The fantasy of the normalization of Donald Trump—the idea that a demagogic candidate would somehow be transformed into a statesman of poise and deliberation after his Election Day victory—should now be a distant memory, an illusion shattered.
First came the obsessive Twitter rants directed at “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live.” Then came Monday’s astonishing aria of invective and resentment aimed at the media, delivered in a conference room on the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower. In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?
For more than twenty minutes, Trump railed about “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. When he was asked about the sort of “fake news” that now clogs social media, Trump replied that it was the networks that were guilty of spreading fake news. The “worst,” he said, were CNN (“liars!”) and NBC.
This is where we are. The President-elect does not care who knows how unforgiving or vain or distracted he is. This is who he is, and this is who will be running the executive branch of the United States government for four years.
The over-all impression of the meeting from the attendees continued
I have tried to explain character organization to people who keep expecting Trump to become more sober and statesman-like. From the beginning, I said he would never be different. There is a long, well-documented history that indicates that this isn't an act. If you really understand his character, you can understand why he is dangerous. At best, he will be a kleptocrat who makes decisions that primarily serve his own material interests while somehow managing to avoid an economic or military catastrophe. But the downside possibilities of a character like this are real and unthinkable. I hope our political institutions are solid enough to check the kind of dangerous populism and catastrophic irrationality this man could unleash.