On Tuesday, the president addressed the UN and made a familiar boast that his administration “has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” Trump has self-praised in this way on many occasions, at rallies, when speaking to fellow Republicans, and even in talks with world leaders. But in all those circumstances, the auditors were either inclined to agree with Trump or had a motive to flatter him by pretending agreement. At the UN, Trump got a very different reaction: a low murmur of laughter.
Taken aback by the chuckling, Trump did a double take and said, “didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay.” This amused the audience even more.
Although Trump took the unexpected mockery calmly and moved on, the incident hits the president at a vulnerable spot. As Paul Waldman noted in The Week in May of 2017, Trump has an almost pathological horror at being laughed at:
If you’ve been paying any attention at all over the last couple of years, you know this is a topic he returns to again and again. Search Trump’s Twitter feed and you’ll find that who’s laughing at whom is an obsession for him, with the United States usually the target of the laughter. “The world is laughing at us.” China is “laughing at USA!” Iran is “laughing at Kerry & Obama!” “ISIS & all others laughing!” “Mexican leadership has been laughing at us for many years.” “Everybody is laughing at Jeb Bush.” “Putin is laughing at Obama.” “OPEC is laughing at how stupid we are.” “Dopey, nobody is laughing at me!”
On August 9, 2014 Trump tweeted:
These words now ring with truth.