Trump & Me by Mark Singer: ‘an extremely funny profile’

Stephen Robinson in The Telegraph:

TrumpThis is a journalist’s account of the ordeal of spending time with Donald Trump, and it is often very funny indeed, for it turns out that Trump’s elaborately sculpted hairweave is by no means the weirdest thing about him. Like any true narcissist and mountebank, Trump often talks of himself in the third person, and like some very rich men, he views women as commodities to be traded when marital sentiment turns bearish. When Singer asks him if he confides in anyone during moments of tribulation, he replies: “Nobody, it’s just not my thing.” So then what, Singer asks, is Trump’s notion of ideal company – well, comes the reply, “a total piece of ass”. Now on the campaign trail, he demands a high wall be built along the southern border with Mexico, and showily suggests that Muslims be banned from the United States until he has got the Islamist terror thing sorted out. Despite the hand-wringing of the Republican establishment, these are not “gaffes”, for they do not reveal a concealed truth; nor are they evidence of a blunt political outsider speaking truth to Washington elites. They are just cynical little morsels tossed into the crowd of angry American men (mostly) who are fed up with stagnant wages and immigrants. Trump lies so brazenly and routinely that one former New York political figure declared he would not trust a word he said even “if his tongue were notarised”. The man who presents himself as a self-made tycoon in fact inherited a multi-million-dollar New York real estate fortune from his father. The self-styled tough guy was not drafted for the Vietnam war because of a “heel spur”, although this did not give Trump pause when he questioned the valour of Senator John McCain, who was held prisoner for five years by the North Vietnamese.

…There is a type of liberal, conventional American who will tell you how it is “real scary” that Trump could one day be president. That will not happen, of course, as they know perfectly well: the Trump campaign is already showing signs of unravelling, and it is not impossible that the party elders will strike to kill him off at the convention in Cleveland next month. But anyway, it isn't feasible to run for the White House against American women, Hispanics, Muslims and gays. As a Republican presidential contender you can afford one or two useful enemies, but not the whole gamut, because then the numbers simply don’t work. Trump’s campaign is now failing because, as Singer notes, he has “no core beliefs, no describable political philosophy, and not an iota of curiosity about the practicalities of policy or governance”. Ultimately, you almost feel sorry for the man, with his “suspicion that an interior life was an intolerable burden” and his germophobe’s terror of shaking hands with the great unwashed he claims to represent.

More here.