The first thing he calls someone who has wronged him is a loser. That’s his main attack word. The worst thing in his world would be to be a loser. To avoid being called a loser, he will do or say anything. — Jack O’Donnell, ran an Atlantic City casino for Mr. Trump in the 1980s
The first thing he calls someone who has wronged him is a loser. That’s his main attack word. The worst thing in his world would be to be a loser. To avoid being called a loser, he will do or say anything. — Jack O’Donnell, ran an Atlantic City casino for Mr. Trump in the 1980s
‘Loser’: How a Lifelong Fear Bookended Trump’s Presidency
The president’s inability to concede the election is the latest reality-denying moment in a career preoccupied with an epithet.

“The first thing he calls someone who has wronged him is a loser,” said Jack O’Donnell, who ran an Atlantic City casino for Mr. Trump in the 1980s. “That’s his main attack word. The worst thing in his world would be to be a loser. To avoid being called a loser, he will do or say anything.”

Across his long career, he has spun, cajoled and attacked — in the press, in lawsuits and lately, of course, on Twitter — whenever faced with appearing as anything less than the superlative of the moment: the greatest, the smartest, the healthiest, the best. This has at times required audacious attempts to twist a negative into a positive, often by saying something over and over until it either displaces the truth or exhausts the audience into surrender.

... The president’s tweets have succeeded in sowing doubt about the foundational underpinnings of the republic among his many millions of followers. In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, about half the Republicans questioned believed that Mr. Trump had “rightfully won” re-election, and 68 percent expressed concern that the election was “rigged.”

Such behavior by the president reflects a binary-code approach to life that spares no room for nuance or complication. If a person isn’t a one, then that person is a zero.

“You are either a winner or a loser,” Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, said in an interview last week. “Reality is secondary. It is all about perception.”

... After Mr. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January 2017, his administration asserted that the inauguration’s audience was the largest ever, despite all evidence to the contrary. But any suggestion otherwise would have rendered Mr. Trump a loser in some imagined contest about inaugural crowd sizes.

Now, nearly four years later, the citizens have cast their ballots, baseless lawsuits alleging electoral fraud have been dismissed and states have certified the vote. Still, the loser of the 2020 presidential election continues to see crowds that the rest of the country does not.

It ends as it began.