The Secret Decoder Ring for Donald Trump


Dan Drezner, an allegedly serious professor of international relations, insists that we attend to two Donald Trump nuggets today. Twitter makes this kind of thing far too easy. First is this one, from a Rolling Stone profile:

With his blue tie loosened and slung over his shoulder, Trump sits back to digest his meal and provide a running byplay to the news….His staffers at the conference table howl and hoot….When the anchor throws to Carly Fiorina for her reaction to Trump’s momentum, Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. “Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

And now for the explanation, as told to Trump’s biographer:

When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.

You wouldn’t be surprised to hear a first-grader get all giggly over childish insults about his teacher, would you? That’s what first graders do. At age 69, that’s still what Trump does too.

But it’s actually even weirder than that. In purely conventional terms, Carly Fiorina is both perfectly attractive and perfectly businesslike. Lots of people might think she shouldn’t be president—anyone who cares about actual success in some field of life, for example—but even a stone misogynist’s first thought wouldn’t be that he just couldn’t stand to look at her face for four years. Even Trump’s handpicked circle of sycophants apparently wondered what he was talking about.

But wait! It’s even weirder yet: Trump says this kind of stuff in front of a reporter? WTF?