Donald Trump is, among other things: A billionaire, a celebrity, a child of privilege, a father, a husband and the President of the United States.
For all of that, what he is, at his core, is a victim – at least in his own mind.
The media, his staff, former business partners, his Cabinet and, well, almost anyone else not wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, 24/7 are out to get him in some way, shape or form. He is always having to deal with their biases, their mistakes, their flaws.
Here’s how Trump views the world:
(Yes, I drew that.)
We all see ourselves at the center of our own universe, to some extent. But Trump sees himself that way to an absolute extreme. And, it’s not just that he views himself at the center of the universe – it’s that he believes the universe is out to get him and that he is deserving of pity and sympathy from everyone.
Take his speech in Arizona on Tuesday night. It reads like a victimhood manifesto.
Consider just a few lines:
* “(Members of the media) don’t report the facts Just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK.”
* “I’m really doing this more than anything else, because you know where my heart is, OK?”
* ” I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They’re elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.”
* “How about – how about all week they’re talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside. Where are they? Well, it’s hot out. It is hot. I think it’s too warm.”
* “You wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. Because they’re putting like seven people all negative on Trump.”
* “Barack Obama never said it took place because of radical Islamic terrorists, he never said that, right…But with me, they wanted me to say it, and I said it. And I said it very clearly, but they refused to put it on.”
In just that handful of lines, Trump is victimized by the media, the elites, protesters and former President Barack Obama. All of those people – and institutions – are out to get him. They target him – very unfairly! – because he is willing to speak hard truths. And they can’t take it.
None of that is, strictly speaking, true. But Trump has spent his entire life creating a story – a story in which he is always the coolest, smartest, richest and best person in the world despite the “losers” and “haters” out to get him at every turn.
Remember that the seminal experiences of Trump’s life all revolved around him being on the outside looking in at the elites, the smart set, etc.
His father was a big real estate developer in Queens, not Manhattan. When Trump went into Manhattan to develop, he wasn’t accepted by the old money crowd in the city. Even when he became rich beyond belief, he wasn’t offered membership into the most exclusive clubs (so he built his own). When he talked about running for president, people mocked and laughed at him.
The Trump takeaway: “They never wanted me in their little clubs. (To quote Kanye: “But I know they don’t want me in the damn club/ They even made me show ID to get inside of Sam’s Club.”) But I am better/smarter/richer than all of them. I’ll show them. I’ll show them all.”
Victimhood sits at the heart of Trump’s motivations for, well, everything. Including running for president. And being president. He is our victim-in-chief.