In Too Much and Never Enough – How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Mary L. Trump, Ph.D., provides hard data confirming thirty-six psychiatrists’, psychologists’ and other professionals’ hypothesis in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.
I read The Dangerous Case. What I know of Ms Trump’s treatise comes from “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Rachae Madow’s interview. Regarding our forty-fifth president, I like to believe an aged Armchair Shrink’s observations and opinions do not wholly miss the experts’ mark.
I understand, Clinical Psychologist Mary Trump attributes much of Uncle Donald’s baffling behavior to a learning disability inhibiting his capacity to process information. As I understand, this incapacity to incorporate incoming data and formulate rational responses often triggers Donald’s sixth-grade Bully defense: character assignation, name-calling, snarling and snapping like a cornered cougar, leaving handlers scrambling to cover the Boss’s ass.
This cognitive limitation may account for verbal outbursts which call to mind a psychotic symptom “word salad.” It may explain our president’s failure to read the Daily Briefings essential if not vital in managing myriad mind-boggling issues. It could account for verbal quantum leaps among unrelated topics in 2 a.m. Tweets, speeches and Oval Office business.
You might expect, with a lifetime of practice Donald has perfected Orwellian “doublespeak.” He hasn’t. Nevertheless, at a rally, performing for minions, “Let Trump be Trump” works. Forget facts or logic. People who yearn for his lies always believe. Attempting to make sense of his nonsense, the unanointed are flummoxed, caught with a haunting sense of being gaslighted. And of course we are.
Facing reporters Donald is gobsmacked, not by complex questions but his inability to retain and process information, to understand a question and formulate an answer. NBC’s Peter Alexander asked, “What do you say to people who are frightened?” A softball other presidents would drive over the center field wall, indeed welcome as a chance to sound presidential. Falling back on his standard, “If you don’t like the message kill the messenger” fallacy, Trump’s response, “I say you are a terrible reporter!” Peter’s turn to be gobsmacked!
At an April 6 White House briefing, ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked President Trump to comment on Health and Human Services Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm’s report that 323 hospitals experience supply shortages and testing delays in responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. Again, to “kill the messenger” Donald challenged Inspector Grimm’s credentials and Karl’s validity. “What you said is a disgrace . . . (you are) a third rate reporter . . . who will never make it.”—Unlike you Mr. President, Mr. Karl has.
A CBS reporter asked, “What do you tell parents and teachers who feel it is unsafe to go back to the classroom?” The president’s reply, “I would tell parents that you should find yourself a new person, whoever’s in charge of that decision, because it’s a terrible decision.” Unpack that if you can! If memory serves, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s opined, “In other words parents should find another person to make the decision that a parent should make! Revealing a clear and complete inability to process information, to process the words that were just sent to him. . . . words he could not process!”
Currently Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci wears the bull’s-eye for arrows from the Trump Team’s “kill the messenger” bow. Given available data, of course, Dr. Facui has been mistaken. It comes with the territory. Slandering and insulting a professional who has devoted his career to studying, mediating and stopping epidemics and pandemics falls in the range of absurd, ridiculous, asinine and is inexcusable.
Why did Donald not take early and aggressive action to stop COVID 19? Initial reports and warnings were sketchy. Even a rational mind had reason to pause. This said, facing daily briefings and growing alarm over its seriousness, for the first three months of 2020, President Trump reassured Americans the virus was “contained,” no threat , would vanish like a “miracle.” By January 27, mounting warnings triggered Joe Biden’s “USA Today” op-ed calling for decisive steps to contain and control the virus.
Donald did not take early and aggressive action against COVID 19 because the mounting implications for COVID 19 meant change, fundamental change. More than most, even Conservatives, Donald’s gut-level defenses are structured around predictability and change is unpredictable. Whatever the cost in truth, integrity, even life, this ultimate anathema, change, must be vigorously resisted and denied. Worshipers shoulder-to-shoulder by Easter. Workers back to work. Kids back to school. Life back to normal. COVID be damned!
Bred and weaned amid the amoral, cutthroat world of New York City Real Estate, for Donald Trump financial wealth, being “rich,” is the Crown Jewel. Honesty, character, integrity, do the right thing, are costume jewelry. Clearly, embracing face masks and social distancing to control the COVID 19 virus would drastically scale back his vaunted economy. Ironically, Donald’s refusal to take preventative measured early on—as South Korea’s and other leaders did—his denials and paralysis, his fear of change, became the sledgehammer which crushed his Crown Jewel.
Each of us inhabits a peculiar reality. The nature and impact of our first two decades of life, especially the first decade, is unique and decisive. Like all of us, Donald Trump could not have survived those formative years un-traumatized. A few appear less challenged, most do okay, life kicks the hell out of some. I number Donald John Trump among the latter cohort.