Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trump's Great Strength: He Knows How to Connect to People, Unfortunately Only As a CON Man

As noted before: I've always thought The Donald had an exceptionally high EQ (although I think he misuses it).

And he know how to connect.

Too bad he connects to people only as a CON Man.

Read the Washington Post, Trump has picked fights over the flag before. But this time was different., which notes:

"As a businessman, Donald Trump erected unauthorized flagpoles on his properties to embarrass local officials who were trying to uphold zoning ordinances. As a presidential candidate, he told the first football player who sat in protest during the national anthem to 'find another country.' And as president-elect, he attempted unsuccessfully to revive the decades-old debate about the constitutionality of flag burning, after a single incident at a small college in Massachusetts.

So when he decided, out of the blue, to attack the National Football League over its players’ protests during the national anthem, the resulting controversy followed a well-worn formula. What was different, however, was the enormous backlash that his comments created — far larger than any of those previous incidents combined.

Trump attacked an enormously popular sport whose fans prefer it to be a politics-free arena, while once again touching on the raw nerve of race. In so doing, the president proved anew that divisive provocations can mean something completely different when they come not from a private citizen, but the man whose very job description is to lead the country.

'Most presidents believe that a big part of their job is to keep the country together,' said Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, who noted that even Richard M. Nixon spoke of bringing the nation together during his 1969 inauguration. 'There is very little sign that Donald Trump has much of an idea that unifying this country has much to do with being president. He just hasn’t shown it.'

Trump credits his ability to see and exploit cracks in American society as the key to his political success. During the campaign, he praised his gut instinct in latching onto fears about Muslim refugees and Hispanic immigration as the key to his victory in the Republican primary, comparing it to his ability to predict successful real estate investments.

'I understand people,' he said before another rally in Alabama in 2015. 'I’ve made a lot of money because of people, because deals aren’t anything other than people.' . .

Trump’s political strategy appears to be following the logic of other national firestorms he has prompted: take a stand for a position that brings into clear relief the divide between himself and those who he describes as unpatriotic elites. He uses the controversy to dominate the news cycle, position himself as a strong leader and demonstrate that he is fighting for regular working Americans nostalgic for an earlier time in the country’s history. . .

Trump’s longtime instincts tend to come to the fore when he is looking to distract from other issues. Shortly after his attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation, Trump decided to rattle the government with a false claim that President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. The most recent attack on the NFL came as he stares down two potential blows to his presidency this week, the likely failure of another Senate plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and a special primary election in Alabama, where his chosen candidate, Strange, continues to trail in the polls."

So, The Donald understands how to manipulate people, but he can't control himself, and use his skill for any good purpose.

Trump's Big CON: "He's So Pretty", Hurricane Maria Edition (AKA Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (CONt., Part 15))

UPDATE III:  Another MUST READ: the Washington Post, A Narcissist’s Guide to Helping Others Understand It Is All About You, which states in full:

"Excerpted from 'The Me-Driven Life: A Narcissist’s Guide to Helping Others Understand It Is All About You,' by John Barron.

Reprinted without permission.

Chapter 12, 'Coping with Natural and Man-Made Disasters,' pp 269-277

Natural disasters and their man-made counterparts (mass shootings, terrorist attacks) pose an obvious challenge for those living the Me-Driven Life. These events are frustrating, and inconvenient, because they tend to cause those people to think about their own problems: their injuries, the loss of loved ones, their hunger, thirst, discomfort, life-threatening cholera, what have you.

This is a common character flaw, and it is harmful because it distracts them from their more pressing obligation to think about you.

It is likely that this loss of perspective is temporary, but even a temporary loss of focus on you is dangerous. It must be arrested and reversed as quickly as possible. You can help these people by getting them to stop thinking about their own concerns and to redirect such destructive thoughts. Here are a few practical steps to return others’ focus to where it appropriately belongs.

First, show them what extraordinary things you are doing for them. Use adjectives such as 'great,' 'amazing' and 'incredible' frequently when referring to the work you have done. Some examples: 'I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.' 'We get an A-plus.' 'We have done an incredible job.' Don’t be afraid to tell them the work you and those who work for you have done 'is really nothing short of a miracle.'

Be sure to highlight those who affirm you and your centrality to the situation. This positive reinforcement encourages others to drop thoughts of themselves in favor of thoughts about you. If somebody praises you, say, 'He started right at the beginning appreciating what we did,' or, 'He was saying it like it was, and he was giving us the highest grades.'

If somebody has praised you, you might even try to get that person to repeat the praise in front of an audience. Note that the person has said 'such nice things' about you and suggest, 'Jenniffer, do you think you can say a little bit of what you said about us today?' If Jenniffer does as requested, encourage others to do the same by saying, 'I saw those comments, and everybody saw those comments, and we really appreciate it.'

Visual aids can help. If people need food, for example, don’t just hand out bags of rice and paper towels. Make a show of it! Toss supplies through the air as if shooting baskets. If people gather at the scene of disaster, make them all appear to be your fans simply by saying 'What a crowd!' or 'What a turnout!'

