Less than 12 hours removed from a searing loss in Alabama’s Senate race, President Donald Trump woke up Wednesday morning with a simple message: I was right.
“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump tweeted. “I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”
Added Trump a few hours later: “If last night’s election proved anything, it proved that we need to put up GREAT Republican candidates to increase the razor thin margins in both the House and Senate.”
Ahem. Cough. Throat clear.
Let’s review the facts, shall we?
In the Republican primary to fill the remaining three years on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate term, Trump endorsed Strange, who had been appointed to the post by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley shortly before he resigned from office amid a sex scandal.
When Moore handily defeated Strange in the runoff, Trump – or someone with access to his Twitter account – deleted three pro-Strange tweets.
Trump quickly jumped in on Moore’s side following the runoff. “Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race,” he tweeted on September 27. “He will help to #MAGA!”
And even after large swaths of the Republican party in Washington walked away from Moore following a series of allegations from women that he had pursued relationships with them as teenagers (Moore was in his 30s), Trump doubled down on his support for Moore.
Moore, in Trump’s mind, was just like him. Falsely accused of inappropriate behavior, savaged by the liberal media, attacked by his own party. Trump believed Moore would win because he believed Moore was following the Trump playbook. And everyone – in Trump’s mind – who follows the Trump playbook wins. It’s the only possible outcome.
Except that Moore lost. And lost in one of the most Republican states in the country, a place where Democrats hadn’t won a Senate race in 25 years.
Which means that Trump went 0-for-2 in Alabama – swinging and missing on both Strange and Moore.
But losing is not an option for Trump. He is a winner. He wins. And he only associates with winners. Those are the facts (as he imagines them to be).
Which brings us back to the tweet this morning. The assertion that somehow Trump was right about this race all along is patently false. But that Trump felt compelled to even attempt to make that case is incredibly revealing about who he is.
For his entire adult life, Trump has been telling himself a story about his life. In that story, Trump is always the hero, always the one who no one listened to but always got it right. That story occasionally comports with agreed-upon facts – although more often it does not.
That doesn’t matter to Trump. He believes it, which is all that matters. Anyone who says he is wrong or exaggerating or flat-out lying is just a hater and a loser who is jealous of Trump.
It’s a perfect circle of flawed logic. Create a narrative that makes you look good. Insist that anyone who doesn’t buy into your narrative is fake or jealous. Repeat.
That is who Trump has been his entire adult life. The presidency has not and will not change him. The Alabama results have not changed him. Nothing will change him.