His most crippling weakness, however, is a gaping hole in his character that creates an insatiable craving for adulation. That in turn leads him to soak up flattery, especially from autocrats abroad.
A sumptuous banquet at the Saudi royal court and a massive five-story portrait of himself projected onto his hotel façade were enough to make Trump swoon with delight toward a country he had formerly faulted for 9/11 and ripping off the American economy. When Trump traveled to the Philippines, strongman Rodrigo Duterte greeted him with gaudy baubles that led our president to gloat over his reception: “It’s a red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever seen.”
For every step Trump takes that has the appearance of purposefulness, there’s another step that reveals an infantile mind giving vent to impulses never successfully subjected to discipline 65 years ago in the sandbox: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’” is what Trump, while on a state visit to Vietnam, tweeted about North Korea’s nuclear-armed tyrant.