President Donald Trump has shown an incessant craving for praise during his first 10 months in office.
He has trawled for credit for a soaring stock market, awarded himself A+ ratings for his handling of hurricanes and tried to convince Americans his administration is the most prolific and successful in history.
In a televised Cabinet meeting in June, Trump sat and watched while his subordinates showered him with praise and loyalty pledges.
Now his reflexive need to bask in congratulations is manifesting itself in the controversy over his role in the return home of three college basketball players from China where they had been imprisoned after being accused of shoplifting.
Trump’s hunger for credit has become a subplot of his presidency. Even before the basketball players arrived home, Trump was demanding they make a public statement of thanks, saying he was responsible for intervening with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.
“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: ‘You’re welcome,’ ” Trump tweeted Friday, also urging the players to thank Xi for their freedom.
The players did duly do as he asked. But on Monday, the President was fuming that the outspoken father of one of the freed athletes questioned whether those thanks were really necessary.