Time Mag featured an infamous pair of Trump “Meltdown” covers last year. The description was premature, in a sense; how truly melted-down can a candidate be if he goes on to win* the grand prize, the US presidency?
(*or obtain through machinations, depending on your level of belief in Russiagate’s scope and other GOP voter suppression dirty-tricks. And my belief is rather high.)
But what if he really is melting down, psychologically speaking? That is the question raised in the latest piece from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, posted Wednesday afternoon:
The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern… (snip)… (prominent Republicans and Trump advisers who spoke with Sherman all) describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.
And this nugget, pointed out by commenter TexasLefty:
“Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.” (emphasis added by diarist)
Eyebrow-raising, that last quote. It suggests Trump full well understands that his power depends entirely on maintaining a cult of personality, the cult that propelled his candidacy all the way to the GOP nomination and beyond. It’s why he keeps playing to his base at the expense of everything else. It’s why he longs for a time machine to catapult him back to the campaign days where he can just keep doing more self-adulation rallies for stadiums full of angry white racists and liberal-haters.
This all aligns with the growing number of mental health professionals willing to take the extraordinary step of opining, publicly, on the President’s mental health based on what he has said, done, and rage-Tweeted over the past year-plus.