I have a lot more to say on the SCO’s report, but there’s one thing most people missed. Josh Marshall spotted it too.
Trump already knew these things didn’t happen. Sessions didn’t unrecuse. Corey Lewandowski never sent his backchannel messages to Sessions. And of course Robert Mueller was never fired. What I suspect is most angering to Trump, most humiliating is precisely that these narratives show he never did anything about it. He could have fired McGahn and gotten another White House Counsel. He could have fired Mueller himself. (…) More straightforwardly, like Richard Nixon, he could have fired McGahns and Rosensteins until he found someone who would carry out his orders. But he didn’t. (Revealingly, in the one case of a real firing, he had a letter hand-delivered to James Comey at FBI headquarters when he knew Comey was on a trip to California.)
The image is one of weakness, someone who blusters but is actually surprisingly, paradoxically conflict averse.
This forms a clear pattern of behavior. Remember this incident?
For one thing, Trump announced the appointment of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to be chief of staff (and thus that Priebus was leaving) through a string of three tweets. Second, according to a pool report by Politico’s Josh Gerstein, following an Air Force One flight Priebus was almost literally kicked to the curb.
After Air Force One arrived in Andrews Air Force base in Maryland outside DC, following a trip to Long Island, Priebus initially boarded an SUV with other senior White House staff — before those staff members left his vehicle for another one. And when news broke of the firing, Priebus’s car was literally pulled out of the motorcade and sent on its way. The whole time, Trump sat in Air Force One …
Or all the “resign-firings,” of which Kirstjen Nielsen is only the most recent example. That isn’t what you expect from a leader, let alone a strong leader. It is what you expect from someone with incredibly low self-esteem, though. Someone who is desperate for praise, because they are deeply insecure about themselves. These people tend to think everyone is talking about them implicitly. They trash other people to make themselves look better, while cravenly sucking up to anyone who could help them; note that the people Trump most praises are either authoritarian leaders with access to world-class hacking capabilities, or influential Fox News and right-wing media hosts.
Trump is a coward, with an unusually high level of insecurity. His leadership style is to allow his subordinates to do whatever they want, so long as they praise or protect him. Even when they don’t live up to their end of the bargain, Trump will ineptly complain about them for months on Twitter before he can work up the courage to do anything about it.
No wonder Putin has Trump wrapped around his finger. Anyone that insecure is easy to manipulate.