It can be hard to pick which story to pay attention to when it comes to the Trump White House, given the daily dribble of headlines, controversies and mudslinging. But no matter the news, there is one thing we all know to be true: Trump hates America's paper of record. Or, at least, he hates their coverage of him. Their ongoing feud escalated again today, when The New York Times dubbed President Donald Trump "America's whiniest victim."
Perhaps Trump should have expected the pithy title from The Times; he's spent months calling them "the failing New York Times". This nickname has become as recognizable a moniker as "Crooked Hillary," "Lyin' Ted," or "Little Marco," all names that Trump coined for his opponents on the campaign trail. Trump has a skill for giving out nicknames that stick, but The Times is the only paper to have received such a consistent one. He berates the paper on Twitter for what he calls their propagation of fake news, and yet he still regularly holds interviews with their reporters. To any outside observer, it looks like Trump's fixation with the paper mostly comes from a desire for the paper to portray him favorably.
Looking at the opinion section must rarely give the president any joy, as The Times' opinion columnists rarely have a good thing to say about him. Writer Charles Blow might have stepped on a nerve today, though, when his piece entitled "America's Whiniest 'Victim'" hit the presses. While Trump didn't specifically mention the piece, he did unleash an insulting tweet about the paper soon after it went out.
While Blow did bring up some new ideas in his column, Trump really only rehashed the same arguments he's made before — the paper is "failing," they've "made every wrong prediction" about Trump, they "apologized" (to, we must assume, their subscribers, a claim Trump has made repeatedly), the paper is "inept." Trump never seems to react to eager fact-checkers who point out that The New York Times is most definitely not failing, that they did not apologize to their subscribers about anything, that its supposed ineptitude has actually made it into one of the most respected and revered news organizations in the world.
Instead, what he seems to react to are comments like Blow made in his column. "No one speaks to [Trump voters'] insecurities like the human manifestation of insecurity himself: Donald Trump," Blow wrote, arguing that Trump's relentless whining is what created the connection between himself and his supporters. Blow went on, even more cuttingly:
Trump’s whining is not some clever Machiavellian tactic, precisely tuned for these times. Trump’s whining is genuine. He pretends to be ferocious, but is actually embarrassingly fragile. His bravado is all illusion. The lion is a coward. And, he licks his wounds until they are raw.
Trump's tweet today certainly makes it look like he didn't like the comparison to the Cowardly Lion or the various names that Blow called him — a "lazy whiner," and a "hollow man." Blow certainly wasn't holding back, so perhaps Trump felt like he didn't need to either. The problem is, Trump might have an easier time proving Blow wrong if he wasn't so quick to whine about his new nickname...