There were warning signs from the fateful beginning that Trump’s presidency was going to be divergent from the air of dignity and grace that the executive office usually claims.
The perception of the office first changed when Trump decided that presidential directives were to have their introduction on social media, most of them deteriorating into a barrage of boastful, abusive, and mocking rants.
The graceful, thoughtful presidential verbiage that we were once accustomed, evolved into an ongoing fusillade of how many ways one could use the word “amazing”.
And, if that weren’t enough, we were informed, to show he was a “man of his people”, that he had a button installed on his desk to summon his daily nourishment of chemically laden burgers and diet soda.
While there were those who worshiped this fresh management style, I think for most of America, it was embarrassing and peculiar to have this man at our helm, even for some, who had, at one point, given him their vote.
At the moment of his election loss, the once egocentric arrogance, that made Trump famously a force, transformed into a much darker, scarier manifestation. He appeared to completely lose touch with what his actions represented, as he carelessly threw his power around, hitting every target he could to undo the will of the voters.
Then, as if this wasn’t enough of an affront, Trump’s rabid devotees, modeling this rage, increasingly accelerated until they pursued an armed and deadly overthrow of the government, as misfit servants of his misguided justice.
The dissenter’s were so outrageous, that those they assumed would condone their deadly violence, turned their backs on them, admonishing their actions, including their illustrious liege, until they found themselves between the undercarriage of a bus, and a very rough road.
Trump undoubtedly behaved with reckless abandon, destroying any chance of maintaining a modicum of decency, as he fed his restless worshipers with the hope that their violence would be universally admired. What is most alarming, is that even now, firmly out of office, he says he is not done.
Did we just witness the mental deterioration of a leader, whose scorn was a burning ember, and his political demise, a fire that fed itself?
Over two years ago, those that are professionally capable of analysis, warned a number of our congressional representatives that his presidential behavior was becoming more alarming. His behavior, in their words, was becoming quite dangerous.
On December 5 and 6, 2017, Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee met privately with more than a dozen members of Congress, cautioning them that the president was losing his grip on reality.
“He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs,” stated Lee. Lee, sadly, has now been profoundly vindicated.
Lee testified that “going back to conspiracy theories, denying things he has admitted before, his being drawn to violent videos. We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.”’
What alarmed Lee and her entourage is the act of dangerousness that he created within his role.
Professionally speaking, a diagnosis cannot be reached without a personal interview with the subject. It’s called the Goldwater rule, named after the controversy when psychiatric professionals stated in the media that, in their opinion, Senator Barry Goldwater was mentally ill, making him incapacitated for the office of the presidency, without having actually examined him. Because of their assumptions, this is now an industry standard.
The only way that Lee and others could approach this without professional admonishment, was to examine, then relay, the level of dangerousness Trump’s actions created. Even though they cannot diagnose why he was acting this way, this tangible evidence was within their professional grasp.
While a diagnoses follows an individual, assessing the endangerment created by one’s behavior only follows the context of that situation. It’s an effective legal avenue of setting off alarms for the peril that surrounded Trump and his volatility.
There were many apocalyptic signs that indicated threats to his stability, and that Trump’s dangerous behavior was forging a menacing plot.
Lacking Rational Decision Making Skills
Lee eloquently stated her case, “[Trump] basic psychological makeup that he brought at the start of the presidency was the same, in that he lacked mental capacity for rational decision making, which was basic fitness for the office.”
Lee has a profound point. Trump began his presidency by announcing on day one that he wanted to “drain the swamp” and give the country back to its people. Then he made the most preposterous cabinet picks, choosing several billionaires, Washington insiders, and Wall Street icons to run the affairs of the country.
These puzzling appointments peaked when he chose Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education. Devos, a billionaire, had never attended a public school in her life, nor had her children. The ridiculousness of this choice bears no inference to his devotion he claims he has for America, but instead, is an astounding reflection of his patronage to money and power, as Devos was the sister of Blackwater’s Erik Prince, who gave millions to Trump’s campaign.
This appointment bears no resemblance to a rational decision.
The unleashed Devos let predatory lenders free, who she held financial interest in, by gutting regulations that protected student’s in need of funding. She dismissed civil rights complaints and denied the rights of transgender students to use restrooms that conform to their gender identity. She rolled back sexual assault policies on college campuses, establishing a higher bar for victims reporting complaints. Then, after all of that, she tried to eliminate the Department of Education altogether by cutting $9 billion from the budget.
This destructive force was all done with Trump’s rubber stamp of approval. As her measure’s intensified in the year of Covid, it left parents, students, and teachers at the end of their patience, trying to get the most out of the tight parameters she set in motion for our nations education.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union in the country, had two words for Devos as she turned in her resignation this past January, “Good riddance.”
Rhetoric Incites Violence
Lee, responding to how Trump’s rhetoric affects his followers, states, “…he shows signs of violence proneness, which is what alarmed us. He was showing verbal aggressiveness…He incited violence at his rallies. And in the presidency, he denigrated whole populations that led to violent policies…One does not necessarily have to be physically violent as a president to cause violence. In fact, societal epidemics of violence usually start with rhetoric.”
