Perhaps no one outside of President Trump’s inner circle and family members knows him as well as the authors who have dedicated months of their lives writing about him. So when David Cay Johnston, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote The Making of Donald Trump, comments on the president, it’s coming from a man who has studied Trump intensively and has a unique insight into his behavior.
Johnston appeared on MSNBC‘s AM Joy today and explained why this president seems to strangely trust the word of foreign leaders over the intelligence reports submitted to him by the teams of dedicated professionals who work within America’s own national security agencies.
MSNBC‘s Joy Reid began by asking the noted author about Trump’s motivation for continuing to deny the responsibility of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for ordering the brutal murder and dismemberment of The Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Do you get the sense that Donald Trump’s fealty to the Saudi crown prince is about 400,000 jobs — which are not even really 400,000 jobs — or is it about his own personal bank account?” Reid asked Johnston.
The author’s reply went beyond that question and addressed the root of Trump’s deep failure to execute his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“It’s about Donald and money,” Johnston readily answered. “The Trump family is all about what they call winning, by which they mean putting money in their pockets. Whether they earned it legally — as they occasionally do — they stole it or cheated, that’s just fine with them so long as they get paid,” he continued.
Johnston also spoke to Trump’s deep selfishness and greed as the reason he lacks any meaningful values and is incapable of exhibiting an iota of moral leadership.
“Duty and honor, which ought to be at the center of any presidency, are words that have no meaning to Donald Trump,” he explained. “This is a man who never did one day of public service before he took the oath of office — that he goes around violating all the time.”
It is not just the president’s self-centeredness that is his primary failing in Johnston’s estimation. He also credits Trump’s political naïveté in the realm of global relations for his being played like a Stradivarius by America’s international partners and foes alike.
“Donald is also, let’s remember, highly gullible. ‘Oh, Putin said he didn’t interfere, he didn’t interfere. MBS and his staff say we didn’t do it, then they didn’t do it,’” he mocked, referring to Mohammed bin Salman. “His gullibility is extraordinary,” he concluded with astonishment.
President Trump’s potent combination of greed and gullibility is one of the main reasons that his presidency is such a dangerous plight for America. Trump is the naked emperor, allowing his ego and addiction to flattery, pomp, and tribute to dictate his responses to serious global problems at a time when our nation needs a leader who can put aside self-interest and work for the best interests of the country as a whole.
He must be prevented from continuing to destroy America’s global reputation and becoming the foot servant for the much shrewder international figures who manipulate him by knowing his foibles better than he himself does.
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Original reporting by Bob Brigham At RawStory.