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What Is Donald Trump’s Biggest Fear?

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What Is Donald Trump’s Biggest Fear?

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Why does President Trump rush off weekend after weekend to his Mar-a-Lago palazzo in Florida? Because Mar-a-Lago is totally under his control. There he can play the prince, favoring a wedding party with a cameo or entertaining the Japanese prime minister in lavish Palm Beach style.

Why does he also spend so much time in Trump Tower, his flashy Manhattan spread, when he has the gracious White House at his disposal? Because everyone there is his servant, as opposed to a public servant.

“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances,” Niccolo Machiavelli, the Renaissance sage, coldly told his noble patrons, “and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.” (“Vulgar” in this context means “common,” not “crude.”)

Why does Trump surround himself with spokespeople happy to repeat his easily verifiable lies? It’s not hard to find ambitious aides lacking scruples, but wouldn’t Trump be better-served by surrogates who understand the value of their credibility? Yes, but that would impair the master-servant nature of the relationship.

Rather than communicate to the nation, White House spokesman Sean Spicer and Trump’s more reptilian proxies seem to serve an audience of one. Their job is to maintain the illusion of an all-powerful executive, a fearsome force who makes the world tremble with every tweet.

Machiavelli also wrote, “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

Mike Flynn played the wacko throughout the Trump campaign, spreading fake news and threatening Hillary Clinton with jail. That he would be exposed for possibly traitorous dealings with the Russians was a matter of time, yet Trump made this cracked personality his national security adviser.

Having invaded the American political system to put Trump in office, the Russians are now messing with the man himself. Just as investigations of administration ties to the Kremlin are gearing up, Russia is piercing the Trump balloon with provocations. Last week, a Russian jet buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea. And there were reports of a Russian spy ship “loitering” 30 miles south of Groton, Connecticut, home to a Navy submarine base. The ship was in international waters, it’s true, but one can’t doubt that the Russians knew the U.S. public wouldn’t get that.

An investigation of Trump’s own business dealings with the Russians must include release of the president’s tax returns. As chairman of the House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz has the power to subpoena them, but the Utah Republican has so far refused to do so, framing it as a “fishing expedition.”

However, many of his constituents think Chaffetz is ignoring what may be a major national security threat to protect Trump. Hundreds of them attended his recent town hall meeting and chanted, “Do your job.”

As one told The Atlantic, “This wasn’t about Chaffetz being a Republican. … This was about Chaffetz straining at gnats for Hillary and Obama and swallowing camels when it comes to Trump.”

Trump’s fear of opening his tax returns to public scrutiny could go beyond revealing what Donald Jr. called the family’s considerable business dealings with Russia. The release could also expose a net worth well below the billion-dollar mark.

Not being rich is normally nothing to be ashamed of. But it would be for someone who’s sold himself as a hotshot tycoon able to apply his business smarts to fixing all that’s wrong in the country.

Trump doesn’t seem to fear failure — after all, he’s filed for bankruptcy four times — so much as he fears not being seen as successful. Appearances are paramount in the Trump universe, and frankly, things are not looking so good these days.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to questions questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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11 Comments

  1. Eleanore Whitaker February 17, 2017

    Trump’s greatest fear is loss of control. Mommy Mary Ann Trump so doted on her little fair haired son that he grew up believing in his entitlement to control everything and everyone around him. Sadly, Mommy Mary Ann taught him that he can do NO wrong ever. So you can see why he behaves so badly toward others. He pretends he needs no one but in reality he IS the MOST dependent creton in his own family. Without his Ivanka, his sons and his Bannon, Conway and Spicer there to always shore up his flagging ego, Trump would end up in an asylum.

    Reply
      1. FireBaron February 17, 2017

        Thus speaketh the most mentally ill of all posters.

        Reply
        1. Eleanore Whitaker February 17, 2017

          Men like Godzilla are phonies. Any woman who is at eye level with their family jewels can’t take them down with one swift kick.

          Reply
      2. Eleanore Whitaker February 17, 2017

        Actually, there IS Mental illness in YOUR family history. Right Baby Godzilla? Remember when Daddy came home blitzed on weekends and beat hell out of your Mommy? You didn’t dare step in to help her. You kind of loved that being Mommy was so weak that Daddy could knock her teeth down her throat.

        Now if you want to know about Republican men who think your Daddy’s spousal abuse is not mental illness…Try Steve Bannon. First, he tries to run off his wife with his car. Then, when he couldn’t control her, he tried to yank her inside his car in their driveway so he could beat hell out of her some more. Santa Monica CA police have copies of the 911 call to his home. Then, typical of men who have mental problems, he intimidated her into not showing up in court by threatening to financially devastate her. It’s all in black and white Godzilla. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/steve-bannon-domestic-violence-case-police-report-227432

        By the way, you do know that the Japanese considered their design of the REAL Godzilla trademarked?

        Reply
      3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 17, 2017

        Machiavelli anticipated your arrival in this world long ago when he described “vulgar” personalities. Not only are you slavish in your devotion to Trump and a particular partisan point of view, but you exhibit the same signs of a shallow personality as your doppelganger, Donald J. Trump, an inability to post anything remotely sensible, and a “Clarabell the Clown” mentality—you know, the one who used to appear on “The Howdy Doody Show Show” back in the day.

        Reply
    1. FireBaron February 17, 2017

      You mean Mary Ann Trump, the undocumented illegal immigrant from Ireland?

      Reply
      1. Susanrsweet February 18, 2017

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        Reply
  2. plc97477 February 17, 2017

    If there is anyone who would recognize a fishing expedition, it would have to be chaffetz. He knows them intimately.

    Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 17, 2017

    Trump’s biggest fear is losing a sense of relevance and importance once most people in America become aware of his sham and emotional shortcomings. Being functionally illiterate is triggering some unusual cocktail of chemicals in his bloodstream and causing some unusual biochemical reactions, and maybe complicated by frequent bouts of sleep-deprivation, or some sense of deep shame about his past and upbringing. Perchance, acting out may cause the uneasiness to moderate itself.

    Donald will be the stuff of lurid legends and commentaries, from now and into the future.

    Why else would anyone insist on being the highlight of every waking hour of his life since his youth, if not because of a form of mental illness.

    Reply
  4. Sand_Cat February 17, 2017

    That someone will show him up for what he is, that anyone will come to believe that he is anything but a veritable Greek god come to save civilization.

    Reply

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