Trump: I Am “The Chosen One”

Donald Trump's delusions of grandeur are getting more and more bizarre.

In what may be the most unhinged moment of an unhinged Presidency, Donald Trump yesterday proclaimed himself “the chosen one” when it came to dealing with China and international trade issues:

WASHINGTON — King of Israel? The second coming? The chosen one?

President Donald Trump is known to have a healthy ego. But a string of comments Wednesday went to a higher level.

First, Trump thanked conservative radio host and supporter Wayne Allyn Root for his praise. In a tweet, Trump quoted Root calling the president “the best president for Israel in the history of the world” and claiming Jewish people in Israel love Trump “like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he’s the second coming of God.”

The messianic imagery may have stuck in Trump’s head. Later in the day, as the president was defending his trade war with China, he cast himself as a reluctant warrior. Somebody had to do it and he was the one, he told reporters.

“I am the chosen one,” he said, turning and looking up to the sky. “Somebody had to do it.”

New York Times columnist Gail Collins comments:

Do you blame God for Donald Trump?

“I am the chosen one,” Trump announced on Wednesday. O.K., he was talking about fighting his trade war with China, not ascending into heaven. It was all a joke, sort of. But we’ve been so far down the megalomania road with this president that it would not be a total surprise to discover he had delusions of divinity.

Maybe at night, when he’s alone with nobody but Fox News to keep him company, Trump envisions a future in which all Americans will appreciate how much he’s suffered for their salvation. He does seem to think of himself as something super-special. And if you listen to him answering questions without the help of a teleprompter, there is a tendency to wonder if he’s speaking in tongues.

(…)

[A]bout the God complex: Lately Trump has had an obsession with himself as savior of the Holy Land that’s turning downright creepy. “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” he insisted.

Some people wondered if it was a tad offensive to demand that Jews vote Republican or be seen as a traitor to their people.

“It’s only anti-Semitic in your head,” Trump decreed, peering into the minds of his questioners.

Lots of hints here that the president, at least, thinks of himself as someone far beyond mortal men. And then there’s that long, long history of referring to himself in the third person:

“Nobody has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”

“Nobody has more respect for women than Donald Trump.”

“There’s never been a president like President Trump.”

“China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.”

Take your pick, people. You can accept the idea that he was sent to us by forces from above, or you can pray that he’ll have to go away in 2020. But remember, he’s always watching.

Chris Cillizza at CNN has similar comments:

Trump’s view of himself as special, of course, didn’t arrive when he got elected president in 2016. While that stunning victory was perhaps the strongest evidence — in Trump’s mind — of just how special (and how much better) he is, it’s not as though he didn’t think of himself that way prior to November 8, 2016.

As he wrote in “The Art of the Deal” (Trump’s second favorite book behind the Bible, he says):

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage.”

Since being elected president, Trump has repeatedly told attendees at his campaign rallies that they should be so thankful he won because had Hillary Clinton won the economy would have collapsed and we would be at war with North Korea — among other catastrophes. (It’s, uh, impossible to prove these hypotheticals true or false.)

He quite clearly believes himself to be a great man of history. “It is much easier to act presidential than what we are doing here tonight, believe me,” Trump told an audience in 2017. “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.” He’s also compared himself favorably to George Washington when it comes to appointing judges.

“We’ll have more judges put on than any other president other than one,” Trump said in an interview with Hill.TV. “Do you know who the one is? George Washington. Percentage wise.”

The other element at work in Trump’s “chosen one,” uh, “joke” is his addiction to exaggeration and theatrics. Again, here’s Trump from “The Art of the Deal:”

“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can get very excited by those who do. That is why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest, the greatest and the most spectacular.”

Trump is forever bragging about his audiences as record-setting. About the awards he has won (that don’t exist). About the many golf club championships he has won. About, literally, everything.

(…)

All of which makes his “chosen one” moment totally in keeping with who he is. Trump knows it will make good TV. He knows people will run with it. That his supporters will laugh and cheer and that his enemies will be triggered. It’s a provocative move — and Trump loves provocation.

“Chosen one,” then, isn’t just rhetoric. It’s a deeply held part of who Trump is — and always has been.

