Following court rulings, Trump throws epic online tantrum

Trump could've celebrated today's Supreme Court rulings, which gave him much of what he wanted. Instead, he had an online meltdown.
President Donald Trump listens during a round-table discussion at the White House on June 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump listens during a round-table discussion at the White House on June 15, 2020 in Washington.Doug Mills / Pool via Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

Today's Supreme Court rulings on Donald Trump's hidden financial materials are a mixed bag for all involved. On the one hand, the justices rejected the woeful arguments presented by the president's attorneys, but on the other, the high court also sent the matters back to lower courts for a lengthy review.

Or put another way, Trump lost on principle, but prevailed on politics: the practical effects of the rulings will mean the president's secret documents, including his tax returns, will remain under wraps until well after Election Day 2020.

Given the outcome, one might expect Trump to celebrate -- since he's getting what he wants, despite losing. If his tweets were any indication, however, the president wasn't just displeased by the Supreme Court's decisions; he was also pushed toward a breakdown.

It started with a run-of-the-mill, self-pitying whine about a subject he knows little about: "Courts in the past have given 'broad deference'. BUT NOT ME!"

But that was just the opening act. This was the main attraction.

"We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAUGHT...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear. No Republican Senate Judiciary response, NO 'JUSTICE', NO FBI, NO NOTHING. Major horror show REPORTS on Comey & McCabe, guilty as hell, nothing happens. Catch Obama & Biden cold, nothing. A 3 year, $45,000,000 Mueller HOAX, failed - investigated everything. Won all against the Federal Government and the Democrats send everything to politically corrupt New York, which is falling apart with everyone leaving, to give it a second, third and fourth try. Now the Supreme Court gives a delay ruling that they would never have given for another President. This is about PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT. We catch the other side SPYING on my campaign, the biggest political crime and scandal in U.S. history, and NOTHING HAPPENS. But despite this, I have done more than any President in history in first 3 1/2 years!"

Note, Trump published all of this in a series of tweets, then deleted the borderline-incoherent rant, then re-published his tirade.

It's tempting to go through this, oddity by oddity, pointing to every error of fact and judgment. In reality, for example, no one "spied on" the Trump campaign. There was no "crime." The Mueller probe wasn't a "hoax"; it didn't "fail"; it didn't "investigate everything"; it didn't last three years; and it didn't cost $45 million. The idea that Trump is the most accomplished president in American history is obviously ridiculous.

But in a situation like this, presidential dishonesty is just part of a larger problem.

Trump's lengthy tantrum combines whataboutism, self-pity, paranoia, pointless attacks on law enforcement and his own ostensible allies, and delusions of grandeur.

It's the sort of tirade one imagines the president sharing with aides in the Oval Office, which in this case, Trump felt compelled to write out in a series of hysterical tweets -- twice.

It's a peek into the president's state of mind, which in this case, points to Trump continuing to unravel under pressure.