Tim O’Brien, who wrote TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, provided us with a revealing story in his recent column.
Trump once told me, while driving together to one of his golf courses, that his favorite Bond villain was Auric Goldfinger, the chunky thug who wanted to wreck the global economy and help China and his own fortunes by tainting the U.S.’s gold supply at Fort Knox. “I thought Goldfinger was just a great character,” Trump said. “To me, he was the best of all the characters. Semi-believable.”
Perhaps the reason Trump found Auric Goldfinger to be “semi-believable” is that the two have so much in common. They share an obsession with gold, insatiable greed, and deep ties to Russia, not to mention that both of them play a lot of golf and are known cheaters.
O’Brien told that story to describe Trump’s latest tariff fiasco as an attempt to play a Bond villain.
So over the course of a week, Trump got into character and played chicken with global trade, the economy, the southern border of the U.S., the lives of migrants and the financial security of tens of millions of people — before having to cave once the costs and peril of all of this became apparent. Trump’s enablers in Congress helped put an end to the madness because something more important (to them) than the rule of law, civility, ethics, equality, global stability, mature policymaking, and the environment was at stake: money.
O’Brien has a point to make about all of that.
Trying to govern by threat and blunt force isn’t really governing at all, and if enough bluffs get called, the players on the other side of the table tend to stiffen their spines. That’s not a good scenario for anyone involved, because a predictably unpredictable person lacking self-confidence, restraint and principled, courageous advisers may eventually try burning things down just to prove his point.
As one of Trump’s biographers, O’Brien describes the president as “a predictably unpredictable person lacking self-confidence, restraint and principled, courageous advisers.” But he’s not the only one. Some of the mental health experts involved in writing The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump studied the Mueller report and found this:
Beyond previous reports of actions and statements, the Mueller report shows the more compelling patterns of impulsivity, recklessness, a lack of firm grip on reality, manipulation of advisors, absorption in self-interest that overrides national interest, inability to consider consequences before taking action, paranoid reactions, an attraction to violence, and an absence of empathy, as well as apparent cognitive and memory difficulties. Without diagnosing, these make the President clearly a danger in his role as Commander in Chief and one on whom the world relies for steady and wise actions in international affairs…the Mueller report further confirms the reasons why we believed that the president’s condition was severe and would only grow worse over time in his current position.
Seldom do mental health professionals have the quantity of detailed information the Mueller report provides of an individual’s behavior, verified with the caliber of a criminal investigation of the highest order. Now, we can state with a high level of confidence, based on data that vastly exceed what we ordinarily have in clinical practice, that the evidence of the president’s mental incapacity is overwhelming.
Both Trump biographers and mental health experts are warning us that this president is dangerously unfit for office and will only get worse. Obviously Senate Republicans are willing to ignore those warnings. Will Trump have to literally burn something down in order to get their attention?