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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Best Thing I've Read Today

In a column headlined, "Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing Jews?," NY Times columnist Frank Bruni cites several incidents as evidence: the president seemingly going out of his way to leave Jews out of Holocaust Remembrance Day; his staying silent on a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats; and his writing a tone-deaf message in the visitors' book at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial and museum.

Considering that Trump's daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, you'd think the Ego-In-Chief would be more sensitive on matters like this and use his bully pulpit to quiet the white supremacists and anti-Semites who are found in such large numbers among his vocal supporters. But Bruni points out that Trump's dissing of Jews in America and elsewhere may not be deliberate -- it may simply be the narcissism that is at the heart of everything he does:

I’m not convinced that Trump is much of an anti-Semite, any more than I’m convinced that he’s much of a homophobe. (Racism and sexism are another matter.) But I think he’s so thirsty for, and intoxicated by, whatever love comes his way that he’s loath to rebuff the sources of it.

A prominent Jewish Republican put it well. "I think Trump is such a pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that you reject them — he can’t get around that," he told me, interpreting Trump’s reasoning this way: "What can be wrong with them? They’re for me!"

Trump is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him to the throne, where he’s sure that he belongs. The outcome validates even the ugliest and most divisive ascent.

"I don’t think he’s goading these people or associating with them because he shares their views," the Republican added. “I do think that he’s so insensitive about the presidency — about the responsibilities of the leader of the free world — that he doesn’t realize it’s not enough to say, once or twice, 'I don’t agree with them.' He doesn’t realize that you have to be very clear." And he doesn’t realize — or care — that he’s validating and encouraging them.
Read Bruni's full piece here.