It shouldn’t be a surprise that Trump behaves this way; we’ve had an ample amount of time to absorb who we truly is. Plus, all the president does is offer up the purest distillation of his essence on a near-constant basis. Trump proceeds from moment to moment, seeking nothing more than pure gratification, whether in the form of fast food or a Tic-Tac scented kiss or the demand for fealty. This is a guy who gathered his Cabinet together for a meeting in which he sought a garland of praise from everyone in the room. A man who mourns the end of his previous life, but blames everyone around him for the fact that he’s found himself in a predicament in which he is on the hook for everything that happens in America and the world. Trump can’t stop himself from constantly making news, because he can’t live a day without being on television and then he blames the media for doing things like reporting on his doings.
Beyond that, his cruelty is, without a doubt, a feature of his presidency. If Cavuto thinks that Trump's tweets reveal a lack of humanity, he should perhaps log out of his company's website and undertake a deeper survey of Trump’s actions. At the same time that Trump’s war of words with Lonzo Ball was transpiring, his administration ended a program that allowed 59,000 Haitians, displaced from the devastating earthquake that rocked that island nation back in 2010, to live and work in the United States. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called the decision “unconscionable” and his fellow Floridian lawmaker, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said that she can “personally attest that Haiti is not prepared to take back” these refugees. And that's just this week so far.
That instant gratification and gratuitous cruelty are intrinsic to the current occupant of the Oval Office isn’t some difficult thing to fathom. As David Roth noted, writing for the Baffler, Trump is a “blank, sucking nullity,” and “the only salient factor in any decision he makes is that he absolutely does not care about the interests of the parties involved except as they reflect upon him.” That’s the start, and that’s the end, and there’s no real need for anyone to stand around, pretending that we need to do any further work figuring this out. We’ve solved for X with this guy, we can pack it in and send the armchair psychoanalysts home.
But if there’s one thing worth learning about Trump as he spirals into further conflict with LaVar Ball, it is that all those folks who formed Trump’s most eager fanbase — especially those angry young men trying to red-pill themselves into psychosexual tumescence through ardent Trump fandom — had a point. Trump’s real power comes from his ineffable alpha-dog status.
No one really wants to talk about this, but most of Trump’s mystique might have been shattered very early on had any of the opponents he’d insulted during those wild-eyed GOP primary debates had just walked over to the guy and punched his lights out. Instead, Trump exposed them all as Queensbury rules-hewing fops from some forgotten Molière comedy. If there’s one thing that makes LaVar Ball a proper foil for Trump — someone who can keep all of us mindful of who and what our president truly is — it’s that Ball isn’t about to concede alpha status. And he can go round-for-round, forever, if need be, selling sons and shoes while he does it.
None of this is going to make the world a better place, of course. But if the Ball-Trump fooferaw can burn off enough of the president’s anger to keep us out of a nuclear conflict, it will all have been worth it. So let us give thanks for the way the pure products of America have finally gone crazy — at last for our benefit.