You know, along with having the impulse control of a 7-year-old boy, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Donald J. Trump just ain’t real smart. He’s a cunning self-promoter, but dim. He did manage to go bankrupt in the casino business, you know. That’s really hard to do.
Trump showed losses of close to a billion dollars operating his grandiose gambling dens in Atlantic City. In the process, he stiffed investors and contractors alike, right down to the guys who installed the toilets and slot machines. Around the same time, Trump Air — his personal airline — also went bust. U.S. banks basically quit lending him money.
So he turned to the Russians.
But I’m getting ahead of the story. Trump eventually made good playing a tycoon on a scripted “reality TV” program, dabbling in professional wrestling on the side. If he hadn’t inherited a fortune, odds are he’d have ended up a sideshow barker luring hayseeds to see the bearded lady. Instead, with a little help from Vladimir Putin, they made him president of the United States.
Anyway, let’s keep it real simple. A smart person, if he wanted to accuse his predecessor as president of the United States of a serious felony — such as an illegal wiretap against Trump himself, which would constitute the worst crime against American democracy since 1860 — that person would assemble an airtight case before opening his mouth. Only an impulsive fool would blurt out such an incendiary charge with no evidence whatsoever.
A man not fit to lead the Mayberry PD, much less the U.S.A.
Yeah, yeah, I know. You think that Obama, that two-faced Muslim pretender, maybe did it. Fine, show me the proof. Not some desperate rationalization cooked up to convince yourself Trump’s playing with a full deck. Face it, he’s not.
Meanwhile, ever wondered what it must be like for the White House flacks — Spicer, Conway, Sanders — tasked with explaining away Trump’s overnight Twitter-storms? Here’s something I wrote a few weeks ago:
“The whole country is learning how exhausting it can be to live with a seriously mentally ill person: the constant feeling of apprehension and unease over what kind of manipulative, delusional nonsense is coming next. The uncertainty about how to react … .Will calling the police make things better, or worse? Is it too early to seek order of commitment? Or too late?”
My fellow Americans, we’re there.
So am I saying Trump’s mentally ill? Not in the sense of having a treatable brain disease, no. Nor am I a psychiatrist, although I spent years writing a book (“Widow’s Web”) about a couple of characters like Trump, one a politician who eventually sabotaged himself by making wild allegations he could never prove.
Most professionals who have weighed in on Trump’s mental health mention Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic’s website says about it:
“If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having ‘the best’ of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.
“At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior.”
So did you read about President Trump screaming and cursing at White House aides last week before flying off to his Florida castle to launch a bizarre Twitter-storm against Obama? Or as the inimitable Charles P. Pierce put it, “Ensconced in Camp Runamuck, the president is a voracious consumer of angry paranoid junk food. We are all now living in Talk Radio Hell.”
So now what? Writing in Columbia Journalism Review, Lee Siegel put it this way: “We don’t need to be told by a doctor that the guy who is coughing and sneezing at the other end of the train car is probably sick. … All we know is that the safe thing to do is to stay away from him.
“When someone is compulsively lying, continuously contradicting himself, imploring the approval of people even as he is attacking them, exalting people one day and abusing and vilifying them the next, then the question of his mental state is moot. The safe thing to do is not just to stay away from him, but to keep him away from situations where he can do harm.”
Barring some unpredictable (if quite likely) disaster, it’s basically up to the Republicans, who have it in their power to keep the presidency while saving the nation from Trump.
I am not holding my breath.