Being shown respect is very important to President Trump. He craves it for the United States generally and for himself in particular.
One of Trump’s favorite bits is to perform impressions of various characters in his orbit — foreign leaders, members of the military, old friends — calling him “sir” or even “Mr. President, Sir.”
“It’s always nice when a president or prime minister calls you sir,” he told the audience during a rally in Billings, Montana in 2018. “It means he has a certain respect.”
Even Trump’s friends insist on showing him respect, the way Trump tells it. Trump once recalled when his longtime associate David Freidman refused to stay on a first-name basis with him.“He always used to call me ‘Donald;’ now he can’t help but call me ‘president,’” Trump at a summit in Florida in 2019.
“Mr. President, I can’t do it, sir,” said Trump impersonating Freidman. Trump went on to muse about the significance in his own natural speaking voice, “That’s respect for the office, right? Maybe it’s respect for me.”