Alan Zendell, July 1, 2020
When Donald Trump named himself “The Lone Warrior” on Twitter last night, he revealed more than he intended. He told us that his mental illness may be entering a critical stage in which he feels abandoned by all those he trusted, and in which he, the only one who understands the threats we face and the only true savant, is justified in any actions he deems necessary. Americans should be terrified.
Trump’s illness is a narcissistic personality disorder, an easily diagnosed psychopathy which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” The Clinic goes on to list twelve specific symptoms, the most troubling of which in a U. S. President is a preoccupation with fantasies of his own success, power, and brilliance.
Trump’s disorder is easily diagnosed but not easily treated without the willing compliance of the patient. We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. Normal, secure adults can handle them, acknowledge them, take responsibility, and move on. When their mistakes cause damage or harm, responsible leaders focus on remedies and cures, while leaders with fragile egos are consumed by the need to deflect blame and distract attention from the casualties they caused. When allies and supporters begin to desert them, they lash out in desperation. People who disagree are called stupid or treasonous.
The more serious the disorder, the harder the sufferer will fight to deny it. Their go-to behavior in the face of criticism or disagreement is doubling down and becoming so entrenched in a point of view that it becomes impossible to either back away or compromise. A sufferer who regresses to the “lone warrior” mentality, is extremely dangerous. Combined with a belief that only he understands what is truly happening and a sense of heightened self-righteousness, an extreme narcissist like Trump converts any self-serving delusion into his own alternate reality in which he is incapable of seeing anything that does not serve his own interest. He cannot be reasoned with and rids himself of all sources of dissent, surrounding himself with yes-people and enablers.
We see this manifesting every day as it becomes obvious that Trump’s policies have failed, and his leadership is nonexistent. Faced with a pandemic that has already cost 130,000 American lives, amid clear evidence that the lack of strong federal management has allowed the virus to spread, possibly beyond our ability to control it, the president ignores the advice and warnings of virtually every responsible health professional. The actions necessary to protect Americans from the illness, economic devastation, and death caused by COVID-19 are not convenient to his re-election chances, so he reneges on his responsibilities.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned yesterday that previous models of the spread of the virus and its resulting death counts assumed that the federal government would promulgate and enforce policies to limit the spread. But, he explained, models are only as good as the assumptions they are based on, and none of them considered events like shoulder-to-shoulder political rallies, the politicization of mask wearing, or a president in total denial. As a result, Fauci would not even venture a guess as to how many more people might die from the virus.
Fauci knows the answer, but there are limits to what he can say publicly, so it’s left to us to speak for him. It’s clear from the success of Europe and east Asia that at least 100,000 of the 130,000 deaths that have already occurred were preventable if Trump had acted promptly instead of worrying about financial markets and re-election. Now, imagine the first wave of the pandemic strengthening, growing exponentially even faster than in March and April. Imagine too, that with Trump setting exactly the wrong examples, millions of people continue to defy local restrictions and common sense.
Imagine exhausted health care workers continuing to fall ill and supplies of necessary medical equipment not being replenished because the federal government has been lax in maintaining a national repository. As caseloads and hospitalizations rise at record rates, how many people have to die before enablers stand up to Trump and invoke the Nancy Reagan response – JUST SAY NO? 200,000? 500,000? Two million?
Fauci told us time is running out. He doesn’t believe we’re past the point of no return yet, but we soon will be if we don’t get this under control. Our president’s mental illness is doing serious damage to our country. If it goes on much longer, the damage will be permanent.