The nation and the world held its collective breath this week ahead of Donald Trump’s performance at the United Nations summit, for fear he might say something reckless enough to create yet another international incident or an outright war. Instead he largely limited himself to cheap insults and embarrassing gaffes, as observers shook their heads. At the end of it all, Trump chose a bizarre measuring stick for judging the public’s reaction to his own performance.
Much of the public’s discussion of Trump’s UN performance consisted of making fun of him. When he referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” it went over poorly with everyone outside of his own base. When he twice referred to the imaginary nation of “Nambia” it became the stuff of internet punchlines. Yet when it was all said and done, this was how Trump judged the reaction:
That’s right, Trump is bragging about the fact that he was the most-discussed world leader during the UN summit. This is almost indescribably sad. For one thing, the person holding the title of President of the United States can generally expect to receive the most attention, and thus thus most discussion, in any world setting. Trump doesn’t seem to get this. But perhaps more tellingly, Trump doesn’t seem to care (or understand) that most of the attention he received was negative.
This offers some insight into Donald Trump’s dysfunctional psyche. He believes that because his name was mentioned by the public more often than any other world leader, that means he “won” the summit. It doesn’t matter whether he accomplished anything on behalf of his nation, or if respect was gained or lost. All that matters to him is the sheer number of times his name is mentioned. We’ve known this for some time, but this helps cement it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report