As confusing and uncultivated as Trump’s verbal phrasing appears, it’s actually proven very adept in fervidly exciting his followers.
Trump uses deliberate, thought terminating cliche’s that short circuit the logic and emotion part of the brain. He takes complex issues and compresses them into brief, well chosen phrases, which are easily memorized, and then easily regurgitated. Whether it is by calculating design, or just part of his egocentric personality, it is so effective that Trump has become the start and finish of the ideology of his followers.
For example, when speaking about minorities, Trump repeatedly used the phrasing, “the blacks”, “the gays”, and “the Muslims”, which is a psychological ruse. By using the word “the”, it allows him, and his followers, to distance themselves while highlighting their differences. He is implying “they don’t belong here, with us,” encouraging his followers to embrace racism as a merited stance.
Trump often used the term “bad hombres“, which cleverly recreated the image of the dirty armed Mexican from the old wild west movies, coming over the border to steal children and hooked them on drugs. It was a very effective tool in raising millions for his border wall, which then, his friend Steve Bannon – allegedly – stole and used for his personal needs.
Trump used the phrase “fake news” as his weapon to slam publications that critiqued his administration negatively. Instead of understanding that while media is biased, and it does little to influence the way in which people vote, it was specifically and repeatedly used to fervor his followers to distrust anything that didn’t exalt his word. This was actually the very phrase screamed at reporters by rioters at the Capitol, right before they physically assaulted them.
A researched study on the The Trump effect, which is the connection between Trump and the upswing in violent hate crimes in America, has concluded, by comparing statistics, that there was a significant rise in reported hate crimes across the United States, during his presidency, even when they looked for alternative explanations. They also found that counties that voted for President Trump by the widest margins in the presidential election also experienced the largest increases in reported hate crimes.
A report filed by ABC News in March, 2020, found that 54 perpetrators of hate crimes had either hailed Trump in the midst or immediate aftermath of physically assaulting innocent victims, cheered or defended Trump while taunting or threatening others, and Trump and his rhetoric were cited in court to explain a defendant’s violent or threatening behavior.
One of the most faithful examples, showing a direct link from Trump rhetoric to a hate crime, is the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who murdered two Black Lives Matter (BLM) Protesters with an AR-15 assault rifle he bought with his stimulus check, approved by his MAGA supporting mother.
On August 25, 2020, At a Kenosha, Wisconsin BLM protest, despite having no official authority, this white 17 year old boy showed up with an rifle, ready to “defend businesses”, then shot and killed two protesters, and maimed another, as they attempted to warn police that he was dangerous.
Despite this gun packing child having no sanctioned authority to protect police, Trump told reporters: “We’re looking at all of it and that was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw and he was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like he fell and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we are looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble, he would’ve been, he probably would’ve been killed, but it’s under investigation.”
Immediately after Trump’s interpretive support for Rittenhouse, a Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson, Tim Murtaugh, scrambling to cover Trump’s bungle, released a statement, saying: “President Trump has repeatedly and consistently condemned all forms of violence and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness. This individual had nothing to do with our campaign and we fully support our fantastic law enforcement for their swift action in this case.”
It was after this that NBC News discovered internal documents that show that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forced Federal law enforcement officials to support Trump’s take on Rittenhouse, directing them to make sympathetic public comments about the boy.
It’s important to note that the DHS has been caught red-handed in the past, pushing Trump’s agenda before, by violating laws and policies, lying to Congress, and manipulating intelligence reports to conform with his political agenda, according to whistleblower Brian Murphy, who was a top DHS intelligence analyst.
He may not have worked on the campaign, but Rittenhouse and his mother were a zealous supporters of the president, leaving no doubt that Trump’s constant proselytizing against BLM had inspired his unfledged reactionary attack, as he had, earlier, uploaded a clip of his attendance at Trump’s Des Moines, Iowa, rally in January on his TikTok page.
There is also strong evidence that Trump’s speech, just prior to the January 6, 2020, deadly invasion at the Capitol, was deliberately designed to incite the crowd for violence. Previously, I laid out an argument that he not only perpetrated a crime of authoritative manipulation, I also found a probable paper trail that indicates he financially backed the raid, and how he did it. Blood is on his hands.
Trump and Sexual Allegations
To show the parallels of his leadership competence and his behavior, Lee states, “He had boasted about sexual assaults.”
He, allegedly, did more than boast. There are 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault, and there is one quote from him, from a secretly recorded tape, where he clearly states his assumptive and abusive approach to women.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” Trump said in the now-infamous Access Hollywood recording that he thought was private, “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
What is so extraordinary is that we now have a rare unique reflection into how he thinks in regards to his entitlement to a woman’s body.
Thirteen of these women have accused Trump of kissing them without consent, often out of the blue, sometimes holding them firmly in place. One other testifies that he went further with his assault.
These are the quotes from some of the women that are accusing him of sexual assault.
E. Jean Carroll, Columnist, “The next moment…he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his p*nis halfway – or completely, I’m not certain – inside me.”
