The sense that he was being treated unfairly had a huge amount to do with why Donald Trump ran for president in the first place, and the sense that they were being treated unfairly had a lot to do with why his earliest supporters and voters found him appealing. Channeling resentment is near the source of his political prowess.
And of course, he’s not wrong. The sense of resentment he has channeled has been rooted in some important realities, and even his own sense that he has been treated unfairly by his opponents as president is not mistaken. Sure he has. But that this sense of resentment is chiefly what drives him, that he can’t see past it or point beyond it, has been a crucial factor in many of his biggest failures as an executive.
He has treated the world’s most powerful job as a stage from which to vent his frustrations with the world’s mistreatment of him, and this has often kept him from advancing durable aims, from capitalizing on opportunities, from learning from mistakes, and from leading. In reasonably good times, it meant that he turned our national politics into a reality-television performance—focused, as those often are, on the drama of bruised egos. But in a time of crisis, it has left him incapable of rising to the challenge of his job, and the consequences have been dire.