May 23rd, 2019
According to Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, decompensation, among other things, is “failure of defense mechanisms resulting in progressive personality disintegration.” Basically, if a person with mental illness is confronted by a reality that shatters the comforting lies with which he has cocooned himself, he shatters, both mentally and emotionally.
Donald Trump appears to be in a state of decompensation and seemingly can no longer sustain the pretense of being a functional person able to interact with others.
Yesterday was remarkable enough. In a pre-planned meltdown (and one apparently vigorously opposed by his aides) he declared that he would not be interacting with Congress on legislative negotiations at all until the investigations of himself were ended. That was astonishing.
He concluded this utter spectacle by declaring grandly, that he was “the most transparent president in history, who doesn’t do cover-ups.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the performance “jaw-dropping” and it’s pretty hard to take issue with that.
By way of example, three presidents before him have faced serious impeachment proceedings: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. All three continued to do their jobs and even on the eve of impeachment votes, continued back-and-forths with Congress regarding major legislation. They had a job to do, and they all had the courage and character to do the job, no matter how bleak their political futures appeared.
He had already declared that investigating him was treasonous, and today he doubled down on that, declaring that James Comey, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe were the traitors he had in mind. The reporter asking him that added, “Sir, the Constitution says treason is punishable by death. You’ve accused your adversaries of treason. Who are you talking about?” Trump didn’t seem to have any problem with the inference that he would want to have those four individuals put to death.
At a rally last night, he declared that William Barr, his lickspittle and contemptible Attorney General, was “looking into” investigating Trump’s political foes.
This is Nazi dictator stuff that is happening here.
Trump’s entire world is collapsing. He is a man who not only has lived a lie, but has been an utter lie since he was about three years old. He loudly proclaimed (and presumably believed) that he was a great businessman and one of the best negotiators on Earth. In the past fortnight, a stunning investigative piece by the New York Times revealed that not only was he a poor businessman, but in terms of money lost, the worst businessman in America over a ten-year span. Despite his efforts to utterly stonewall all investigations, Congress has his bank records from Wells Fargo and TD banks; Rex Tillerson gave hours of secret testimony about his pathetic meetings with Vladimir Putin, and he is losing court case after court case, unable to even use litigation as a delaying tactic.
Imagine the thing in your life that most defines you as a person, and is something your entire self-respect and self-image relies upon. Maybe you know it’s a lie, and maybe you don’t, but suddenly, you are totally and utterly exposed in such a way that the whole world knows about it. This is far worse than dreams about no pants in school, or getting caught downloading porn of 14 year olds. This is something that utterly smashes your entire public persona.
That’s what happened to Trump.
Now, I’m not trying to present him sympathetically. His is a tawdry, sordid, vicious life in which he has coldly and even joyfully hurt and cheated many people. He was utter sociopathic scum before he became president.
He also had Nazi proclivities. During the campaign, people warned that his bedside reading material consisted of one book: “My New Order” by Adolf Hitler. He admitted to this readily enough, but claimed that it was OK because the person who loaned him the book was Jewish. (He wasn’t, and it doesn’t exactly explain why Trump would fixate on a book that, along with many of Hitler’s speeches, provided a step-by-step description of how he attained and consolidated his power.) Even without Trump’s blatantly and viciously anti-Semitic, racist, bullying and dishonest tactics, the fact that he would put in considerable amount of his time studying this particular book is deeply disturbing.
So we have a President who is a sociopath and deeply admires a murderous long-dead dictator, and has a self-evident trait of finding and wanting to kill scapegoats. His actions in the wake of Puerto Rico’s hurricane should have put us all on notice: he doesn’t mind killing people.
Now all the rest of his defenses are crumbling. He is losing court case after court case, and even some Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from Trump. One, a Michigan representative, Justin Amash, called for impeachment hearings, meaning that Trump will want to try and execute him for treason. Pelosi is openly goading him into overreacting to the point where even Congress will have to consider removing him, not through impeachment, but on 25th Amendment grounds. She called on the GOP, his cabinet and his aides to stage an intervention, the way you might with a nephew who just got popped for drunk driving for the third time.
The worst of it is that Trump has toadies in Congress such as McConnell who will do nothing to stop Trump. He has frantically populated the Justice Department and the courts with stooges, and doubtlessly hopes his two appointments to the Supreme Court might shield him. It’s horrifying to realize that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh might do just that; they never were anyone’s idea of independent and impartial jurists, and Trump loves to use the Russian tactic of kompromat; who’s to say what he has on those two? It’s unlikely he would have named either without a file with nasty personal information.
Make no mistake: facing utter personal and professional ruin, Trump is at his most dangerous. He is capable of casually horrific acts; now he has, from his perspective, unlimited reason to employ such tactics.
Brace yourselves, people: the next chapter in this story is going to be very, very ugly, and quite dangerous.