Thursday Donald Trump spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. The multi-faith event was founded to bring bipartisan politicians and religious leaders together to find common ground. Not surprisingly, Trump made it all about himself and the satisfaction of his inflated ego. He managed to turn a bridge building affair into a battlefield.
The bulk of Trump’s remarks (transcript) were a familiar recitation of his dystopian view of a world in distress. He spoke of the persecution of Christians and the threats against religious freedom. Of course, by his definition that’s the freedom to discriminate against those who don’t practice his religion. His overall theme was that “The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do. I fix things.” Like elections? Trump’s confidence in his omnipotent powers is unbounded. And by a metric the right frequently used against President Obama, he said the word “I” forty-seven times.
One particularly self-exalting moment came when Trump brought up his old TV show, The Apprentice. What this has to do with a prayer breakfast is a mystery. Nevertheless, Trump felt he needed to make the point that the program has failed since his exit:
“They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster. And [producer] Mark [Burnett] will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
It should be noted that Trump is still an executive producer of the show, so he’s slamming his own production. That’s how badly he needs to validate his value to the franchise. But Schwarzenegger is not a shrinking violet. He posted a video response on Twitter that makes a damn good point:
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017
“Hey Donald I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job.”
And if that weren’t enough, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger elaborated in press release that said:
“Arnold is praying that President Trump can start improving his own approval ratings, which were the worst in history for an incoming president, by taking his job seriously and working inclusively,” spokesman Daniel Ketchell said in the statement.”
Trump’s exploitation of this religious event is characteristic of his narcissistic personality. He has a compulsive need to glorify himself and insult his critics. And his flagrant pandering to perceived allies like the Christian right is just another part of his con game.
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