I mentioned before that Donald Trump’s main personality feature is his desire to be the dominant person in any situation. That can work well in some situations such as in the testosterone-soaked world of business or in Republican primary politics. But it can also work against him in other situations.
The latter was visible in the recent incident when he was invited to speak before a largely black congregation in a Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan about that town’s water crisis. This is one of Trump’s so-called efforts at minority outreach but seems designed to reassure his voters that he, and by extension they, are not racists.
The event did not go well. The crowd was small and somewhat hostile. At one point, Trump began to bash Hillary Clinton and the pastor Rev. Faith Green Timmons came out and gently upbraided him, saying that it was not meant to be a political event. He agreed and returned to the water issue.
But the video of him meekly accepting the rebuke of the pastor was widely seen and it no doubt rankled him that he had been publicly put in his place, and by a woman no less. The best thing for Trump would have been to be gracious about the whole incident and let it die down. But he simply cannot do that. He has to reassert his dominance. So today we had the sad spectacle of Trump going to friendly territory on Fox News and trashing the pastor.
Trump’s most inglorious moments occur when he is challenged by women, as we saw in the cases of Megyn Kelly, Heidi Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Rosie O’Donnell, Gail Collins, Katy Tur, and now Timmons. So the fact that he is going to debate Hillary Clinton, a woman who is both knowledgeable and smart and is not going to be cowed by him, must be worrying his advisors.
What will he do when, at some point, she directly contradicts him or challenges him or, even worse, makes fun of him? Will he try to respond with some petty dominance maneuver?