Considering Trump idolized Hitler to the extent that decades ago Ivana Trump said Donald Trump kept a copy of Hitler’s compiled speeches on his nightstand, I have little doubt he also studied Machiavellian strategies and principles. Specifically, the The Prince which was Hitler’s favorite book. I also have little doubt that even with Trump’s third grade reading ability he could still make it through the short 100+ pages. It is literally the perfect book for him. It was designed to help leaders that completely lack morality to acquire and maintain power. This is where Hitler learned that the end could be used to justify the means (a position void of any and all morality). In someone like Trump’s mind power and maintaining power is EVERYTHING. He doesn’t care how many people or children die at the border or in a detention camps as long as he is viewed as having power over them. He would rather act irrationally so he can be feared rather than loved.
For someone like Trump who is trying to stay in power at all costs the end game is simply to remain in power. He doesn’t even have the Nixon luxury of a complete federal pardon because even if he resigns, it is becoming more and more obvious he and his family have committed numerous crimes on the state level in New York. While he may be indicted soon, chances are that any actual prosecution for his numerous crimes will be put off until he is out of the presidential office. As someone like Trump becomes increasingly desperate to avoid prosecution and remain in power, his antics will only escalate to match his perceived threat to his own power and authority.
Trump really doesn’t care if almost a million federal workers don’t get paid, or can’t pay their rent or mortgage, or go hungry because they can’t even afford to buy food to feed their families. Because to him the shut down is helping slow down the court systems which for a criminal like Trump is advantageous. This “manufactured emergency” and also his complete unwillingness to budge is a way to demonstrate to his remaining supporters that he is “strong” and to be “feared”. It’s also a way for him to spread his racist ideas and paint people with a broad stroke. When the true reality is Donald Trump is a far greater security threat to The United States than anyone that had ever crossed the southern border.
Machiavelli teaches that for someone to maintain power that ethics need to be separated out from politics. This can explain how Trump has had no issue crossing normal ethical boundaries that all of our previous presidents have tried to follow. Trump sees no issue with profiting personally off the presidency through his businesses because the end result is he made money (he profited and he personally benefited). So in a Machiavellian, or devious mind, it doesn’t matter at all how he did so because he got the desired end result: he made money.
Trump has also shown that he has no problem installing family members into high positions that they aren’t qualified to hold. He’s done this because he knows it is easier to manipulate them than a more independent federal employee. He’s getting to be an old man and his family members stand to inherit potentially hundreds of millions of dollars upon his death. So they literally have millions of reason to strictly obey him and not cross him. However, now that Trump has put national attention on himself, his family, and their many corrupt activities even that fortune could potentially be confiscated. Just the back taxes alone that he most likely owes plus the penalties and interest could easily be in the billions by now. Factor in any penalties for all the Russian money he has laundered over the decades and Trump and Trump Organization could truly be as financially worthless as he is worthless at being a human being.
I find it very interesting Trump also referred to Cohen as “weak” when he was willing to make a deal with Mueller to come forth with the truth. This was also done to imply that he, Donald Trump, himself, is the “strong” one. This weak/strong principle is found throughout The Prince.
Trump really is the embodiment of Machiavelli’s idea that people are selfish, fickle, and corrupt. I can’t think of anyone in modern history more selfish, fickle, and corrupt than Donald Trump.
Donald Trump and others like Mitch McConnell have demonstrated acting in Machiavellian ways time and time again over the last several years. They have demonstrated this by refusing to do what is best for the country. They only focus on tactics that they think will hurt their enemy, the Democrats, and push forward agendas that benefit themselves or the special interests that helped get them into power and can most likely help maintain them in power.
Trump is a conman that has tried to dictate through expediency rather than our democratic process. He’s also shown he has no problem lying to his own people if he feels it gives him an upper hand. He’s also willing to sign any and everything as an executive order (just like a dictator). Then he gets attention and a photo opportunity. He wants to give off the illusion he is quickly and efficiently doing something. However, more often than not he’s using the completely wrong channel, overstepping his actual power, and is immorally trying to bypass our democratic process (and the checks and balances put in place by our forefathers).