Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., on Capitol Hill in Washington. Flake is an outspoken Trump critic. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Donald Trump’s narcissism — his all-consuming self-involvement and need for obsequious approval — in comic and serious ways hobbles his quest for victory.

This is the man who when asked about God reverts to a discussion of his own success in real estate. (“Well I say God is the ultimate. You know you look at this? Here we are on the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it 15 years ago. I made one of the great deals they say ever. I have no more mortgage on it as I will certify and represent to you. And I was able to buy this and make a great deal. That’s what I want to do for the country. Make great deals. We have to, we have to bring it back, but God is the ultimate. I mean God created this, and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.”)

This is a man who bizarrely pretended t0 be PR man John Miller so as to tout his sexual prowess. His reaction to Brexit was to talk about its positive impact on his Scottish golf course.

In a more serious vein, it leaves him entirely without empathy and understanding for others. He cannot possibly imagine that telling African Americans their lives are a “disaster” would offend them. He cannot restrain himself from claiming he was “right” in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. He cannot admit his vast ignorance on numerous subjects so he cannot learn from others (let alone sit down to read a book).

His immense, fragile ego also prompts him compulsively to attack fellow Republicans. He’s already attacked — after sealing the nomination — Mitt Romney, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The latest target was Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) a well-liked, pro-immigration reform conservative from a state in which Trump is struggling. You know, some people, as he said, said it was hardening,” he said on Sunday on Face the Nation regarding Trump’s Arizona speech. “Some said softening. I say it was just confusing.” He proceeded to explain why he could not vote for Trump: “Well, it becomes increasingly difficult to see that he’s going to change. So, I don’t expect that I will be able to support him in November. I would like to, but he’s the Republican nominee. I just don’t see how I can.”

Rather than ignore Flake, Trump took — where else? — to Twitter.

An hour later he felt compelled to tweet again.

It is sad, but not in the way Trump imagines. Like Captain Queeg obsessing about his disloyal shipmates, Trump cannot refrain from lashing out, even when it is so obviously contrary to his interests.

Trump’s core problem has always been Trump — his intellect, his temperament and his character. No teleprompter or change of campaign staff will change that. The only reason he remains remotely competitive is that his opponent has her own character issues.