Sunday, August 14, 2022

This clip *perfectly* explains how Donald Trump thinks

There have been thousands and thousands of words spilled over the past seven years trying to understand what motivates Donald Trump, to grasp why he is the way he is.

Much of that is a waste. Because figuring out Trump doesn’t require some sort of deep psychological dig. It’s pretty basic: He is utterly transactional. Be nice to him and he will be nice back — as long as he believes there’s something in it for him to act nicely.

Witness his explanation to One America News for why he decided to back celebrity TV Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Republican primary for US Senate in Pennsylvania. (Oz narrowly defeated businessman Dave McCormick in the primary.) Here it is:

“I know Oz for [a] long time, and he’s been very nice to me over the years. And that, you know, influences you in all fairness. I’ve really liked him. I’ve been on his show. He always treated me well. He said I’m ‘a ‘very healthy specimen,’ which I liked very much. Said if you lost a couple of pounds that would be OK too, but that was alright.”

As a presidential candidate, Trump appeared on Oz’s TV show in September 2016 amid questions about a decided lack of transparency about his medical history.

The New Yorker wrote this about that appearance:

“The examination consisted of Trump handing over a couple of sheets of paper that he said contained the results of tests administered by his own physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein. Bornstein, you might recall, recently wrote that, if elected, Trump would be the ‘healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,’ a hilarious assertion wholly in keeping with the modesty of his patient.”

(Bornstein later told WEBICNEWS that Trump had personally dictated the letter about his health.)

Oz then conducted an examination in which he never laid hands on Trump and only asked the candidate questions. One of them was how Trump stayed healthy on the campaign trail. To which Trump responded:

“It’s a lot of work. When I’m speaking in front of 15,000 and 20,000 people and I’m up there using a lot of motion, I guess in its own way it’s a pretty healthy act. I really enjoy doing it. A lot of times these rooms are very hot, like saunas, and I guess that is a form of exercise and — you know?”

[Eyeroll emoji]

At the end of the interview, Oz proclaimed, somehow: “If a patient of mine had these records, I’d be very happy, and I’d send them on their way.”

Which, uh, what?

What Oz understood way back then — and what secured Trump’s eventual endorsement of his Senate candidacy — was this: Trump is hugely vain, particularly about his appearance.

The quickest way into Trump’s good graces is to compliment him. And, as Trump showed with his comments over the weekend, he has a long memory for the people who are nice to him. (He has an even longer memory for those who he believes have crossed him.)

So, Trump’s endorsement of Oz in the Senate race had absolutely zero to do with policy. It had everything to do with Oz a) being a celebrity and b) saying nice things about Trump.

Trump said as much in announcing his endorsement back in April.

“I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, even if only through his very successful television show,” Trump said. “He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected and smart.”

Trump could have added “and nice to me” to that quote — and it would have been the perfect encapsulation of how he thinks.