Donald Trump spent Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, the private club the president still owns and profits from, where he spent about 45 minutes calling U.S. troops and answering a few reporters’ questions. Those hoping Trump would tone down his Trump-like tendencies were left disappointed.
Early on, for example, the president equated a recent achievement of one serviceman with “going to the Wharton School of Finance” – because too often in Trump’s mind, what’s important about others’ successes is how they compare to his own.
At the end of the brief event, a reporter asked a seemingly simple question the president probably should’ve seen coming.
Q: What are you most thankful for, Mr. President?
TRUMP: For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office, that you wouldn’t believe it. And – I mean, you see it, but so much stronger that people can’t even believe it. When I see foreign leaders, they say, “We cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago.”
Three days later, the president then capped Thanksgiving weekend with a tweet in which he thanked himself for the recent drop in oil prices (which, in reality, he had effectively nothing to do with).
In other words, this holiday season, Donald Trump is most thankful for … Donald Trump.
Part of the problem with ridiculous boasts like these, aside from the president missing the point of Thanksgiving, is that they’re built on a fictional foundation. Note, for example, that Trump didn’t mention any specific evidence of the nation being “so much stronger” than it was two years ago, except to highlight praise from anonymous foreign leaders, who almost certainly don’t exist.
As the president himself said over the summer, “When you see ‘anonymous source,’ stop reading the story, it is fiction!”
But even putting that aside, it’s likely that Trump felt compelled to reflect on Thanksgiving about how awesome he considers his awesomeness because he feels terribly underappreciated, and he still hopes to persuade Americans who fail to hold him in high regard. As Eugene Scott noted over the holiday weekend, “According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, only 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president.”
A CBS News poll, released around the same time, put Trump’s approval rating at just 39%.
In his little self-congratulatory pitch on Thursday, the president twice said that the public “can’t even believe” how great a job he’s done. Trump isn’t the reflective type, but perhaps he should take a moment to consider why, exactly, Americans “can’t even believe” what he wants so desperately for them to believe?