President Trump is Sullen, Isolated, Abandoned, and Alone

Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post via ZUMA

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How is our president doing these days? Here’s a quick summary from media reports:

Washington Post: Angry and increasingly isolated … fumes … voices frustration … revives old grudges … seethed with anger … raging … venting … furious … .irate … “Morale is the worst it’s ever been” … feels abandoned and alone.

Politico: Chaos here, backlash there, shock everywhere … growing sense of despair … deep demoralization and discord … erratic … sullen and isolated … deeply suspicious of the people around him.

Guardian: Abandoned in a raging storm … fulminated … isolated, angry and ready to lash out … unchecked volatility … “angry and gunning for a fight” … erratic … morale is understood to be at an all-time low … increasingly isolated and mercurial … staggering from one crisis to another.

These stories must be rough on reporters. I mean, how many synonyms for “raging four-year-old” are there?

Actually, though, the true connecting thread running through all these stories is: sullen, isolated, abandoned, and alone. In the past, Trump tossed around vague orders and within a year or two a new golf course would open. He believes that was all due to his leadership, and the only thing different about the White House is that he’s got a different staff. So if things are failing now, it can only be the fault of the people working for him. His personality doesn’t allow him to believe anything else.

The result is predictable: when things start going south he lashes out at his staff as either incompetent or disloyal. Then he gets new staff. And when things keep going south the only possible explanation is that everyone is against him. And so he ends up sullen, isolated, abandoned, and alone.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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