Donald Trump reminded us who he is on Monday. In a pair of public appearances, Trump told his usual blizzard of lies, while his recent policy decisions lead CNN’s Ronald Brownstein to write that “Trump's go-to move has become to create what amounts to a political hostage situation.”
In three separate cases—his repeated insistence he’ll walk away from NAFTA if it’s not renegotiated to his liking, his plan to kill the Iran nuclear deal, and his ending of cost-sharing reduction payments for Obamacare—Trump is “either terminating, or threatening to terminate, a series of domestic and international policies adopted by earlier administrations -- and insisting that others grant him concessions to change his mind.” He’s making all of us and the whole world into his hostages.
And he’s doing it while revealing that he’s living in what Mike Allen describes as an alternative reality, listing a litany of Trump’s lies from his Monday Cabinet meeting and subsequent Rose Garden press conference:
- Trump says he and McConnell are "closer than ever before." Both men and their staffs have been trashing each other in public and private for months.
- Trump says other presidents "didn't make calls" to families of soldiers killed in duty. They did.
- Trump says Obamacare is "dead." His repeated efforts to repeal it failed.
- Trump says it's been established that "no collusion" took place with the Russians. Bob Mueller is interrogating the president's associates and advisers on this very point in real time.
- Trump says he's on a historic pace of accomplishment. He's not.
- Trump says he "already" has "the votes right now" for a bipartisan health care fix. He doesn't.
Why did Trump make such a point of reminding us how delusional he is? Politico’s Josh Dawsey reports that:
Friends say President Donald Trump has grown frustrated that his greatness is not widely understood, that his critics are fierce and on TV every morning, that his poll numbers are both low and “fake,” and that his White House is caricatured as adrift.
So this was Trump explaining his greatness, trying to counter his critics, and showing how totally not-adrift he is. By telling a series of obvious lies. It’ll work for the minority of people who already approve of the job he’s doing, cementing the alternative reality they live in along with Trump, but as his poll numbers show, he hasn’t been convincing anyone who isn’t a true believer to begin with.