President Donald Trump wants to be appreciated.
“We’ve done a fantastic job,” he said Tuesday of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The only thing we haven’t done well is to get good press. We’ve done a fantastic job but it hasn’t been appreciated. Even the closing down of the borders, which had never been done, and not only did we close them but we closed it early. The press doesn’t like writing about it.”
Which tells you a whole lot about him.
In Trump’s world of celebrity and reality TV, an action doesn’t really exist unless people acknowledge it. You are defined not by your actions but by people noticing your actions and the media covering your actions.
Now, we can debate — and historians will debate — whether Trump’s actions in regard to the coronavirus should be praised or panned.
But that’s not even what I’m talking about here. What Trump’s comments today make clear is how desperately needy he is to be praised for whatever he is doing. He wants to be thanked for doing his job.
And he wants people to appreciate what they’ve done even as more people are dying and more people are being sickened. Whether or not Trump did a bang-up job, lauding him is not — and should not be — the main focus of people (or the press) at the moment.
The Point: Trump’s ability to make anything — including a global pandemic — about him is truly astounding.