Natasha Stoynoff, People magazine reporter, “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
Summer Zervos, Former Apprentice contestant, after she left the show, “[Trump] started kissing me open mouthed…he began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast.”
Jessica Leeds, Saleswoman on a New York bound flight, “He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere. It was an assault.”
The patterns of behavior, that Trump is accused of enacting, show a modus operandi; a signature of the way in which he repeatedly operates. He has shown that he takes what he thinks he deserves as a warped sense of entitlement.
Though only one of these women accuse him of actual rape, his first wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of marital rape in a 1990 deposition.
Harry Hurt III published “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” an unauthorized biography, years ago, and immediately afterwards he got a lot of backlash for his portrayal, especially about Trump being abusive toward women. When he heard the secretly recorded tape of Trump admitting his behavior, he dug deeper and obtained a copy of Ivana’s sworn divorce deposition from 1990.
Ivana stated that, the previous year, Trump raped her in a fit of rage. She claims he was furious that a scalp reduction operation had been unexpectedly painful, and when she suggested a plastic surgeon, he yanked out a chunk of her hair, then forced himself on her sexually. She claims she spent the night locked and crying in a bathroom.
She testified that Trump asked her, “with menacing calmness, “Does it hurt?”
Hurt asked two of Ivana’s friends if this happened, and both confirmed the story.
As to the psychology of why a man would sexually assault, Sigmund Freud once wrote, “Anatomy is destiny,” indicating that as men are often bigger and stronger than women, some feel compelled to impose their will by means of physical force. Psychologist also note the violent undertones of sex such as spanking, biting, and choking, along with testosterone which is linked to serotonin release, may play a significant roles.
But all men share this biology and societal undertones, and not all men assault. What is the actual difference between them? What is it about Trump that gives reason to the alleged assaults?
Sherry Hamby, a research professor of psychology at the University of the South in the US state of Tennessee, and founding editor of the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Violence, claimed in an interview regarding the psychology of a rapist, toxic masculinity is the main promoter of rape culture, associated with domination, homophobia, and aggression. All of these adjectives can be used to describe Trump.
The link between narcissism and rape seems to be especially strong when repeat offenders are concerned. One of the key characteristics shared by rapists and narcissists is a tendency to dehumanize others. As we have witnessed, Trump has a policy of dehumanizing the plights of others who are not white, not wealthy, and not politically aligned with him.
In regards to narcissism, Lee explains in her book, ““People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have a strong need, in every area of their life, to be treated as if they’re special…other people are simply mirrors, useful only insofar as they reflect back the special view of themselves they so desperately long to see.” Trump, meet your black kettle.
Trump Taunts Foreign Leaders
With regard to the inappropriate relationships he holds with world leaders, Lee stated, “…he taunted allied and enemy nations alike, including nuclear powers.”
One of the most startling displays of instability was his use of Twitter to call out, with sarcasm and derision, world leaders who require careful detente to decrease the arms build up and the threat of war.
He taunted the leader of North Korea in a chest pounding flurry on Twitter in January, 2018.
Trump tweeted, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
As Trump is usually loathe to call out Putin, in April, 2018, Trump tweeted a threat to Russia.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
Trump didn’t just use Twitter to taunt world leaders, he also taunted leaders of American cities.
In May, 2020, Trump attacked the Mayor of Minneapolis, MN, over BLM protests taking place in the city.
“I can’t stand back and watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..”
Twitter responded by placing a warning tag on his tweet.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Another Tweet in May, 2020, was slapped with another violation as it glorified violence, as he unbelievably threatened to shoot protesters, just over a month after Rittenhouse played war games in Wisconsin.
Trump tweeted, “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
After the attack on Congress in January, 2021, Twitter had taken control of his platform. No longer allowing Trump free reign, they permanently suspended his account, and deleted his Tweets, for his use of “Twitter to incite violence…”
It may take historians a long time to understand the full implications of the Twitter storm that Trump conjured during his reign, but it took just one violent day, underscored by a long outraged week, to appreciate that he was an out of control, dangerous individual.
Trump’s presidency seemed to evolve into a massive narcissistic wound. The more boastful and egregious his actions were, the criticism and anger against him grew. As his critics became louder and more emboldened, he evolved into this unhinged monstrosity of his own demise.
While his ego was fed by the frenzied mob he courted, it was the rejection from the majority of the voters and his loss of office that propagated the worst of who he became. When you set a boundary with a narcissist, they take that as an attack on their very being.
There are direct parallels between Trump’s charismatic narcissism and propagating a cult of his followers; love bombing supporters that turned into punishment, behavioral modifications techniques, like stroking their cultural elitism, and manipulative conditioning to maintain fear of and loyalty for his leadership.
To want to kill, simply on his authoritative command, is the action that will haunt them, when or if they spiritually awaken. It certainly has sent a chill down my back.
If anything, this has proven that we are all susceptible to abusive controlling dynamics, whether as participants, or as victims. All it takes is the right moment in time and a dedicated manipulator.