Americans now find themselves in a position heretofore unmatched or even undreamt of: the most dangerous person on the planet is the titular president of the United States, Donald Trump. Add to that horrific premise the fact that said president is under mounting stress as his actions come back to haunt him, and he finds out for the first time in 73 years of life, that he can’t simply buy his way out of trouble, and so he’s panicking; in “meltdown” mode as Nancy Pelosi characterized it. On one thing you may depend: it’s not going to get any better. Trump is going to get even nuttier, before our very eyes, with military heroes testifying against him, and his most favorable witness to date “being eyed for a perjury referral.” Watching Trump crash and burn is going to be Shakespearean. Chauncey DeVega, Salon:
The stress of impeachment and a looming sense that perhaps, after 70-plus years of life, he may face some accountability for his wrongdoing is apparently causing Donald Trump to retreat into a delusional alternate reality.
On Thursday, CNN described Trump’s response to the Ukraine scandal: “The President did what he often does when an unappealing political reality threatens: He simply invented a more advantageous one, launching misleading attacks on the conduct of the inquiry and picking new fights.”
On Wednesday, New York magazine reported that Trump is now making up quotes praising him, including one from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. [McConnell allegedly said, “That was the most innocent phone call I’ve ever read.”]
Trump’s apparent fabrication of McConnell’s quote is part of an increasingly common pattern in which he passes along praise from a third party that’s impossible to source and then gets called on it, typically by reporters and occasionally by the person who supposedly uttered the compliment. It’s a departure from Trump’s long-held habit of inventing quotes and attributing them to unnamed “anonymous validators,” or making up quotes that purportedly came from his political opponents.
Donald Trump’s personal consigliere, Attorney General William Barr, is undermining the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution by giving legal weight to absurd conspiracy theories that Trump is the victim of a “coup” by the Democrats, the FBI and Robert Mueller. Conspiracy theories are the bedrock of Trump’s alternate reality. Conservatives and their propaganda media provide outside validation for the president’s delusions. Collectively they are enablers of the Mad King.
Psychiatrist and former Harvard professor Lance Dodes weighed in on Trump’s mind set, what the Last Days of Trump might look like, and what would happen thereafter.
A key element in Trump’s enduring power is that his supporters are in love with him. He is a fantasy figure for the rank-and-file Trumpists, especially his famous “white working class” supporters. His supporters wish they could do all the horrible things Trump does without suffering any consequences.
Yes. And they love him because they buy his Big Lie that he cares about them and will fight for them. The tragedy is that this is an intentional con, an exact reversal and concealment of the truth that Trump cares only for himself and his need to see himself as great. He does not care at all about them. The large version of that is that Trump does not care at all about America. His slogan, too, is exactly backward and would honestly be “Make Me Great, Again and Again.”
If Trump is forced from office, what will happen with his followers? Will they suffer a mass psychotic break? Do you think there will be violence?
If Trump is actually ever forced out it will have to be with Republican support. Consequently, his supporters will have people in their own party to turn to, and they and their politicians will create a version of reality that they can live with. There will likely be a mass denial that they ever really supported Trump.
A lot of people have said that he won’t leave peacefully. I think that he will. He’s clever that way; he perceives it would not be in his personal interest to have to be carried out of the Oval Office by the FBI. His focus on his personal benefit at any cost is why he’s a successful sociopath.
My guess is that he will find a way to leave with an invented rationalization. He’ll say he was pushed out by the bad people: the Mexicans, the crooked media, etc. He’ll continue to portray himself as a victim, and he’ll encourage people to rally around him and, not incidentally, around his companies. He’ll maintain the near-psychotic view that he is not diminished at all but has been attacked by heathens. And a certain number of people will follow him.
Trump is now is his third year as president. At this point, how would you assess his mental health?
The more pressure Trump is under, the worse he gets, the more desperate he gets. Challenges are a fundamental threat to him, so Trump will become more and more panicked by them. He will do more and more impulsive things — really anything — and will look crazier and crazier because he’ll become more and more paranoid. The more people say to him, “You are the problem,” the more he’s going to say exactly the same thing to others. For example, as soon as people take seriously the idea of his being impeached, he uses the same word, he says those people should be impeached. Trump is acting like a very young child. But he can’t do any better than that.
In the end, if they finally get Trump out of office, he will declare that they’re all bad and that he’s the victim of a coup — which is what he has already said. Trump will leaves intact — in his own mind. He retreats to his tower in New York and gathers around him all the people who are still loyal to him. Donald Trump will try to continue to scam the world in the future.
There’s little doubt but that Trump will try to keep his scams going. He’s way too old a dog to learn any new tricks. But in a post-Trump world, he will simply join the boy who cried wolf as the person with zero credibility that nobody even hears anymore, let alone listens to. A posterity in obscurity awaits him, and that is the one thing that he won’t be able to stand.