If an ordinary person were to proclaim themselves the “chosen one,” or favorable cite the comments of others referring to them as the “King of Israel,” we would be talking about having them evaluated by a psychiatrist and possibly locked away for treatment for a mental illness. In Trump’s case, it just all seems so surreal that it’s just another example of the kind of absurd nonsense that he has been spewing for his entire career and most certainly since he became a candidate for President. That, along with the excerpts from The Art Of The Deal that Cillizza takes note of, makes one wonder if this is all just part of a bizarre act on Trump’s part.

The problem with the second theory, that this is part of an act, is that if it were it’s hard to see what Trump’s strategy might actually be. He’s behind in the polls, he’s getting hit in the media every single day, and he’s at a point where it’s clear that just holding on to his base isn’t going to be enough to win the election in 2020 absent some situation where lightning strikes a second time and he ends up with another Clinton-type opponent in 2020. Barring that, it’s hard to see how this bizarre over-the-top rhetoric actually ends up helping him.

The other possibility, of course, is that this is all a play to his base, who already see him as indispensable to their own well-being. If they continue to believe that then they’re far less likely to abandon him if, say, the economy were to start turning south or we were to face an international crisis that Trump was clearly unable to handle. If that happens but his core supporters continue to believe that disaster will follow if he were to lose in 2020, they are far less likely to abandon him.

Finally, I think it is clear that the President does have the kind of delusions of grandeur that a claim like this would seem to evidence. Those delusions have been clear since Trump first became a “celebrity” in the 1980s and they have only become more powerful as he has gotten older. The main reason for that, of course, is the fact that he has surrounded himself with “yes” men and women who are either too timid to point out that the emperor has no clothes or so wrapped up in the delusion themselves that they actually believe it.

This kind of arrogance is dangerous in an ordinary person, and it is even more dangerous in a President who literally has it within his power to start a war that could destroy life as we know it. I’m not suggesting that Trump is about to launch the nuclear missiles — although he has repeatedly expressed a fascination with such weapons that is utterly disturbing — it does seem clear that we’re dealing with a President unwilling to admit to the possibility that he could ever be wrong. Given the reports that the President refuses to listen to advisers who tell him things that are adverse to his own worldview this “chosen one” rhetoric is entirely consistent with how he views himself generally. Someone like that should not and cannot be trusted with political power generally, and most certainly not the power that a President of the United States possesses.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    And if you listen to him answering questions without the help of a teleprompter, there is a tendency to wonder if he’s speaking in tongues.

    Gail Collins wins the Interwebs for today.

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  2. CSK says:

    Well, I certainly agree that “there’s never been a president like Donald Trump.”

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  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    If Barack Obama looked to the sky and said ‘I’m the chosen one’, even as a joke(which this wasn’t), everyone at Fox News would look like they just peeked inside the Ark of the Covenant.

    https://twitter.com/ChrisEvans/status/1164253178390618113

  4. Kathy says:

    He next needs to say no one is more humble than he is.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    This comment puts me in mind of the old joke about a rabbi who grumbles about all of the hardships and persecution the Jewish people have suffered. G-d speaks to him and says, “Never forget, the Jews are my chosen people.” The rabbi responds, “Isn’t it time you chose someone else?”

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  6. mattbernius says:

    Hey remember how, less than a year ago, Sean Hannity was still bitching about how Democrats considered Obama “the anointed one” and that Obama talks too much about himself?
    https://www.newsweek.com/fox-news-host-sean-hannity-says-obama-talks-about-himself-too-much-1115002

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  7. Bill says:

    @Kathy:

    He next needs to say no one is more humble than he is.

    One of my favorite quotes- “What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.”- Oscar Levant

  8. MarkedMan says:

    Evangelicals tend to live immersed in superstitious fear of angels and witches and devils and, most of all, the anti-Christ. But even the most awful low budget satanic horror flick wouldn’t make such an obvious and hackneyed plot where The Religious would lose their sh*t over a public liar, womanizer, rapist, cheat, fraud, needy, delusional bag of farts and thereby become the unwitting army following him to hell and eternal damnation. Yet nevertheless here we are…

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  9. Teve says:

    My new thinkpiece at National Review will explain why even though Trump literally called himself The Chosen One, it wasn’t as bad as Obama wearing a tan suit, the upcoming anniversary of which being what caused that 800 point drop in the stock market last week. I’ll be filing it as soon as I can think up a few more synonyms for “uppity”.

