The Trump administration continues to be defined by one name and one name alone — Donald Trump. He has brought the persona behind putting giant gold letters spelling out his name on buildings into the Oval Office, where he has continuously chosen to conduct his presidency in a way that he sees fit, without regard to the opinions of others — and in some cases without regard to protocol.
As yet another indication of this point, POLITICO is now reporting on a hobby that the belligerent businessman has taken up while in the White House. According to the publication, he has taken during his time on the job to hosting an array of dinner parties inside the official presidential residence for his friends and allies. Those who have attended these gatherings — which are not publicly touted — include individuals ranging from conservative news figures like Chris Ruddy, Matt Drudge, and Rupert Murdoch to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
According to the publication, the pace of the dinners has recently “ramped up.” The gatherings serve as an opportunity in some cases for the president to flaunt his position. For instance, one of his favorite lines to say to guests is, according to one unnamed administration official, “Have you ever seen luxury like this?”
The gatherings can give the president an opportunity to flaunt his obsession with good social standing as well. For instance, during one dinner late last year, the president’s now former top economic adviser Gary Cohn got back on good terms with the president via leading a conversation that the president liked. At the time, Cohn had recently criticized the president’s response to white supremacist-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He ended up staying on board at the Trump administration until relatively recently.
You could say that the same tendency on the part of the president that led him to be upset with Cohn’s criticism is what leads him to endlessly lambast the nation’s news media. His ego is so fragile that he just can’t take dissent in any form.
The president has sometimes used dinners at the presidential residence for a more active purpose, having, for instance, hosted a small group of Democratic senators last summer in a bid to win their support for the Republican tax reform package. That tax reform package eventually passed, marking the first major legislative victory for the Trump administration.
Many would not comment on the record about the gatherings, but one former White House official described the president’s favoring of the events by saying:
‘One of the things the president seems to miss most is the freewheeling nature of having people stop by. That is part of why he has the dinners — to stay connected.’
Reporting about the president’s dinner-hosting comes after reporting about the president taking at least one other dramatic step to stay connected to his ideological base.
According to reporting from the Daily Beast, the president has repeatedly called up Fox host Lou Dobbs during sensitive White House meetings and put him on speakerphone so he could contribute to the conversation.
That reporting and the reporting about the dinners he’s hosting at his private residence fit into a longstanding pattern of the president obsessing about his public image. He wants to be favorable in the eyes of interests like Fox and often couldn’t seemingly care less about other impacts of his policies.
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