As President Trump heads towards the 100-day mark of his tenure as the U.S. commander-in-chief, reactions from the American populace as to just how good of a job he’s doing are all over the place. From the downfall of Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, to the appointment of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to senior adviser, to decisions like the immigration ban, Syrian missile strike, and North Korean nuclear threat, there’s a lot of speculation as to whether the Trump administration is in the best position to handle the demanding job of leading the world’s most powerful country.
The bigger question of President Trump’s presidency, however, is one that’s been on most people’s minds since early 2016: Why did Donald Trump run for president in the first place?
According to the New York Times, you might not believe the answer.
Reports indicate that when Trump sat down at that now-infamous 2011 White House Dinner (Seth Myers, a handful of comedians, and President Obama himself ridiculed the 70-year-old practically all night) and endured lash after lash of public humiliation from almost everyone that spoke, it was all he could do to smile, nod, and accept the humiliation. An accomplished businessman and billionaire real estate tycoon, it would have been understandably difficult for the New York native to accept so many insults (comical or not) sans rebuttal.
Sources say the self-control he displayed that night did an effective job of masking his true feelings: disgust and annoyance. In fact, the New York Times stated that as soon as the dinner was over, Mr. Trump left “with maximum efficiency,” a notable change from the genial demeanor he had displayed earlier that night.
While many assumed that would be the last they’d see of Donald Trump in the political realm, reports state that that dinner may have actually pushed the man who’d accomplished so much in the world of business to prove naysayers wrong in a way that most didn’t see coming: pursuing a presidential bid. The billionaire businessman not only wanted validation, per sources, he wanted to be taken seriously.
Reports suggest that while both the Democratic and Republican parties had graciously accepted rather generous donations from the Trump family coffers in the past (sources indicate he’s given almost $695,000 to Democrats and $1.1 million to Republicans since 1989), they had never seriously considered him a significant prospect for political office. Political analysts suggest this is why the billionaire’s actual decision to run for the presidency took so many by surprise — and why, for quite some time, it seemed the political world indulged him.
The Republicans, truth be told, didn’t exactly have an extraordinarily viable candidate to replace Trump with, and his charisma and demeanor definitely fired up voters. However, that same desire for validation and acceptance that inspired the businessman to run, coupled with the fact that potential financial support offered very little in the way of motivation for him meant that when Republicans seemed to collectively regain their conscience and attempted to quietly move the candidate aside, he didn’t budge. His resolve made it clear that he wouldn’t be pushed to the political wayside by conventional means — as he was in no ways running a conventional campaign.
In fact, reports from the New York Times indicate that in an interview a few months prior to his eventual election, now-President Trump confirmed that this validation was indeed one of the primary reasons behind his bid for the presidency. He gave a rather succinct answer when asked his motive behind running for office.
“I realized that unless I actually ran, I wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
Because Trump’s motivation for pursuing the presidency allegedly had more to do with personal gratification than actual social situations in its initial phases, analysts suggest that typical hints from party members that would have undoubtedly persuaded many other presidential hopefuls to fold their campaign early on left this particular candidate unfazed. His desire to succeed even when many of his own party members chose not to endorse him showed a dogmatic character that allowed him to claim the 45th presidential nomination over rival and former shoo-in favorite Hillary Clinton.
As Trump heads toward the next chapters of his presidency, supporters and dissenters alike will look for that charisma and dogged perseverance to help solidify America’s place as one of the most prosperous nations in the world.
[Featured Image by David J. Phillip/AP Images]