It's a difficult dynamic to wrap one's head around. Yesterday afternoon, the sitting American president -- ostensibly the "leader of the free world" and the chief executive of the world's preeminent superpower -- hosted an official White House event with a group of right-wing media gadflies. The purpose of the gathering was to whine for hours about a perceived conspiracy that, they believe, prevents their social-media content from becoming even more popular.
It was the sort of event that suggested Donald Trump is leading the United States toward something new, and the new destination is far from "great."
As the Washington Post put it in an analysis yesterday morning, "Trump's inviting some buds over to complain about how Twitter is mean to them."
If Twitter really were mean to them, such a White House event would still be a rather pitiful display. But the fact that there is no actual conspiracy made yesterday's so-called "summit" that much more ridiculous.
President Trump assailed Facebook, Google and Twitter on Thursday -- accusing them of exhibiting "terrible bias" and silencing his supporters -- at a White House "Social Media Summit" that critics chastised for giving a prominent stage to some of the Internet's most controversial, incendiary voices.
For Trump, the conference represented his highest-profile broadside against Silicon Valley after months of accusations that tech giants censor conservative users and websites. With it, the president also rallied his widely followed online allies -- whom he described as "journalists and influencers" and who together can reach roughly half a billion people -- entering the 2020 presidential election.
"Some of you are extraordinary. The crap you think of is unbelievable," Trump said.
Oddly enough, there was a degree of truth to that. The "crap" the president's right-wing media supporters come up with is, in a literal sense, unbelievable.
To a meaningful degree, it's not terribly important that Trump is confused. Sure, it's annoying to see a president whine incessantly about a conspiracy that exists only in Republicans' minds, but Trump engages in pointless whining about a great many things, and it's become the background noise of our political lives.
What's more important is the president's eagerness to act on his absurd conspiracy theories.