In the 20th-century tradition, strong men were supposed to be laconic, stoical, self-effacing. They might secretly enjoy publicity, but the standard pose was to feign indifference or even disdain. Trump, by contrast, is flamboyant, boastful, desperate for acclaim, loud in protest when he doesn’t get it.
In the 20th-century tradition, strong men didn’t complain about their circumstances. Trump is relentless in whining about his burdens, including the claim that he has been treated more unfairly than any president in history.
In the 20th-century tradition, strong men were supposed to elevate team and cause above self. Trump’s presidency has been consistent with the cult-of-personality pledge he made in his 2016 GOP acceptance speech, “I alone can fix it.” Strong men, likewise, are supposed to show self-discipline in all aspects of life. Trump celebrates impulsiveness and free-roaming appetites in every arena, from his tweetstorms that often come at a hundred bursts or more a day, to his abundant record of extramarital affairs, to his expanding physical girth.
Above all, the American man of myth, in years past, had a complex relationship with violence.