The Madness of King Donald

This week it became clearer than ever that the man presently sitting in our White House is unfit to be our nation’s president. Yes, I know that over the years we have had other flawed men holding our country’s highest position and we’ve survived. There have been racists, alcoholics, crooks, paranoids, philanderers, and a few that just weren’t very smart. But I don’t think we’ve ever had a President that was so loaded with increasingly obvious, and dangerous, defects. – And this is of magnified importance in our increasingly complex and endangered world.

Trump’s recent actions with Western Europe’s leaders and Russia’s President Putin have been thoroughly documented so there’s no need to rehash specifics here. It’s just seems worth pointing out that President Trump’s behavior over the past few days confirms what a growing number of us have suspected for some time. The man’s mind is not healthy.

Admittedly, the American public elected this guy, even though several million more of us voted for his opponent than for him. (Whatever logic there was behind the creation of the Electoral College now seems really questionable.) And back in 2015-16 as we watched Trump maneuver his way through his party’s primary contests, many of us didn’t see his behavior as much more than the behavior of an obnoxious and unlikely Republican candidate.

Since we’d had little exposure to Donald Trump before his presidential campaign, we wrote off his braggadocio behavior as simply an abrasive style. He came across as a character whose shtick was to talk big, make brash remarks, exaggerate, act tough. He postured himself as a rebel. Yes, we did see him say and do outrageous things on the campaign trail, but many of us wrote it off as an act.

Then came the day after his inauguration. Our new president began bragging to the press about the record number of people who came to Washington’s mall to see him sworn in. – “It looked like a million, a million and a half people.” Huge! The biggest ever! Then faced with clear, videotaped proof that this was far from true, and far less than the crowd drawn by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, he continued to deny reality while putting his White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer, in the awkward position of defending his indefensible (and nutty) statement.

That’s when we began to realize that this man’s exaggerations and unsupported claims were not just confined to campaign language. Trump’s use of bloviated rhetoric was his reality. He was not going to tone this down as he faced the serious daily responsibilities of being President. On that first day in office, Trump revealed the way his mind works – or to put it another way, fails to work. The world began to see that our new president was a very insecure man. Not just someone with a sensitive ego, but someone capable of delusional behavior.

I suspect that in the case of his relationship with President Putin, his insecurity is heightened by real fear. It could be fear that unsavory financial dealings with Russian oligarchs or unsavory activities with Russian prostitutes will be exposed. Or perhaps there’s fear that a double-cross by Putin’s KGB could reveal criminal acts committed by Trump family members.

Even so, over the past 18 months of his presidency, we’ve seen that real threats aren’t required to trigger bizarre responses from Trump. His narcissism is off the charts and his responses toward the needs of other human beings at times borders on sociopathic (look up the definition).

Over the next two years there’s no reason to expect that his behavior will improve. And it’s difficult for me to believe that there aren’t plenty of Republican politicians who recognize that the way Trump behaves is off kilter. It’s becoming too strange to ignore. However, I’m betting they won’t do much about it beyond making careful statements of disapproval as they attempt to protect themselves in the upcoming mid-terms.

After all, the ideologues and billionaires behind the financing of so many Republican candidates are finally getting their dreams rewarded. They now have lower taxes for the ultra-wealthy. They are seeing controls over dark money PACs being removed, nationwide affordable healthcare crippled, national environmental restrictions lifted. And they hope to soon have a Supreme Court locked in with a conservative majority that will likely undermine personal freedoms we have gained over decades.

Meanwhile Republicans in control of Congress are watching Trump’s “me oriented” world view weaken the NATO alliance, the European Union and democracy in EU countries, strengthen Putin’s long-term strategies, enhance China’s global economic position and dilute America’s prestige worldwide.

Republicans are getting what they want right now, but by going along with a leader as unstable as Donald Trump they’re playing a dangerous game.

Fortunately, the United States is still a democracy where individuals like you and me are free to try to change things. Many of you are already involved in that process. More of you – actually, all of you – need to join in. Next week I will try to offer info on ways you can help save the United States from the madness of King Donald.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973