“Trump is a narcissist and he cannot help but react to threats to his delicate psyche,” explains Conway. “He is a very sensitive, weak human being who cannot take criticism.” The other factor, he adds, is that “he can’t think ahead. He merely reacts to things. And what we do is take advantage of both of those psychological defects.”
What that means in practical terms is that the Lincoln Project ads are specifically designed to trigger the president. Whenever Trump is reacting to a Lincoln Project ad, he’s talking about things he shouldn’t be talking about. He’s explaining why he inched down the ramp at the U.S. Military Academy, or drank water with two hands. He’s shooting off a tweet about the “Mourning in America” ad, thereby raising millions of dollars . . . for the Lincoln Project.
The group approaches its task with a military precision, with a few dozen staffers churning out new videos overnight. “We don’t mess around,” says Wilson. “It’s this concept of moving faster than your enemy’s ability to decide to act in a battle.”
You can call it trolling, and it is: The Lincoln Project buys ad time in Washington and Bedminster for an audience of one. “He is a creature who exists only on television, the Chauncey Gardiner of our time,” says Wilson, evoking the movie “Being There.” “The fact that we’re able to use his mental infirmity and addiction to television to freeze him and manipulate him serves a broader purpose for the overall campaign in terms of taking him off message, disorganizing and disorienting him.”