Trump is Not Well
Peter Wehner, writing in The Atlantic, states the obvious. Trump is not well.
Donald Trump’s disordered personality—his unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning, and behaving—has become the defining characteristic of his presidency. It manifests itself in multiple ways: his extreme narcissism; his addiction to lying about things large and small, including his finances and bullying and silencing those who could expose them; his detachment from reality, including denying things he said even when there is video evidence to the contrary; his affinity for conspiracy theories; his demand for total loyalty from others while showing none to others; and his self-aggrandizement and petty cheating.
It manifests itself in Trump’s impulsiveness and vindictiveness; his craving for adulation; his misogyny, predatory sexual behavior, and sexualization of his daughters; his open admiration for brutal dictators; his remorselessness; and his lack of empathy and sympathy, including attacking a family whose son died while fighting for this country, mocking a reporter with a disability, and ridiculing a former POW. (When asked about Trump’s feelings for his fellow human beings, Trump’s mentor, the notorious lawyer Roy Cohn, reportedly said, “He pisses ice water.”)
The most recent example is the president’s bizarre fixation on falsely insisting that he was correct to warn that Alabama faced a major risk from Hurricane Dorian, to the point that he doctored a hurricane map with a black Sharpie to include the state as being in the path of the storm.
Wehner goes on to talk about the incredulity he faces whenever Trump says something ridiculous.
Even now, almost a thousand days into his presidency, the latest Trump outrage elicits shock and disbelief in people. The reaction is, “Can you believe he said that and did this?”
To which my response is, “Why are you surprised?” It’s a shock only if the assumption is that we’re dealing with a psychologically normal human being. We’re not. Trump is profoundly compromised, acting just as you would imagine a person with a disordered personality would. Many Americans haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that we elected as president a man who is deeply damaged, an emotional misfit. But it would be helpful if they did.
Among other things, it would keep us feeling less startled and disoriented, less in a state of constant agitation, less susceptible to provocations. Donald Trump thrives on creating chaos, on gaslighting us, on creating antipathy among Americans, on keeping people on edge and off balance. He wants to dominate our every waking hour. We ought not grant him that power over us.
It might also take some of the edge off the hatred many people feel for Trump. Seeing him for what he is—a terribly damaged soul, a broken man, a person with a disordered mind—should not lessen our revulsion at how Trump mistreats others, at his cruelty and dehumanizing actions.
Nor should it weaken our resolve to stand up to it. It does complicate the picture just a bit, though, eliciting some pity and sorrow for Trump.
But above all, accepting the truth about Trump’s mental state will cause us to take more seriously than we have our democratic duty, which is to prevent a psychologically and morally unfit person from becoming president.
That’s the thing that most people who are educated already knew: he’s not a psychological normal human being. He’s an “emotional misfit.” It’s the non-educated who think he’s doing great things. They are clueless. They are so ignorant they have no idea how woefully ignorant they are. A few are willfully ignorant not wanting to see or hear about how unpopular, inhumane and corrupt he is. I feel anger and pity for these people.