The popular depiction of Donald Trump the presidential candidate, Donald Trump the president, and Donald Trump the man is of a thin-skinned, narcissistic, internally troubled individual who’s incapable of learning lessons for his own good. The number of times that Trump has shot himself in the foot over these last two years is so great that psychology students earning their doctorates may want to use him as a case study.
The latest example is Trump’s tweet from this weekend, which shows the president’s cameo on WWE when he body-slammed a wrestler, only with the CNN logo superimposed over the pugilist’s head. It was one of the more humorous – if not odd and perhaps threatening – outbursts Trump’s has had against the mainstream media of late.
Reporters and commentators spent a lot of air time last weekend trying to explain what on earth is going on inside Trump’s head. CNN released a short statement accusing the president of inciting acts of violence against journalists. Carl Bernstein, the legendary Watergate reporter, ripped Trump’s tweet as “not just anti-CNN, it’s anti-freedom of the press, it’s anti-freedom of speech.” Even the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press felt the need to comment, writing that “[w]hen the president attacks the press, he attacks the people.”
So, yes, people are outraged yet again over Trump’s behavior. And, yet again, those who are outraged are completely entitled to be so.
But let’s not pretend that Trump’s tweet is the most awful thing he’s done or said since he declared his candidacy in June 2015. In fact, one could make a reasonable argument that Trump’s body slam gif is less offensive and idiotic than the dozens of other occasions when the president lashed out.
Lets remember who we’re dealing with here. Over the last 24 months, Trump has:
- Ignorantly labeled all Mexican immigrants who cross the border into the United States criminals, deviants, and “rapists” (June 16, 2015).
- Ghoulishly mocked Senator John McCain’s capture by the Vietcong before concluding that he’s only a war hero because he was a prisoner (July 19, 2015).
- Intimated that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly only questioned him during the first GOP debate because she was menstruating at the time (August 5, 2015).
- Openly questioned during an interview with Rolling Stone why any American would vote for Carly Fiorina given her looks (“Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” September 9, 2015).
- Mocked a disabled New York Times reporter during a campaign rally, telling his supporters “you should see this guy” before shaking his arms uncontrollably (November 26, 2015).
- Complained that District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t possibly preside over a Trump University fraud case because he was of Mexican heritage and therefore inherently biased (February 2016).
- Lambasted Khizr and Ghazala Khan after their anti-Trump speech at the Democratic National Convention, speculating that Ghazala stood silent next to her husband during those remarks because she wasn’t allowed to say anything under the tenets of Islam (July 30, 2016).
- Bragged about grabbing women by the genitalia and getting away due to his stature as a rich and famous man. After over a dozen Republican lawmakers pulled their endorsements of Trump, he apologized halfheartedly (October 7, 2016).
This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list. All of the examples occurred during the presidential campaign, so we haven’t even touched on some of Trump’s noteworthy comments, tweets, and interviews since he’s been inaugurated.
But you get the point. Trump’s Sunday tweet isn’t anything new. That we are still shocked whenever he goes off the deep end is in itself shocking.