Trump’s distrust of the deep state, elites and eggheads — an insecurity inflamed by Steve Bannon — makes it hard for him to trust his own government’s facts.
It’s not unknown, of course. In ancient Egypt, there was the symbol of the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. Nerve-addled octopuses sometimes consume their own arms.
But we’ve never watched a president so hungrily devour his own presidency.
Soon, there won’t be anything left except the sound of people snickering.
Consumed by his paranoia about the deep state, Donald Trump has disappeared into the fog of his own conspiracy theories.
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Many voters who took a chance on the real-estate mogul and reality TV star hoped he would grow more mature and centered when confronted with the august surroundings of the White House and immensity of the job. But instead of improving in office, Trump is regressing. The office has not changed Trump. Trump has changed the office.
He trusts his beliefs more than facts. So many secrets, so many plots, so many shards of gossip swirl in his head, there seems to be no room for reality.
His distrust of the deep state, elites and eggheads — an insecurity inflamed by Steve Bannon — makes it hard for him to trust his own government’s facts.
For two weeks, he has refused to back off his unhinged claim that his predecessor tapped his phones during the election.
According to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Trump got furious reading a Breitbart report that regurgitated a theory by conservative radio host Mark Levin that Barack Obama and his allies had staged a “silent coup.”
It is surpassingly strange that the president would not simply pick up the phone and call his intelligence chiefs before spitting out an inflammatory accusation with no proof.
Trump’s aversion to veracity is exacerbated by his inner circle of sycophants and conspiracists.
In a Wall Street Journal piece, Bannon said his anti-elitist worldview was shaped by his father’s decision during the financial crisis in 2008 to sell his AT&T stock, at a loss of more than $100,000. Marty Bannon, who started at AT&T as a lineman, got spooked by Jim Cramer’s advice on the “Today” show to take “whatever money you may need for the next five years” out of the market.
Even though one son, Steve, was a banker at Goldman Sachs and another son had an investment background, Marty Bannon did not consult them or a financial adviser until the sale was completed. He preferred, like Trump, to get crucial information from TV pundits.
“Everything since then has come from there, all of it,” Steve Bannon, the multimillionaire architect of Trumpworld, said of the stock sale. So, essentially, because Bannon’s father made a bad, hurried financial decision based on watching TV, we now have to slash Meals on Wheels, Big Bird, the arts, after-school programs, health insurance, immigration from Muslim countries, climate-change research, diplomats and taxes for the rich.
Maybe if these elites-pretending-not-to-be-elites deigned to talk to some knowledgeable elites in government once in a while, they might emerge from the distorted, belligerent, dystopian, Darwinian, cracked-mirror world that is alarming Americans and our allies. They might even stop ripping off the working-class people they claim to be helping.