One day, years into the future when this national nightmare is over, someone—probably Aaron Sorkin—is going to write an epic modern-day Greek tragedy about Donald Trump and his pathological need to be liked. The latest installment in this sad saga came during Trump's recent interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly (opens in new tab), which aired in part last night.
"It's a very strange phenomenon," Trump said, in answer to O'Reilly's question about his seemingly cordial relationship with Obama. "We get along. I don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me. I like him–"
"How do you know he does?" O'Reilly asked, to which Trump responded "Because I can feel it. That's what I do in life, it's called—like, I understand."
Because why wouldn't Obama secretly like a man who spent years trying to delegitimize his presidency and question his citizenship largely on the basis of thinly-veiled racism? This isn't the first time Trump has floated this theory—in an interview with Fox's Sean Hannity (opens in new tab) last month, he suggested in slightly more cautious terms that Obama secretly enjoyed his company. "I was tough on him, he was tough on me, and I like him, he likes me. I think he likes me. I mean, you're going to have to ask him, but I think he likes me."
It's not a huge surprise that Trump would misinterpret Obama's diplomacy—as The Washington Post pointed out yesterday, this is a man who does not really have friends (opens in new tab) and views most relationships as primarily transactional. If Trump weren't currently using his position as leader of the free world to lay waste to everything that America stands for, you'd almost have to feel bad for him.
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Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.
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