Wednesday, May 17th, 2017...1:29 pm

Editorial: With Trump, it’s not going to get better

Jump to Comments

If a novelist were to write a political satire about a reality TV star who runs for president and wins, and whose presidency soon goes off the rails, critics would complain that the story requires too great a suspension of disbelief on the part of readers.

However, by a fluke of the Electoral College, most Americans nervously await the next bombshell from a White House that looks increasingly inept and untrustworthy. Just since the last issue of the Jewish World was published, Trump fired FBI director James Comey (May 9); and met with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office (May 10), and revealed “highly classified information,” according to a Washington Post report this week.

Both of these events were followed by shifting scripts, as Trump’s spokespersons offered explanations, which were later contradicted by the president. In the case of the Comey firing, Trump contradicted the rationale offered in his own termination letter to Comey.

And in the matter of spilling the highly-classified beans to the Russians, Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told reporters that the Washington Post story was “false”; Dina Powell, the White House national security adviser for strategy, added on Monday, “the story is false,” according to CNN. “The President only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

But on Tuesday, the Tweeter-in-Chief declared, in two tweets:

As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining….

 … to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.

It likely wasn’t a great idea to entrust this nation’s secrets to Donald Trump, a person lacking discretion and critical intelligence. More worrisome is the possibility that this president, who seems continually enraged by critical press coverage (“fake news”) and perceived slights to his inflated sense of self, will find relief by triggering a massive war.

Although he remarked at the beginning of the month that he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump has issued a series of threats related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters, in late April.

Of course, a war on the Korean Peninsula would be disastrous, and it likely would spill over to Japan. If Kim Jong Un felt that his regime was imperiled by the U.S., a conflict could quickly jump the fire breaks and turn nuclear. It’s not happy stuff to think about.

Getting back to Trump and his personality quirks, psychiatrists and psychotherapists have been warning that the president’s behavior imperils U.S. security. Specifically, Trump seems to exhibit the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

In a recent article for Rolling Stone, Alex Morris explained: “NPD was first introduced as a personality disorder by the [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)]

in 1980 and affects up to six percent of the U.S. population. It is not a mood state but rather an ingrained set of traits, a programming of the brain that is thought to arise in childhood as a result of parenting that either puts a child on a pedestal and superficially inflates the ego or, conversely, withholds approval and requires the child to single-handedly build up his or her own ego to survive. Either way, this impedes the development of a realistic sense of self and instead fosters a ‘false self,’ a grandiose narrative of one’s own importance that needs constant support and affirmation — or “narcissistic supply” — to ward off an otherwise prevailing sense of emptiness. Of all personality disorders, NPD is among the least responsive to treatment for the obvious reason that narcissists typically do not, or cannot, admit that they are flawed.”

We all likely have known someone with NPD, for example, a family member or acquaintance that cannot take responsibility for his or her mistakes and deflects blame on to others.

This all becomes a dire concern when the person with NPD is the commander-in-chief of U.S. military forces.

In a letter to the New York Times in February, dozens of psychiatrists, psychologist and social workers warned:

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

The letter’s two named signees were Dr. Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Joseph Schachter, a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association.

The letter’s authors noted that their warning violated the so-called Goldwater Rule, a self-imposed dictum from mental health organizations against evaluating public figures. The reference is to 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who was branded by some medical experts as mentally unstable and not to be trusted with the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

In violating the Goldwater Rule, the authors and signees of the letter noted thatsilence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.”

The path to remove the current president is not clear. A Republican-dominated House likely will not impeach Trump, minus some truly catastrophic event. There is also the untested 25th Amendment, which has a section that outlines a procedure for removing a president that is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

For the sake of our country and the well-being of the world, Trump must be removed from office.

— Mordecai Specktor / editor [at] ajwnews [dot] com

(American Jewish World, 5.19.17)

Leave a Reply