I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that it’s impossible for Donald Trump to simply attend an event like a normal person, any event, and not make it about himself. That’s central, of course, to even his everyday conversations, relationships, meetings, golf outings, and news briefings as well. But the fact that Trump truly believes that the center of the universe is located right around the middle of his tie is never more apparent than when he’s abroad.
The most recent example was a much-hyped professional sumo match that the President attended during his trip to Japan, at Ryōgoku Kokugikan Stadium in Mobara, about an hour east of the capital. No doubt you’ve already seen pictures from the event, and maybe even had a chuckle at the video that’s been circulating of Trump needing assistance in hoisting the giant trophy to hand to the evening’s champion.
But as always, the devil is in the details, and the details in this case make Trump look even more like a petty narcissist than usual.
A normal person might have gone, enjoyed the spectacle, and simply followed along with the actions and reactions of the local crowd — it’s not like people who grew up watching sumo would know to get up in the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway to belt out “Sweet Caroline,” but perhaps the Prime Minister of Japan might make an effort to participate if he understood it was a custom at the stadium.
Not so for Donald. When news broke that he would be requiring his hosts to provide a chair for him ringside — rather than the traditional zabuton cushions the Japanese use to sit on the floor cross-legged — we knew he probably believed that the match was only being held in the first place because he was coming.
Then, during the match, reporters noted that Trump did not clap or offer much by way of reaction to the bout — other than to impatiently cross his arms — despite the crowd’s obvious applause during the ceremonial salt-throwing, the swaying side to side, and of course the actual wrestling itself.
It looked, as does almost any interaction with Trump, as though he was only paying attention enough to know when it was his turn to speak and be seen. Almost like he didn’t even care who won, he was just looking forward to the end for some reason…
U.S. President Donald Trump presented a special “Trump” trophy to the winner of a sumo tournament in Tokyo, Japan, May 26 during his four-day state visit to the country. pic.twitter.com/7jBDtJ1iMf
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) May 26, 2019
Oh. Because he had a special trophy made with his name on it. Who wouldn’t want that?
Featured image via screen capture