What to make of this? First, the Trump presidency is not just unfolding, it is unraveling. All narcissists believe they are at the center of the universe. But what happens when a narcissist is actually placed at the center of the universe? The “chosen one” happens. Trump is not just arguing for an alternative set of policies; he is asserting an alternative version of reality, in which resistance to his will is disloyalty to the country.
Second, the president has systemically removed from his circle anyone who finds this appalling. Every president has the right to advisers who share his basic worldview. But Trump appears, on many topics, to have stopped taking advice altogether. His counselors are now flunkies. The proof of their loyalty is not found in the honesty of their opinions but in the regurgitation of his insanity.
Third, the president is increasingly prone to the equation of the national interest with his personal manias. He is perfectly willing to threaten relations with Denmark — or to force the Israeli government into a difficult choice — if it serves his tweeted whims. This approach is more characteristic of personal rule than democratic leadership. Self-worship is inconsistent with true patriotism.
Trump’s promotion of moral and political chaos puts other members of his party in a difficult position.