There's a remarkably telling paragraph in Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush's tour de force in the New York Times documenting President Trump's first two weeks in office. Here it is:Cillizza turns this into a sob story:
Usually around 6:30 p.m., Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.
He is ... remarkably transactional when it comes to acquaintances — what can he/she do for me today? -- which tends not to lead to lots of close friendships. And he is a celebrity, someone with lots of “friends” but no actual, close friends. (Quick, named people Donald Trump is friends with: Don King? Kanye West? Right.)Cillizza isn't the only one who's trying to make us feel sorry for Donald Trump. Here are two of Haberman and Thrush's Times colleagues:
... The simple fact is that Trump has never had real friends in the sense you or I think of the term. The relationship world of Trump has long been split into two groups: 1) His family and 2) people who work for him. And people who work for you are rarely your actual friends.
... Trump is, in an odd sort of way, a reclusive family man. He is someone who likes routine and likes to be around his family. Hell, he built a hotel that he both works and lives in! Even during the campaign, Trump flew on his own plane surrounded by his kids -- a protective, comfortable bubble amid the back and forth of the race.
... Without the comfort of Trump Tower and robbed of the proximity of his family, Trump is a man apart. He has cable TV, his phone and Twitter. But he lacks a group of friends or confidantes -- again, outside of his immediate family -- with whom he can have dinner or just chat. He is isolated -- and in the most high-powered and high stress job in the world. That's a very tough place to be.
Stop. Just stop.
We've had other presidents who were reputed to have few close friends -- Richard Nixon, famously, but also Barack Obama. This didn't inspire them to sign documents without reading them. It didn't make them incapable of processing basic information about the functioning of government. Maybe Nixon padded aimlessly around the White House in the desperation of his final days, but he didn't spend his first month in the White House bored. Trump may be lonely, but -- as the Haberman and Thrush story makes clear -- presidential loneliness is not the biggest problem here.
Trump doesn't need a hug. He needs to learn his damn job. Failing that, he needs to resign and hand the White House over to someone minimally qualified (at this point, even Mike Pence would be a slight improvement). Hey, he could say he's doing it to spend more time with his family.