Poor Donald Trump. As president he is now forced to sit in the White House and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fake news, rather than enjoying his alleged fortune. If there is one thing that’s clear about his new job, it’s that he hates it. He admitted that it was much harder than he thought it would be. That’s probably why he spends so much time avoiding work at his luxurious golf resorts.
Not surprisingly, his detachment from the office drives him further from any alignment with the American people. His approval ratings are historically low, and his policies are opposed by significant majorities. As someone who likely suffers from Malignant Narcissism, Trump is unable to cope with this rejection. Consequently, he invents scenarios wherein he is uncharacteristically beloved. He imagines massive, adoring audiences that don’t exist. He makes wildly delusional claims that everyone agrees with him.
This may explain his inability to process polling that shows him decidedly out of favor. The latest example is an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that asked “Who are you more likely to believe, former FBI Director James Comey or Trump?” According the pollsters:
“By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans say they are more likely to believe former FBI Director James Comey than President Donald Trump when it comes to their differing accounts of events that led up to Comey’s firing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
“Forty-five percent of respondents say they are more likely to believe Comey’s version of events from his June 8 testimony to the U.S. Senate, versus 22 percent who are more likely to believe what Trump has said.”
A deeper dive into the poll has even worse news for Trump. For instance, when broken down by party affiliation, only fifty percent of Republicans said they believe Trump. Also, his overall disapproval shot up eight points since last month.
Nevertheless, Trump is convinced that the only problem is how the media portrays him. The Washington Post reports that Trump “thinks media reports automatically treat Comey’s version of events as superior to his own.” And why not? Trump has a long record of lying about pretty much everything (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) He has never told the truth about his net worth or taxes. He frequently changes positions on political issues. One day he’ll claim to have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, and the next day he’ll deny ever meeting him. And his references to data about jobs or immigration or terrorism seem to be made up on the spot.
On the other hand, James Comey has a long career in public service that is unmarred by any suggestion dishonesty. While his judgment was questioned during the 2016 election, his veracity was not. And nothing has come to light since the congressional hearings that contradicts his testimony. Even Trump has validated it. Despite calling him a liar on several occasions, Trump is now asserting that he manipulated Comey into telling the truth. Responding to questions about his May 12 tweet implying that he had tapes of his conversations with Comey, Trump now says it was a bluff to scare him into honesty. Unfortunately for Trump, it’s also a confession of witness intimidation.
So a plurality of the American people believe Comey over Trump. And Trump himself says that Comey has been telling the truth. So why is the President still so surprised by the public’s reaction? Why does he still think it’s the media’s fault rather than his own compulsive lying? Why is he in such an acute state of denial? These are question that are better put to a psychiatrist than a political analyst. But Donald Trump’s mental state is obviously cause for concern. And without intensive care and treatment we can only expect it to get worse.