The sad fact is, when a disaster causes somebody to dwell on his or her pain or loss, they are not capable of fulfilling their obligation to you. They must be jolted back to reality. Tell them what they are going through is not a 'real catastrophe.' Tell them the death count is low, or say their disaster doesn’t measure up to other disasters. Telling them to 'have a good time' and letting them know 'you don’t need' emergency supplies will help them realize their catastrophe is not as central to them as you are. To the extent they believe they are suffering, you need to convince them that this is only because they are not helping YOU. Say, 'They have to give us more help,' or, 'They want everything to be done for them.'

Don’t hesitate to remind others of your importance to them. Say that everything you’re spending to help them has 'thrown our budget a little out of whack.' Remind them that they 'owe a lot of money' and 'we’re going to have to wipe that out.'

Never forget that what should matter to them most is you: your role, your experience, your needs. If they have suffered loss, tell them that 'it’s a very, very sad day for me, personally.' After consoling people, say that 'it was really something that I enjoyed very much.' Try to mention some association you have with the place: a business transaction you made, something you own, a victory you won. Offer them what they want most — an invitation to visit you.

If you employ these techniques, you will find that you can successfully divert others’ attention from whatever 'catastrophe' distracts them — and back where it belongs. When you depart the scene of tragedy, you will be able to say: 'I think it means a lot to the people . . . that I was there.' And you will mean it."

FYI, John Barron contacted the media and claimed to be a spokesman for The Donald, but was actually Donald Trump himself.

UPDATE II:  "In the Aesop’s Fables tale of the frog and the scorpion, the frog asks why the scorpion stings him as the frog carries the scorpion across the river, thereby dooming both of them to death. 'It’s my nature,' replies the scorpion. So it is with President Trump, who can only be true to his nature, despite its dire consequences.

A day after playing the role of healer in a teleprompter-read statement about the Las Vegas shooting, Trump went to Puerto Rico. Before leaving, he rapped the islanders’ knuckles: 'On a local level, they have to give us more help.' For himself, he had only praise: 'But I will tell you, the first responders, the military, FEMA, they have done an incredible job in Puerto Rico.'

His frail ego demands constant stroking. 'I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done, and people are looking at that,' he said. 'And in Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus. And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico, and it’s actually a much tougher situation. But now the roads are cleared, communications is starting to come back. We need their truck drivers to start driving trucks.' He insisted that the San Juan mayor who criticized the federal response has 'come back a long way.'

Once in Puerto Rico, he sounded like an unfeeling, bitter man, one at the mercy of his own grudges and resentments . .

He thought it was funny to chide Puerto Rico for its financial needs. (“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack.”)

The visit was off-key, cringe-worthy and embarrassing (for those capable of embarrassment). It did him no political good, serving only to break his 'streak' of one day in a row of acceptable public rhetoric. The visit was in every respect true to Trump’s nature. He can read a script but not generate his own genuine empathy; he is always the worst victim in any disaster — but also the superhero. He is incapable of rising to a situation, eschewing partisanship, displaying magnanimity or demonstrating empathy.

He simply cannot be allowed to improvise without risking another demonstration of his deeply warped character." 

Read the Washington Post, It is Trump’s nature

As I've said before, I think The Donald lacks the ability to empathize.

UPDATE:  "'Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico,' President Trump said during his visit to the hurricane-devastated island on Tuesday, 'but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico.' Sensing that his attempt at humor had gone awry, he then added, 'And that’s fine.' . .

[And] it makes no sense. One congressional aide estimated that the federal government would eventually have to spend as much as $30 billion over the long term to help Puerto Rico recover. Over the short term, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan pledged $6.7 billion.

This is not a lot of money, in comparison with the federal budget. This year, the government will outlay $4 trillion, which means that what’s being spent in Puerto Rico over the short term is the equivalent of someone who makes $50,000 a year spending $84.

For another, the comments come as the White House is trying to make the case for why government revenue should be slashed — in the form of doing things like dropping the corporate tax rate and eliminating the estate tax. That latter tax generated $19.3 billion in 2014. Eliminating it, in other words, would 'throw the budget out of whack' three times as badly as the money spent to assist Puerto Rico over the short term.

For a third, he also spent time during his remarks praising each branch of the military — even bragging about how much the government is spending on a new fighter aircraft.

'An amazing job,' he said of the Air Force’s aid in Puerto Rico and on the Gulf Coast. 'So amazing, that we’re ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new airplanes for the Air Force, especially the F-35.' He then boasted about how hard to detect the plane was. 'That’s an expensive plane, that you can’t see,' he said. 'As you probably heard, we cut the price very substantially. Something that other administrations would never have done, that I can tell you.'

The most recent estimate is that the F-35 program will cost the government $406.5 billion — 13 times what it will cost to rebuild Puerto Rico.

Read the Washington Post, Trump ribs Puerto Rico for costing the government money (by being destroyed).

Did anybody hear a similar remark after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas?

Why now?

"In President Trump's first public remarks in Puerto Rico, he shed almost no light on the federal response to the crisis there. What he did do was praise himself, tell the hurricane-ravaged island that it was putting the U.S. federal budget “out of whack,” and — perhaps most questionably — compare death counts between Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Katrina.

It was a characteristically Trump performance: offbeat, impromptu, meandering and often highly suspect in its taste. Toward the end, Trump brought up the Katrina comparison, suggesting it — unlike Maria in Puerto Rico — was a 'real catastrophe.'"

Read the Washington Post, Heckuva job, me: Trump just favorably compared Puerto Rico’s death toll to Katrina.