For all the elite-bashing that transpires among supporters of President Donald Trump, the president himself seems desperate to have the world know it is he who is elite — the smartest, best educated, wealthiest of them all.
And it is seems that those who made Trump’s presidency possible, the “forgotten” men and women of America, are seen by their leader as second-rate.
Even Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who before joining the Trump White House was an accomplished sitting senator, is not spared the president’s derision, according to New York Magazine:
> The president’s swelling complaints against Sessions include the fact that he “doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers” and that Trump “can’t stand his Southern accent.”
> For all his vaunted populism, he is filled with contempt for average people in general and his own supporters in particular.
> Trump has touted the mindless loyalty of his base, and when he marveled that he would not lose any support if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, he was not complimenting the discernment of his supporters.
The president’s love of the “poorly educated” has become a joke for good reason: the class of Americans gravitating toward his message is one he loathes — not, as he would have them believe, filled with people he respects and adores.
> Trump is the ultimate snob. He has no sense that working-class people may have equal latent talent that they have been denied the chance to develop. He considers wealthy and successful people a genetic aristocracy, frequently attributing his own success to good genes.
> Attempting to explain his penchant for appointing plutocrats to his Cabinet, Trump has said, “I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” It makes sense if you assume a person’s wealth perfectly reflects their innate intelligence.
But perhaps his most transparent moments come when the president launches into a tirade about the true “elite” — Trump and his supporters.
During his most recent West Virginia rally, Trump began by characterizing the entire crowd as superior to their perceived enemies and quickly devolved to boasting about himself and his extraordinary pedigree:
> We’re the smart ones, remember. I say it all the time. You hear the elite. They’re not elite, we’re elite. You’re smarter than they are, you have more money than they do, you have better jobs than they do, you’re the elite. So let them have the word elite. You’re the super elite. That’s what it is.
> I always hate — I always hate when they say, well the elite decided not to go to something I’m doing, right, the elite. I said, “Well, I have a lot more money than they do. I have a much better education than they have. I’m smarter than they are. I have many much more beautiful homes than they do. I have a better apartment at the top of Fifth Avenue.” Why the hell are they the elite? Tell me.
Trump is not handling well the notion that he is leading a populist movement, for he cannot bear to stoop down to the level of those he perceives so far beneath him.
New York Magazine put it well:
> Trump is unable to maintain the pose because he cannot stand the stink of the people upon him.