After I returned home from New York to see my family for the holidays in my first weeklong vacation in almost four years (cue the sad violins), I read some of Trump's insane interview with Michael Schmidt from The New York Times at Mar-A-Lago, and it was truly terrifying.
Can you imagine any president of the U.S. conducting an interview with a major news service (Not you, Fox and Friends) where none of his aides or staffers were present or even knew it was happening?
As word trickled back to the White House, advisers worked to reach the president, with Trump’s personal aide interrupting at one point to hand him a cellphone with White House communications director Hope Hicks on the line; she checked in on the interview from afar.
But others were out of the loop even after the Times story was posted online Thursday evening. One White House official, when asked about the president’s impromptu interview, was perplexed, wondering aloud, “What interview? Today?” Another frustrated aide called it “embarrassing.”
Terrifying, delusional, creepy, sick, unfit, dangerous are just a few words that come to mind to describe the read.
And this is a very disturbing excerpt:
I know more about the big bills. … Than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes. Especially taxes. And if I didn’t, I couldn’t have persuaded a hundred. … You ask Mark Meadows [inaudible]. … I couldn’t have persuaded a hundred congressmen to go along with the bill. The first bill, you know, that was ultimately, shockingly rejected ... I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most. And if I didn’t, I couldn’t have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected.
In his article, Ezra brings up the the Dunning-Kruger effect.
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It refers to research by David Dunning and Justin Kruger that found the least competent people often believe they are the most competent because they “lack the very expertise needed to recognize how badly they’re doing.”
CNBC's John Harwood had a very good take as well:
I think this interview is profoundly disturbing, if you read it and think about it. The way the president speaks in such grandiose terms about himself suggests a level of delusion. I save coal. I was treated better than anyone in the history of China. I did things that Ronald Reagan couldn't do. The news media has to keep me president because the entire media system would fall apart without me.
This suggests a level of mental functioning which is not particularly acute and when he starts talking about the Russia investigation and he says 16 times there's been no collusion, absolutely no collusion, everyone agrees there's no collusion and some point you're just kind of babbling and this is the President of the United States and it cannot be even people who support his policies to hear him speak in this way.
This is only the first year of his presidency.