Chaos? A Trump Specialty

As Congress sees a shutdown as increasingly inevitable, the president sees a chance to show more swagger.

Mr. Trump’s embrace of a shutdown has given lawmakers on both sides the freedom to throw up their hands and claim this whole mess is beyond their control. The mood around the Capitol is less one of urgency and activity than of fatalism. Last week, Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Congress looked to be “headed down the road to nowhere.

.. Not only did Speaker Paul Ryan fail to mobilize lawmakers for a vote on Mr. Trump’s $5 billion, but many lame-duck members couldn’t be bothered to show up for work at all. (Nothing like an electoral rout to take the starch out of a conference.) Counting, much less whipping, the vote became all but impossible. By Thursday, House leaders gave up and sent members home for a six-day weekend.

.. On the Senate side, Mr. Schumer’s office is insisting that everything depends on whether the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, can persuade the president to embrace a deal that Democrats can live with. The latest offer on the table is for a one-year “continuing resolution,” or C.R., that would delay the fight by temporarily funding parts of the government at current levels.

Shutdowns are especially fertile ground for Mr. Trump because they pit him against a political establishment that, as he sees it, obstinately refuses to pay proper deference to his genius. He has repeatedly voiced frustration at Congress’s unwillingness to lie back and let him run things as he sees fit.

Threatening to throw the government into chaos — to furlough, or in the case of personnel deemed “essential,”withhold paychecks from hundreds of thousands of workers, includingFood and Drug Administration inspectors, Transportation Security Administration inspectors and, paradoxically, Border Patrol agents — lets him exact a bit of cathartic payback, reminding lawmakers just how uncomfortable he can make their lives.

Chest thumping and trash talking remain central to Mr. Trump’s brand as a disrupter. His followers thrill to him precisely because of his pugilistic, vaguely unhinged personality. The more he rails against politics as usual, the more his base swoons.

As for those who see Mr. Trump as behaving like a petulant toddler, he doesn’t have to face their electoral judgment for another two years — an eternity in politics.

For now, the president can relish playing the tough guy. Even if he winds up folding, he’ll doubtless toss out some alternative facts and declare victory. As usual, he has ensured that this holiday season’s drama is all about him.

Have you ever met Donald Trump in real life? Is he the same person that the media portrays him to be? How is he different when not seen through the eyes of the media?

Yes, I have. Several years ago, I was invited to be a tag-along at a dinner with The Donald by some very influential friends in the Boca Raton area. I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited, but hey, who doesn’t love a little dinner theatre every now and again?

He. Would. Not. Shut. Up. About. Himself.

The entirety of the two-hour dinner (amazingly, in retrospect, not at a Trump-branded establishment) was devoted to a single speaker and a single subject: The Donald, as narrated by The Donald. His business acumen. His latest coup of a deal. His fabulous lifestyle, his plane, his prowess with the ladies (Melania was not in attendance, and he leered at any server with a skirt). Any time anyone tried to get a word in edgewise to perhaps discuss a business deal or a point of common interest, he would immediately turn it back onto himself, with phrases like “Oh, that reminds me of when I…”

He is exactly the man I met years ago. The media portrays him as a self-absorbed, narcissistic buffoon, and that is who I found him to be. He did actually speak entirely in complete sentences during the dinner; I believe that when he takes the podium, he is actually terrified, and his brain leaps from topic to topic, attempting to gain applause. Perhaps that’s why he seems so scattered. He was less so at dinner, but then again, there were only 12 of us in total, and most at the table were ardent fans from whom he had to win no approval. I was not. He probably hated me for it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I found him to be a cravenly self-seeking yet painfully ordinary man. Were it not for his “pedigree,” he would be the guy permanently seated at the far end of the bar that nobody wants to talk to. Yes, money talks, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen. I did, but I wouldn’t have missed anything had I not.

I think Donald Trump is amazing. What would you say to change my mind?

I like Chris Oleary’s answer best. I don’t think I can top that, but there are few behavioral points I would like to point out. I myself am an independent. I have voted both Republican and Democrat in the past. I am, however, anti-Trump. I disagree with almost all of his policies, but that isn’t why. It is because of his behavioral patterns:

ANTECEDANT: A popular comedian or actor goes on record making a joke about the president

BEHAVIOR: Trump publically insults that person in a way that is opinion based and can’t be proven

CONSEQUENCE: Trump gets a ton of attention in the media; behavior is reinforced.

A: Policies of a non-democratic leader come into question

B: Trump declines to weigh in or makes a public suggestion that if the US makes money off those actions then they will not be condemned

C: Trump gets more support by non-democratic leaders and more media attention. Behavior is reinforced.

A: Migrants walk toward the US for whatever reason

B: Trump blames it on democrats

C: Trump gets more media attention and validation from his base. Behavior is reinforced.

A: Racial issues come to light that incite violence in the US

B: Trump calls himself a nationalist and makes comments about home countries of minorities

C: Trump gets more attention from the right wing extremists. Behavior is reinforced.

These behaviors are not democratic or republican. They do not serve republican ideals. There are many responses he could come up with that further the goals of the Republican party. These behaviors are designed for self gratification only.

You may be saying- ok, what’s the point? The point is that in order for Trump to continue to receive the attention that he seeks, he has to continue to publically react to events that are highly non-democratic in a way that invokes an extreme reaction from the public. As the presidency goes on, these behaviors will become more and more extreme. He may have to create situations himself just so he can react to them.

At some point he will grow bored of validation from his base and require a new set of situations that will bring about the reinforcing consequence of extreme attention. Eventually, he will have to one up himself every time he interacts with the public.

Because his need for attention greatly out ways his ability to create stability, he is a ticking time bomb. His suppors think that he is a loyalist. He is not. He will grow tired of their praise and require more attention from the American people and the world. When that time comes he will put things like civil liberties, amendments, laws and even his own base supporters aside in order to get that reinforcement.

No one is curbing his behavior. Since he is the most powerful man in the world, maybe no one can. It serves you now, but eventually it won’t. When the rights of hard working Americans like you start to be an afterthought for Trump, don’t say no one told you so. He goes where the attention and the deal is. Believe me, if he decides his base is not that, he will utterly betray you AND the party. THIS is not a man you should trust. He wants to be on the loudest and most victorious team. Period.

Making Acosta a Federal Case

Question: What does CNN’s Jim Acosta crave more than anything? If you said “attention,” go to the head of the class. It’s a mystery why the White House has given Acosta way more than that. By yanking his “hard pass” after last week’s press conference (don’t ask who was obnoxious; they all were), Acosta has literally become a federal case. CNN filed suit claiming that its reporter’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated. More than a dozen news organizations, including Fox, have filed amicus briefs supporting CNN, and even Trump-friendly Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano has opined that Acosta has a strong case. Mr. Showboat is just where he wants to be — the center of attention — but thanks to President Trump’s gratuitous swipe, he is also a free-press martyr.