Advisers in touch with the White House claim President Donald Trump has made himself into a victim of the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported Friday.
An outside adviser in "frequent touch with the White House" told The Post that the president seemed "inconsolable" about the US economy that he claims to have built is struggling amid the pandemic.
"I had this great economy, and they made me shut it down," Trump has said repeatedly, another outside adviser told The Post.
"We had the greatest economy in the world," Trump apparently said in a meeting at the Oval Office last month, according to a third adviser, The Post said.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 3 million people in the US and the death toll in the country has surpassed 134,000. More than 1.3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, adding to the nearly 43 million who have filed since the pandemic began.
Efforts have been made to boost the president's mood as he gripes about the failing economy amid rising coronavirus infections in the US.
Top White House advisers, like Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino, have been creating videos showing praise from Trump supporters, aides told The Post. Others show Trump internal polls to distract him from the virtually universal polling showing him trailing behind former Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
People close to the president, including White House communications director Alyssa Farah and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, have attempted to tell Trump to take on a more optimistic viewpoint, out of fear his mood could negatively impact his political reputation, one senior administration official told The Post.
Jen Psaki, former communications director for the Obama administration, told The Post the president doesn't have "many sympathetic ears to his claims that he's been mistreated."
"Leadership, as we've seen at many moments in history, is about not only accepting adulation when you do something great but also accepting responsibility," she told The Post. "That lack of accepting responsibility is seen as a lack of leadership and that doesn't sit well with people who might be more open to supporting him again."
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University, told The Post that Trump's tendency of self-victimization follows the behavioral pattern of an authoritarian leader.
"They have no empathy, and they only see the world through how things affect them personally," Ben-Ghiat told The Post. "They're not there to govern. They're there to enrich themselves, they're there to plunder the nation, and they're there to be world historical."
A representative from the White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email statement to The Post that the US "did not ask for this plague and every American has been affected from the closure of our economy to caring for the sick and mourning those tragically lost."
"But under the leadership of President Trump our Transition to Greatness has already begun, and the American people are showing tremendous courage to defeat the virus, responsibly open the economy, and restore law and order to our streets," Deere wrote. "The President's message has been consistent: resilience, hope, and optimism."