Donald Trump is finally happy, because he has friends.

“So beautiful, so beautiful,” Trump said, looking out over his New Hampshire victory party. “I love the people of New Hampshire. ... I love the people. I actually think they like me a lot. ... I have so many friends up here. They are special, special people.” The weird thing was, he sounded sincere.

Trump gave his typical stump speech after winning the primary on Tuesday. But recently he’s added something interesting to that speech: a signal that he feels accepted by his fellow man. A few days ago, Trump said that as president, he would be happy to alienate his rich friends. If, for example, one wanted him to steer a contract his way, Trump would say no. “I don’t care if he’s helped my friends,” Trump said. “I have no friends as far as I’m concerned. You know who my friends are? You’re my friends.” 

It’s a fascinating development. In 30 years in the press, Trump’s need for approval has been uncomfortably desperate. There are the obvious signs: the obsession with beating his dad at real estate, putting his name all over his buildings, etc. In 2000, he criticized Bill Clinton for having affairs with women who weren’t classy, which cost him social status. “Now Clinton can’t get into golf clubs in Westchester. A former president begging to get in a golf club. It’s unthinkable,” Trump said. Those rich country club types can be so uppity. Trump said last year: “The people that like me best are poor people and middle-income people. ... The rich people don’t like me.”

But now he seems to finally feel at home, yelling in front of a mass of strangers. “We are going to start winning again,” Trump said Tuesday night. “We are going to be winning so much. You are going to be so happy.” He finally is.

June 26, 2019

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Welcome to TNR’s coverage of the Democratic debates.

Yes, the debates are upon us, a mere 16 months before voters will cast their ballots to decide whether President Trump should get a second term. In that time, babies will be conceived and born, the earth will orbit the sun and then some, and Democrats will, with any luck, choose a champion from the two dozen candidates running for the nomination. It all begins tonight, with the first of two debates in Miami this week featuring the 20 candidates—ten each round—who qualified to participate by either polling at 1 percent in three surveys or receiving 65,000 individual donations.

The staff of The New Republic will be watching the proceedings, offering running commentary and post-debate analysis, and hopefully answering any questions readers might have. Who’s up, who’s down? Who, if anyone, seems qualified to stall America’s spiraling descent into a fiery wasteland overseen by Trumpian kleptocrats? And who is Eric Swalwell, anyway? Pop by TNR’s Minutes blog at 9 o’clock EST tonight and tomorrow night to find out!