At a packed hockey arena in Duluth (MN) last night, president Trump delivered a rollicking speech that harked back to his 2016 campaign.
Trump launched into his usual tirade against “fake news,” whipping the crowd into chants of “CNN Sucks.” He took credit for nearly everything under the sun with comments that were false, exaggerated or out-of-context. The fans roared with delight.
The rally was just the latest example of Trump’s almost pathological narcissism that should concern his supporters and opponents alike.
Whether one agrees with decisions he makes, the larger question is his profound need for praise and misuse of speaking platforms to demand he get more credit personally rather than in larger dimensions for the nation.
We forget he has done this consistently before military audiences, where politics doesn’t belong, and elsewhere to boast "What a great man am I."
Really great people do not have to belittle and slander those with whom they disagree.
The New York Times today reported that Trump “has made insults the core of his presidential messaging."
It noted that Trump has called reporters, lawmakers and political opponents “wacky,” “crazy,” “goofy,” “mentally deranged,” “psycho,” “sleazy” and “corrupt.”
One of Trump’s advisors should tweet him Eisenhower’s definition of leadership.
The WWII commander and 34th US president said of leadership:
“And I will tell you this: you do not lead by hitting people over the head. Any damn fool can do that, but it’s usually called ‘assault’----not leadership. Leadership is persuasion---and conciliation---and education---and patience. It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know—or believe in---or will practice.”
Had Trump at least studied and respected the work of his predecessors, many of whom faced massive challenges from slavery to war, he wouldn’t have to stage huge festivals filled adoring fans to feed his ego.
More than that, he might have gained the respect of other nations’ leaders, who now see him as less than a worldly personality and a disappointment in his role with a nation so key to world peace.
But then Trump never led or managed an organization as complex as the White House. His management experience revolves around promoting his personal brand.
That always was and remains Trump’s No. 1 priority.
Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org