has made clear his desire that America more or less go it alone in the world, reveling in its military superiority, flexing its economic might, junking the treaties and pacts that his predecessors agreed to, using its dominance to bring the less dominant to heel.

So he would have no reason — none at all — to believe that his audience of foreign leaders and dignitaries at the United Nations would thrill to his boasting or nod at his self-aggrandizing version of events. And yet somehow he did believe that. He regarded them precisely as he does the swooning supporters at a rally in a Trump-besotted patch of America. Perhaps he hallucinated them in #MAGA caps.

“In less than two years,” he told them, digressing from the business at hand, “my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
And they laughed, or at least an audible number of them did. They can recognize a delusion when they hear one. I used the stock descriptor “self-aggrandizing” before, but it doesn’t do justice to Trump’s tic. It’s “self-deifying” from now on.

Trump’s exaggerations, however, aren’t my point, nor do I mention the response to them on Tuesday to mock them and him.

I recount the episode at the United Nations because it raises serious questions about — or, rather, confirms — how out of touch with reality he is. How deeply and broadly and limitlessly his vanity clouds his judgment and his assessments. How dangerous that is for all of us.

When he heard that laughter, it somehow took him aback. “Didn’t expect that reaction,” he said.

How can that possibly be? He expected . . . what? Pom-poms? Confetti? A marching band? He has taunted and tarred steadfast allies like Germany and Canada. He has dismissed countries not rich enough to harbor Trump golf courses and hotels with a fecal epithet that rhymes with “bit mole.” To much of the world he has shown the back of his hand. To much of it he has shown his middle finger.

Then he seeks to draft foreigners into the service of adoring him, and is surprised when they don’t report for duty?

Americans keep hearing — from “Fire and Fury,” from “Fear,” from let-me-wear-a-wire Rod Rosenstein, from get-me-out-of-here Gary Cohn — how perilously divorced from reality Trump is. His performance at the United Nations was all the confirmation that anyone could need.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Trump’s UN delusions

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Trump has tried to turn this around by saying that he expected the UN audience to laugh at this.
    Others have said his speech was directed to his base.
    I go with the delusional theory.

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