When leaders are under pressure, the nature of their character comes to the fore. Are they made of sterner stuff? Do they wilt in the heat? Do they have the capacity to persevere in the face of adversity?
Americans are getting a good look at what Donald Trump is made of. The emerging picture is one of a man who doesn't appreciate getting caught, and who's ill-equipped to handle the pressures of a job he's never fully understood.
Aaron Blake's assessment yesterday afternoon rang true:
The idea that President Trump has finally gone over the edge is an overwrought journalistic genre. Oftentimes, people simply forget all that has come before when they declare him to be particularly unwieldy or off the rails at a particular moment. And his opponents are far too anxious to find examples of Trump finally reaching a threshold that suggests he has completely thrown caution to the wind and may be just giving up.
All of that said, it has been some week for Trump -- even by his standards.
Yesterday, in particular, was a difficult day for the flailing president. It began with a series of hysterical tweets, one of which included all-caps profanity.
It was soon followed by an Oval Office appearance alongside Sauli Niinisto, the president of Finland, who appeared stoic as Trump accused a congressional leader of treason, pointed to alleged spies in the White House, and labeled his country's journalists "truly the enemy of the people."
The Republican also whined at great length about the Washington Post while responding to an article he didn't like in the New York Times. He was, by all appearances, confused.
Two hours later, Trump and Niinisto held a press conference in which Trump appeared to completely unravel, offering what one reporter described as "a roller coaster display of the grievances, victimhood, falsehoods and braggadocio."