Donald Trump’s ego is not news. However, what Trump revealed today definitely is. I hope America was watching and listening. I know I was.
Trump spoke today in Bloomington, Illinois following several days of both organized, and individual, protests at his speeches in Chicago and Kansas City. The press has noted, and so it seems, that neither protesters, Trump behavior nor the facts have any negative effect upon his popularity with an increasingly adoring public.
Perhaps today’s revelation is a reason for pause.
During today’s stump speech, Trump made a noticeable shift from talking about himself as a solitary phenomenon to “us” and “we”…shifting to include his supporters into an identification of both him and them as a single entity on the same team. Under different circumstances, a therapist or advertising executive might conclude that this was a deliberately executed psychological or marketing ploy to manipulate the listener. But that’s not the cause. You had to catch another key moment in his speech to fully understand what precipitated that shift.
Elsewhere in the speech, in discussing his past use of what has been called inflammatory or crude use of language, Trump said he didn’t care if it wasn’t “smart.” In fact, he acknowledged that both Ivanka and Melania advised him that the use of such language is “not Presidential’” (on the word Presidential he mimicked and mocked them both by his tone of voice and facial expression).
However, what he said next was stunning! He said, as an aside, “We’ll have to get IQ’s tested to see….” Donald Trump publicly turned on his wife and daughter because they did not agree with him. He questioned their intelligence and implied that his own was superior.
This was an incredibly insightful and revealing moment. Yet it is totally consistent with what many third parties who have had past personal or professional dealings with Trump have said about him. He’s with you so long as you see it his way and so long as you fall in line with his intentions. The moment you no longer fit that description, you become his adversary…even his enemy… and he sets out to destroy you.
It’s unlikely that Trump will destroy his wife or daughter (although jettisoning wives is one version of just that and he has certainly done that in the past so Melania is hardly destruction-proof). As for his daughter, there are many ways for a father to devastate a daughter without all-out war. The withholding of love and approval is usually its own devastation.
What I took away from Trump’s speech today regarding the shift in his relationships, both with his followers and with his wife and daughter, is that it’s not about money at all for Trump. It’s about adoration and worship. It’s about being revered without question. Melania and Ivanka fell out of favor this week and by so doing, Trump needed to find a new source of unquestioning adoration. To that end, he turned to his followers. They stand just far enough away to only see the glitter without being able to see the dross.
The time will come when they, too, will question their idol’s behavior. When that occurs, so too will come their time of falling out and retribution.
The most pressing question they, and we as a nation, should be asking now is “What does Trump do when the crowd is no longer enough?” That time will surely come because you cannot fill a damaged vessel. Trump is such a vessel. The damage is the “leak” evidenced by his insatiable need to be worshiped. It’s why he has said he’s never done anything for which, as a Christian, he needs to seek forgiveness. He sees himself as perfected. He sees himself as a savior. The savior of the nation. What he is seeing is merely what he wants to see. He is a false savior and an emotionally needy man.
The moment of truth is upon us. What matters now is not what Trump is seeing. What matters now is what are we willing to overlook?