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Citizen Trump: A Hollow Man

The Trump Tapes reveal a soulless bully with contempt for the weak

The portrait of Trump that emerges from hours and hours of recorded interviews with a biographer is cinematic. What is this man’s Rosebud? It is terrifying to think of a person like this holding supreme executive power in the most powerful nation in the world. Excerpts:

The intense ambitions and undisciplined behaviors of Mr. Trump have confounded even those close to him, especially as his presidential campaign comes to a tumultuous end, and he confronts the possibility of the most stinging defeat of his life. But in the more than five hours of conversations — the last extensive biographical interviews Mr. Trump granted before running for president — a powerful driving force emerges: his deep-seated fear of public embarrassment.

The recordings reveal a man who is fixated on his own celebrity, anxious about losing his status and contemptuous of those who fall from grace. They capture the visceral pleasure he derives from fighting, his willful lack of interest in history, his reluctance to reflect on his life and his belief that most people do not deserve his respect.

In the interviews, Mr. Trump makes clear just how difficult it is for him to imagine — let alone accept — defeat.

“I never had a failure,” Mr. Trump said in one of the interviews, despite his repeated corporate bankruptcies and business setbacks, “because I always turned a failure into a success.”

The interviews were conducted in 2014 by Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who later wrote a biography of Mr. Trump called “The Truth About Trump.”


Despite his reluctance, Mr. Trump reveals himself over and over, in the stories he tells, in his wide-ranging answers to questions and at times in casual, seemingly throwaway lines.

Who does he look up to? “I don’t have heroes,” Mr. Trump said.

Does he examine history to better understand the present? “I don’t like talking about the past,” he said, later adding, “It’s all about the present and the future.”

Who earns his respect? “For the most part,” he said, “you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”

Not all that surprising, but you can listen to the actual audio. What kind of person looks up to no one as a model to emulate? A pathological narcissist, is who. He told the interviewer — again, you can listen to the audio — that he doesn’t want to be too reflective about his life, because he might not like what he sees. More:

Of this, however, Mr. Trump is certain: He needs the world’s attention and its embrace, a life force that has sustained him for decades.

He recalled the feeling of walking into a giant room and watching as the crowd surrounded him, as if he were a magnet attracting everything around him.

Mr. D’Antonio asked him when that first started. “Long time ago,” Mr. Trump replied. “It’s always been that way.”

Did it ever unnerve him, the author wondered.

“No,” Mr. Trump said. “I think what would unnerve me is if it didn’t happen.”

Read the whole thing. “But Hillary” doesn’t come close to compensating for these character deficits. There is no person there, only fear and appetite. There is nothing that restrains him: no respect for God, no respect for anyone else, nothing but contempt for the weak and rage at anyone and anything that makes him feel small. Think how easy it would be for foreign leaders to manipulate a man like that.

How a Christian can support putting a man like this in power, I cannot imagine. I seriously can’t. It’s not simply that there’s no character or conscience in the man; it’s that there is no soul. It’s as if he were perfectly possessed by a malignant spirit.

It is not going to go well for our country after he loses humiliatingly, and receives his comeuppance on a global stage. Read what he did to his wife Ivana when she surprised him by being a better skier. Like I said, cinematic.

UPDATE: Commenter Stephen S., who teaches high schoolers, made a profound observation in the comments section below. In Dante’s Inferno, all of the damned are two-dimensional men and women. There is nothing there but the facsimile of a person. They loved their sins so much that they became them. They have no free will anymore; that is what it means to be damned. They are nothing but appetite, and have lost forever communion with God. This is Donald Trump, or at least the Trump we see in these tapes, and in public. He’s one of the living damned, and doesn’t even know it. Stephen says that Trump needs our prayers, not our votes. It’s true.



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