[T]he president is still the man that he has spent his entire life becoming: a character out of C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce,” in which the narrator visits a gray suburb of hell and finds it populated by souls who are self-imprisoned, incapable of freedom, their personalities reduced to grievances and grumbles. A couple of inhabitants go in search of Napoleon, who has “built himself a huge house all in the Empire style — rows of windows flaming with light,” and inside all he does is pace:
“Walking up and down — up and down all the time — left-right, left-right — never stopping for a moment. The two chaps watched him for about a year and he never rested. And muttering to himself all the time. ‘It was Soult’s fault. It was Ney’s fault. It was Josephine’s fault. It was the fault of the Russians. It was the fault of the English.’ Like that all the time. Never stopped for a moment. A little, fat man and he looked kind of tired. But he didn’t seem able to stop it.”
This is Trump as his first term as president concludes. At least 140,000 Americans are dead in a still-burning pandemic, the unemployment rate is 11 percent, and when asked by Wallace how his presidency will be remembered, all he offered was the old pre-Covid litany of grievance, starting with “I think I was very unfairly treated” and continuing for paragraphs in the same self-pitying vein.
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