Why Trump Is Growing Increasingly Paranoid

Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman describe a president in a perilous emotional state. Here are a few significant excerpts:

The testimony of Mr. Comey and that of Adm. Michael S. Rogers, his National Security Agency counterpart, will most likely enervate and distract Mr. Trump’s administration for weeks, if not longer…

But it’s the obsessiveness and ferocity of Mr. Trump’s pushback against the Russian allegations, often untethered from fact or tact, that is making an uncertain situation worse.

Mr. Trump’s allies have begun to wonder if his need for self-expression, often on social media, will exceed his instinct for self-preservation, with disastrous results both for the president and for a party whose fate is now tightly tied to his…

The problem, from the perspective of Mr. Trump’s beleaguered political fire brigade, is that the president insists on dealing with crises by creating new ones…

People close to the president say Mr. Trump’s Twitter torrent had less to do with fact, strategy or tactic than a sense of persecution bordering on faith…

The president, people close to him have said over the last several weeks, has become increasingly frustrated at his inability to control the narrative of his action-packed presidency, after being able to dominate the political discourse or divert criticism by launching one of his signature Twitter attacks…

…Mr. Trump’s Twitter persona seems to have shifted from puckish to paranoid.

Listening to all of that with the ear of a former therapist rather than a political blogger, I see a man who is deeply disturbed emotionally and whose lifelong coping mechanisms are not working in this situation.

While the authors of the piece focus a lot on social media — particularly the president’s use of Twitter — that is only of secondary importance as the vehicle he uses to vent his frustration and attempt to reassert control. It’s not working.

As the president becomes increasingly paranoid, his pattern of spewing lies, distraction and blame will only escalate. Those close to him may be able to keep him off Twitter for periods of time. But a president spends too much time in the national spotlight to keep his rants completely under wraps. It was at an earlier point when things were escalating that his handlers decided to let him hold a press conference to reassert himself. While that seemed to calm him for a while, viewers witnessed his dissembling up close and personal.

Anyone who has been an observer of Trump can tell you that — apart from this emotional turmoil — he doesn’t have the skills, patience, intelligence or attention span to be an effective president. Regardless of the outcome of the FBI investigation, he will constantly be challenged by his own inadequacies, which he cannot tolerate. That is what leads to the outbursts, on Twitter or elsewhere. Welcome to the Trump era.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.