Trump is even more ignorant about how to be presidential. He’s the first president who doesn’t even know how to pretend to be a unifying figure, at least for longer than it takes to read a statement. Instead, he’s enraptured by the rapture of his base, feeding them red meat, dog whistles, and cultural wedge issues — anything to keep all of the attention, negative or positive, on him. He often says it would be “so easy to be presidential” but, as he said at a Pennsylvania rally in March, “You’d all be out of here right now, you’d be so bored.” Why try to unify the country if the price is a little less applause and attention?
This dynamic has had a transformative effect on Trump, his base — and his opponents. Trump long resisted calling himself a “nationalist,” fearing it was kooky Bannon stuff. Now he embraces it, heedless of its implications to others not already on his team. The media has gone from being biased (it is), to being “fake” (it’s not), to being the “enemy of the people” and tantamount to a fifth column.
Many in the Trumpified right-wing media amplify and reinforce all of this because they, too, are addicted to the same base.