I really hope the word of the year is “Trumpy.” I’ve heard the word “Trumpian” in conversation recently, and I think that gives him too much gravitas. “Trumpy” feels more accurate.
The latest gibberish to come out of him is that the previous president was wiretapping him during the election. In true Trump fashion, he offers no evidence or reason for this accusation. Why would he say it? What on earth about this would benefit him?
Let’s go with the standard reasons. Trump is trying to distract from other stories. I doubt it. Without evidence this story has no legs. Trump is trying to discredit Obama. Maybe. Anything other than total victory is an insult to him, so maybe he’s trying to make his enemies look bad. Except that Obama wasn’t running against him. Maybe he’s preemptively trying to head off some accusation from Obama? That would be a horrible strategy as he just gave a plausible way evidence for future accusations could be gathered.
The thing to remember about Trump is that he’s not playing the same game as everyone else. He brought a gun to a boxing match and everyone laughs because how can you be a boxer without gloves? No, he’s playing a different game entirely, one only a few people are now starting to recognize, and fewer still seem to play as well as he does. Trump doesn’t talk to the part of our brains that work with facts. He speaks to our emotions. That was why he won. He made a greater emotional connection to the voters than Clinton did. The connection could have been positive or negative, but it was strong, and that’s worth a lot more than having the best facts. So what emotional play is he making here?
The content of the tweet is that the previous president is directly attacking him, a man who, at the time, was a private citizen. He is making himself out to be the victim. He knows that victims get a great deal of latitude in their behavior. More than that, even though he was being attacked by the most powerful man in the world, he still won. He’s a winner even when being attacked.
In a few tweets Trump helped plant the idea that he’s both a victim and a winner, both very useful things to be. If you don’t think he knows exactly what he’s doing, then you’re still playing by the old rules.