There seems to be no limit to the incendiary statements ex-US President Donald Tump is capable of. Earlier this week he made an egregious attack on General Mark Milley, recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accusing him of treason and saying he should be executed.
Trump is a vindictive man, and this display was no doubt occasioned by Milley’s failure to kowtow sufficiently during the Donald’s presidency. Choosing loyalty to the constitution over loyalty to Trump earned him no favours.
Should we be interested in this man’s lamentable behaviour, and it is hard not to be when he has an even chance of once again becoming president of the world’s most important nation, we don’t have to play psychiatrist.
We have an expert to do the job for us. Mary Trump, Donald’s niece, is a clinical psychiatrist, able to not only provide a professional opinion, but the opinion of an insider.
Not that Mary is a neutral observer. Her father, Fred Jr., was Donald’s older brother but not father Fred Sr.’s favourite. Donald was. Unlike Fred Jr., Donald, a chip off the old block, had the real estate developer ruthlessness that Fred Sr. admired. Mary felt unfairly treated under her grandfathers’s will (justifiably) and later sued her uncles and aunt.
Nonetheless, she has the education and the intimate familiarity to thoroughly analyze her uncle, and she does so at length in her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
In her book, she describes a thoroughly dysfunctional family, riddled with neglect and abuse, explaining how this badly damaged man was created. She includes the “strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.”
Fred Sr. was a disciplinarian with little use for displays of kindness or empathy, a man to whom the expression of tender feelings was a sign of weakness, a man in whose world you either dominated or submitted. He natured and nurtured Donald into a sociopath and a narcissist, a man unencumbered by common decency or a moral compass.
Nonetheless, while he starved Donald of emotion, he lavished him with wealth, spending hundreds of millions of dollars financing his son’s career.
The result was a man who niece Mary describes as an “insecure little boy who seeks attention”—in effect, a spoiled but needy little brat who has never grown up.
It is not surprising, therefore, that he promises to wield the power of the state against his enemies or calls, as he did this month, for House Republicans to shut down the government.
What is surprising, and frightening, is that tens of millions of Americans intend to not only vote for a man-child for president but for a man-child with serious psychological issues.