For the last nine months, Tufts professor Daniel Drezner has been compiling, via Twitter, a list of firsthand accounts of President Trump that describe him the way one would a small child. Samples include, “Once he goes upstairs, there’s no managing him,” and “He just seemed to go crazy today.”
It is an impressively long list.
Monday delivered a ready-made entrant to that compilation in the form of a Washington Post article explaining how House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has successfully ingratiated himself with the president. It opens with this anecdote:
President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were alone in the presidential suite on Air Force One, flying east toward Washington in early October, when the president reached for a handful of Starbursts, the square-shaped candy fruit chews.
But instead of unwrapping all the treats, the president was careful to pluck out and eat two flavors: cherry and strawberry, McCarthy noticed.
“We’re there, having a little dessert, and he offers me some,” McCarthy recalled in an interview. “Just the red and the pink. A bit later, a couple of his aides saw me with those colors and told me, ‘Those are the president’s favorites.’ ”
Days later, the No. 2 Republican in the House — known for his relentless cultivation of political alliances — bought a plentiful supply of Starbursts and asked a staffer to sort through the pile, placing only those two flavors in a jar. McCarthy made sure his name was on the side of the gift, which was delivered to a grinning Trump, according to a White House official.
The Post also reports that McCarthy’s roundup of Republican midterm woes was a hit with the president because, “According to two people familiar with the presentation, Trump appreciated McCarthy’s use of pictures and charts rather than a memo.”
Be wary of Trump’s moods; simplify everything as much as possible; reward him with play time. The people who can best manage the president really do treat him like a capricious child.
Senator Bob Corker was onto something with that “adult day care” bit.