In the wake of his racist attack on four Democratic Congresswomen, Trump held one of his Nuremberg rallies in North Carolina, where the crowd of his supporters unsurprisingly chanted “Send her back” when he once again criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar. I think this reveals something important about his supporters, of course, but also about how Trump’s ego and detachment from reality work.
President Trump held a campaign rally Wednesday night where the crowd responded to his attacks on a Somali-born Muslim congresswoman with chants of “Send her back! Send her back!”
The crowd’s response to Trump echoed the racist remarks he has aimed in recent days at four minority Democratic congresswomen he has accused of making hateful comments about the country, setting off a controversy that led the Democrat-controlled House to vote to formally rebuke him on Tuesday night.
The event here made clear that Trump plans to use his criticism of the liberal lawmakers as a rallying cry during his 2020 campaign as he seeks to frame the election around a nationalistic message that has inflamed racial tensions across the country.
“These congresswomen are helping the rise of a militant, hard left. They never have anything good to say, which is why I say, ‘If they don’t like it, let them leave.’” Trump said. “They don’t love our country, and in some cases I think they hate our country.”
We certainly can’t be surprised by his his followers chanting offensive, bigoted things like that. They’ve done it time and again. But there’s something important about this, I think, which is that for Trump, that reaction and their approval is the only thing he either seeks or considers real. For Trump, as I’ve said many times, life is one big movie and he’s the hero in the story. He reinforces that belief by focusing almost exclusively on the cheers of those who support him. That’s why he dismisses any news articles, facts or criticism as “fake news.” The only thing he considers real is the roar of approval from the crowd.
All of this is part of this grand tapestry that he weaves, a story about the world and his place in it, from a mixture of megalomania, narcissism, ignorance and perhaps the most advanced case of Dunning-Kruger effect ever observed in the wild. It leads him to crave that roaring of the crowd before all else. It’s why he kept holding those campaign rallies after the campaign was over, because psychologically he needed it. Aides have told reporters, off the record of course, that they scheduled such events to buoy his mood. He requires it. It’s all that really matters to him. And that’s why he often acts in ways clearly contrary to his own self-interest in being reelected. He isn’t capable of thinking strategically if he can get a hit from the narcotic of approval that he cannot live without. His ego requires constant feeding to confirm the narrative he has in his head that everyone loves him because he’s so great.