A year into the Trump administration, there is no apparent containment strategy. The adults assigned to channel the man into the responsibilities and dignity of office—Jared and Ivanka, Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly—have all punted. Of course, we don’t know what disasters have been averted, or what others could be worse than they are. Not only is Trump his own master, he is his own master of ceremonies. He does what he wants and announces his triumphs before, during, and after their execution.
Nothing new here, reports Maggie Haberman in a New Yorker interview. Once a reporter for the New York tabloids and now at the New York Times (and the lead in reporting Trump’s daily misbehavior), she laments the failure of the media, and presumably herself, to fully convey what New Yorkers already knew from Trump’s years of front-page headlines. After several bankruptcies, they knew “that he was not a real businessman,” but an egomaniac who licensed his name and pursued stardom on reality TV. His associates were “not just people with questionable business practices” but “people with a history of violence.” “Throughout the campaign,” Haberman notes, “he evinced some authoritarian impulses...he kept praising dictators,” and then denied it. “One of the things that’s really challenging about covering him is he refuses to agree with the basic fact of what he just said, when you point it out.” Now, a year after the election, the rest of America knows all of this.
Trump is what the streetwise Urban Dictionary calls a “fraudster”: “an individual that flouts the norms, stands out from the crowd and thinks outside of the box. ‘Fraudsters’ stand for the idea of going against the tide, doing their own thing and doing [it] their own way. It’s a freedom and a belief that you can do anything and be anyone. Being a ‘Fraudster’ is a way of life.” Haberman doesn’t use that word, but notes Trump’s “ability to will what he thinks into reality.”