Resolute Square

A Self-Made-Up Man Defunded, Defanged, and Deranged

Robert McElvaine treats us to an annotated commentary on and translation of Trump’s post-judgment screed.
Published:February 22, 2024

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Robert S. McElvaine

Shortly after New York judge Arthur Engoron ordered Donald Trump and his business organization to pay $355 million for what he had obtained through fraud and an additional $98 million in interest on the ill-gotten money—a total of $454 million—last Friday, Trump came out on his version of Mussolini’s balcony, steps in front of a door in Palm Beach, to respond.

His rambling talk was even more deranged than is his abnormal norm. Here is some of what he said, with my translations from lie to truth and comments in brackets at various points. I’ll put the translations in italics and the comments in bold:

“It’s a very sad day for, in my opinion, the country. [It was a very happy day for America] A New York state judge has just ruled—and he’s as crooked as you can get [I am as crooked as you can get] … but this is a very dishonest man … But a crooked New York judge has just ruled that I have to pay $355 million for having built a perfect company [I built a company that was a house of cards] … New York, where we have a crooked, corrupt attorney general [I was a crooked, corrupt president]… This is Russia, this is China [Two countries with the kind of tyrannical regimes I want to impose in the United States] … it all comes out of the DOJ, it all comes out of Biden [It was a state case with which Biden and the DOJ had nothing to do]—his witch hunt against his political opponent, the likes of which our country has never seen before [I call all well-grounded investigations into my wrong-doing “witch hunts”]. You see it in Third World countries, but you don’t see it here. [If I get back into the White House, I have already pledged to go after, imprison, and even kill anyone who opposes me.]

So, I just wanna say this: You build a great company [I took more than 400 million ill-gotten dollars from my father and lost it all], there was no fraud [it was all fraud] … [the banks] love Trump, they all testified that Trump is great, a great customer, one of our best customers, they testified beautifully. [All lies; it reached the point where Deutsche Bank (which financed the Holocaust and is close to Putin) was the only bank willing to lend him money.] And the judge knows that, he knew that from the beginning. He’s just a corrupt person. [I am just a corrupt person] … This judge thought Mar-a-Lago is worth $18 million and it’s worth anywhere from fifty to a hundred times that amount.

[Even for Trump, this is an astoundingly absurd claim: Mar-a-Lago is worth up to $1.8 BILLION. The most expensive home in the United States, in Naples, Florida, went on the market recently at a record $295 million. So Trump is claiming that his property is worth six times more than the actual most expensive property. Beyond its absurdity, it should be noticed that what he was doing is exactly what he was just found guilty of: ridiculously overvaluing his assets.]

… And Letitia James, that’s another case altogether—she’s a horribly corrupt attorney general [I am a horribly corrupt businessman and politician]. And it all has to do with election interference [I am all about doing election interference]. There were no victims [I have more victims than I could count]. … These are radical left Democrats, they’re lunatics and it’s election interference [My cult followers and the “Republican” party that I have turned against the Republic are radical right authoritarians and I am a lunatic]. … People are moving out of New York state, and because of this, they’re going to move out at a much faster rate. …

They’re using it because I’m running for president, I’m beating Biden by a lot … a poll came out today we’re beating Biden by 40 points.

[Another totally absurd lie. The latest RealClear Politics poll average has Trump ahead by one point. No poll has ever shown Trump ahead by more than a few points. As with his claim for Mar-a-Lago’s value, this is another example of the sort of Big Lie valuation inflation for which he had just been penalized.]

… If I weren’t running, none of this would have happened … I would have had a nice life … because I’m competing with a man who can’t put two sentences together, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. [I am a man who can’t put two sentences together and I don’t know what I’m doing] … a fine of $355 million for doing a perfect job [Like my perfect phone calls to Volodymyr Zelensky and Brad Raffensperger]

It went on, but I couldn’t take listening to more. I’ll close with a few more points:

Trump is a strong contender for being the worst businessperson ever. He even went bankrupt running casinos, where the house always wins.

I haven’t noticed him recently wearing his necktie extremely long with his jacket open, as he used to do all the time. It was back in his appearance on Friday.

I wrote the following in 2018 in a draft for a book:

One of the more noticeable things about Donald Trump is the extraordinarily long length of his neckties, which he wears with his jacket open to put on full display. In his 1975 guidebook, Dress for Success, John T. Molloy instructs that a tie’s point should come right to the belt buckle, “no more, no less.” Trump’s ties dangle much farther, often several inches beyond the norm. A month before the 2016 Election, GQ ran a spread of photos of Trump with his absurdly long ties. It is apparent that Donald Trump does not dress for success; rather, he dresses as he does everything else, for excess. 

For him, a tie is not an accessory—it’s an excessory. A man’s necktie is, of course, a phallic symbol. Wearing his ties so long is another way in which Trump is compensating for his self-doubt about his “masculinity.” They proclaim:
My ties are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.

It is plain that the length of his tie is in inverse proportion to what he fears is the length of that other part of his body.
It is also plain that last week’s massive verdict against him has intensified his fears.

His niece, Mary, wrote this after the judgment:

It's hard for me to overstate just how ruinous this is likely to be—both financially and psychologically—for Donald. These are the kinds of judgments that will bring Donald to his knees because money and the illusion of his success are all that matter to him.

The illusion of success, the illusion of power, the illusion of being a “real man,” that’s what the sort of malignant narcissists who seek to become authoritarian rulers are all about. Illusion.