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  10. Modulo Myself says:

    People are giving Trump way too much credit. He’s a purely boring man with no curiosity. I doubt he would even be able to understand the basic myth of Star Wars, let alone Christianity or Judaism. The idea that he has delusions of grandeur makes it sound like he has grand ideas. He doesn’t. He likes watching television and hearing himself talked about. He’s a limited weird person who should have probably never been born, and that’s why his base loves him so much.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: What do you expect from people who believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, all those contradictions not withstanding? Never mind the Immaculate Conception.

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  12. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Even a lot of people who read the Bible don’t seem to understand the Immaculate Conception. The only people who seem to routinely get it right are kids who went to Catholic schools.

    Most think it was the conception of Christ, which is incorrect. The IC was the conception of Mary, so she’d be a pure vessel for the future son of God.

  13. CW says:
  14. Mikey says:

    He’s the Chosen One, alright–chosen by Vladimir Putin.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    I’ll be filing it as soon as I can think up a few more synonyms for “uppity”.

    Make sure to lead in with Biden’s “clean and articulate”, so they know you’re a true believer.

    Maybe a subtitle “How did this clean and articulate young man rise above his station and divide America?”

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Every since I learned that there are two different sequences of creation listed in Genesis, I have a hard time keeping a straight face around the biblical inerrancy types. The first thing God does, in the very first book of the Bible, is self contradicted. Think about that. And for a real laugh, google around and find out how the literal bible folks justify it (hint: in this one particular case the author, God, is speaking metaphorically. [Note to self: Remember, it’s a metaphor but we can’t use that word.] But only in this one case.)

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  17. Kylopod says:

    The problem with the second theory, that this is part of an act, is that if it were it’s hard to see what Trump’s strategy might actually be.

    It’s not an either-or. I don’t believe it’s a strategy. But that doesn’t mean it’s a simple matter to declare all his grandiose claims to be delusion. Do you think he really believes his crowd sizes are record-breaking? That he won all those awards? That Trump Steaks are still on the market?

    He’s not deluded about those things–he’s simply lying about them. But it’s clear that he thinks that telling these absurd, cartoonish, easily disproven lies is an effective way of promoting himself and fighting back against his enemies. It’s not so much that he’s attempting to change his own reality as that he’s attempting to change other people’s perceptions of his reality by simply declaring it so, without any regard to making his story plausible or even internally consistent. That is his true delusion, not that he believes what he’s saying but that he believes that his moronically lame, transparent claims are actually convincing to others.

  18. SenyorDave says:

    @Bill: One of my favorite quotes- “What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.”- Oscar Levant

    And he really was a genius. As a bonus, he came up with some all-time great remarks like these (from Wikipedia):
    “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin,” “I think a lot of Bernstein—but not as much as he does,” and (after Marilyn converted to Judaism when she married playwright Arthur Miller), “Now that Marilyn Monroe is kosher, Arthur Miller can eat her.”[6]

  19. charon says:

    @Kylopod:

    That is his true delusion, not that he believes what he’s saying but that he believes that his moronically lame, transparent claims are actually convincing to others.

    You need to get out more, see how credulous the Fox viewership is for RW lies.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @charon:

    You need to get out more, see how credulous the Fox viewership is for RW lies.

    Millions of people get suckered by low-level scams and two-bit con artists every day. But it says far more about the gullibility of the targets than the skillfulness of the swindlers.

  21. Guarneri says:

    It’s hilarious to see how he can make heads explode. Trolling weak minds.

    Avennati – that didn’t work.

    Russiagate – that didn’t work.

    Amarossa – that didn’t work.

    He’s crazy – that didn’t work.

    The Mooch – that didn’t work.

    There’s a recession – that didn’t work.

    He’s a racist – that didn’t work, again.

    Let’s try crazy again.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden is incoherent. Crickets……

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Speaking of deluded people…

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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    #Greenland.

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  24. Teve says:

    @michael reynolds: TPM says Trump ‘joked’ about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland. Wonder what he was thinking…

  25. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They probably think it’s a brilliant idea.

    I suppose it is. I mean, there are untapped resources there, maybe. And maybe they are economical to extract and sell. Maybe. So it makes perfect, brilliant sense to pay a BIG fortune to the Danes, who can’t sell Greenland, for all that potential. It will pay back for itself, in a few decades if things go well. And there’s all that money from the tax cuts just lying around, burning a hole in all those purse strings people talk about. People say we have the bestest purse strings. Lots of people say it. Greenlanders who vote for Democrats are disloyal to Norway and the Celtic people!

