Thursday, May 18, 2017
Donald Trump and the Demon Child In His Head
It's hardly surprising that Donald Trump is not happy with the appointment of a special counsel.
But judging by that tweet this morning, the voices in his head are now all screaming at the same time.
And when Trump visited the U.S. Coast Guard Academy yesterday, they did provoke him into an orgy of self pity.
It's absurd, it's pathetic, but it's also pathological.
And as David Brooks writes, it's what happens when the world is led by a child.
At certain times Donald Trump has seemed like a budding authoritarian, a corrupt Nixon, a rabble-rousing populist or a big business corporatist. But as Trump has settled into his White House role, he has given a series of long interviews, and when you study the transcripts it becomes clear that fundamentally he is none of these things.
At base, Trump is an infantalist.There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.
Trump's desire to be loved is so great he is willing to say or do anything. Even if that means fooling others and himself...
Trump is not only trying to deceive others. His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself.
Even if almost none of it makes sense, and can only confuse the rest of the world.
Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.
We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.
What makes all of this even worse, is that this self destructive streak is rooted in his past, and his relationship with his domineering father.
To survive, I concluded from our conversations, Trump felt compelled to go to war with the world. It was a binary, zero-sum choice for him: You either dominated or you submitted. You either created and exploited fear, or you succumbed to it — as he thought his older brother had.
And today his tendency to react rather than reflect is what makes him so dangerous...
In neurochemical terms, when he feels threatened or thwarted, Trump moves into a fight-or-flight state. His amygdala is triggered, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activates, and his prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that makes us capable of rationality and reflection — shuts down. He reacts rather than reflects, and damn the consequences. This is what makes his access to the nuclear codes so dangerous and frightening.
And since at the age of 70 he is unlikely to change, he needs to be removed from power as soon as is humanly possible.
Some face saving way will probably be found to ease Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.
But nothing will be able to disguise the urgency of the task.
Lock up the demon child.
Before he kills us all...