A naked-emperor nullity

What [Wednesday] night’s address made clear is that Donald J. Trump is no one — and I mean no one, a naked-emperor nullity — without a crowd. Audiences are what energize him, give him his confidence, his king-size certainty; it’s at rallies that he A/B tests his ideas in real time. Without a press corps to troll or an adoring crowd to feed off, the man is a shell.

No wonder that he was leaning on aides not to cancel recently scheduled campaign events in Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada until the very last minute, and that his advisers had to prevail on him not to announce another rally in Florida, tentatively scheduled for the end of the month. As we saw Wednesday night, if you put him in a room with only a teleprompter and a camera, he can barely make it out of a sentence alive.

Jennifer Senior

March 13, 2020

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