    I mean, you wouldn’t do something crazy, like keep the bases you already have in Greenland. Or negotiate with the Greenlanders for access to their resources, or even just financing for them. No, that would be insane.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden is incoherent.

    That’s like one of Mao’s toadies complaining that Stalin was a mass murderer…

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Have any of you considered that the uranium in Greenland may be very important considering that Hillary sold all of ours to the Russians?

  28. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri:
    Still proudly defending a bigot for the tax cuts I see.

    Or maybe you like what he’s saying.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: How can one tell the difference?

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    He’s not deluded about those things–he’s simply lying about them.

    On the other hand you may be trying to force Trump into a profile you understand but he doesn’t fit. Personally, I think he doesn’t even have a concept of “truth”. You and I understand that there are many things that can be decided by objective reality. People like Trump (and Guarneri and Paul L) don’t seem to have that concept. They understand that there is something called “truth” or “reality” that seems important to many people but they are reality-blind in the way some are color-blind.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: And speaking as a veteran of 12 years of Catholic education, I can tell you that even most Catholics confuse Immaculate Conception with Virgin Birth. Immaculate Conception: Mary, unique amongst all humans since Adam and Eve, was born without original sin rendering her a pure vessel. Virgin Birth: Christ was placed into Mary’s womb directly by God. No sperm was used.

    Non-Catholics tend to rattle off garbage about Papal Infallability, but it is interesting to note that the Pope has only unequivocally spoken ex-Cathedra 3 times: The Virgin Birth, The Immaculate Conception, and Transubstantiation (meaning a miracle happens every time an ordained priest blesses the host and raises it up above his head. Also interesting to note that none of these things can ever be proved or disproved.

  32. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    On the other hand you may be trying to force Trump into a profile you understand but he doesn’t fit. Personally, I think he doesn’t even have a concept of “truth”.

    I’m not sure whether we’re really disagreeing. I have repeatedly recommended the 2016 Vox piece “The question of what Trump ‘really believes’ has no answer,” one of the most insightful analyses of Trump’s dishonesty I have ever seen. Key quote:

    When he utters words, his primary intent is not to say something, to describe a set of facts in the world; his primary intent is to do something, i.e., to position himself in a social hierarchy. This essential distinction explains why Trump has so flummoxed the media and its fact-checkers; it’s as though they are critiquing the color choices of someone who is colorblind….

    It’s not that Trump is saying things he believes to be false. It’s that he doesn’t seem to have beliefs at all, not in the way people typically talk about beliefs — as mental constructs stable across time and context. Rather, his opinions dissolve and coalesce fluidly, as he’s talking, like oil on shallow water.

    None of this, however, means he’s unaware of objective facts right in front of him. When he claimed Trump Steaks were still on the market by holding up a totally different brand of steaks, can we really say he had an absence of belief on the question of whether they were actual Trump Steaks? I doubt it. He knew they weren’t Trump Steaks. But that doesn’t mean he had some thought pass through his head, “I’m lying,” as he said it. Telling untruths is as second-nature to him as breathing. When he opens his mouth to speak, he’s not engaged in a decision-making process on whether to lie or tell the truth; he’s just saying whatever he thinks will gain him an advantage at the moment, and the truth or falsity of his statements is simply irrelevant to him.

    This behavior is pathological but it isn’t necessarily delusional. He’s attempting to control other people’s perception of reality, like Winston Smith’s interrogator in 1984, rather than trying to recreate his own.

  33. Ken_L says:

    He presumably wasn’t joking around at the Republican convention when he gave his “I alone can fix it” acceptance speech, even though it surely triggered lots of suppressed laughter in the audience. He truly is a megalomaniac. It’s not at all implausible that like other megalomaniacs in history, he sincerely believes he has a mission which only he is capable of fulfilling.

  34. al Ameda says:

    I actually believe that he was the ‘The Chosen One’
    to endorse orange spray tan and tanning bed products

  35. mattbernius says:

    I look forward to @Guarneri defending Trump’s tweet storm today ordering businesses to stop trading with China and suggesting that the Fed Chair is a worse than the Chinese Government.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1164914959131848705

    Man, those tax cuts gotta feel really good… Or is it the fact that causal bigotry is once again accepted as the norm?

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  36. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    Trump’s tweet storm

    Excuse me, those are official statements of the President.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mattbernius: I think Guarneri’s appearance on this question will depend on what zerohedge.com has to say. If it’s not covered there, he may well miss it altogether.

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