It’s the Character

 

TrumpI first became aware of Donald Trump when he chose to make cheating on his first wife front-page news. It was the early ’90s. Donald and Ivana Trump broke up over the course of months. Not that divorce is shocking, mind you. Among the glitterati marriage seems more unusual. Nor is infidelity exactly novel. But it requires a particular breed of lowlife to advertise the sexual superiority of one’s mistress over the mother of one’s children. That was Trump’s style. He leaked stories to the New York tabloids about Ivana’s breast implants — they didn’t feel right. Marla Maples, by contrast, suited him better. She, proving her suitability for the man she was eager to steal from his family, told the papers that her encounters with the mogul were “the best sex I’ve ever had.” It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s betrayal that caught my eye, nor just the tawdriness – it was the cruelty.

That’s the part of the Trump rise that is quite shocking. Most politicians, for as long as I can remember, have been at considerable pains to present themselves as nicer, nobler, and more empathetic than they really are. Since many of them (not all) are selfish egotists, this requires some skill. Now comes Trump unblushingly parading his viciousness – by, for example, mocking a handicapped man, toying with white supremacism, or encouraging political violence — and still gaining the loyalty of a plurality of Republicans.

One can imagine why voters might tolerate a little nastiness in certain situations. It’s possible that the threat of ISIS-style war crimes makes a would-be leader who vows to commit war crimes of his own seem palatable, or even “strong.” It’s not a total surprise that a regime of stifling political correctness would evoke a reaction.

But voters are venturing way out on a plank with Trump – and I’m not speaking here of the fact that he is overwhelmingly likely to lose to Hillary Clinton if he’s the Republican nominee. No, I’m referring to the copious evidence that if he won, he could cause catastrophic damage to the country.

Donald Trump is not emotionally healthy. No normal man sits up late at night tweeting dozens of insults about Megyn Kelly, or skips a key debate because he’s nursing a grudge against her for asking perfectly ordinary questions, or continues to obsess about her weeks and months after the fact.

A normal, well-adjusted man does not go to great lengths to prove to a random journalist that he has normal sized fingers. Some may think it was Rubio who introduced the “small hands” business, but it actually dates back to an encounter Trump had 25 years ago with journalist Graydon Carter. Carter had referred to Trump as a “stubby fingered vulgarian” in Spy magazine. Trump could not let it go. Carter told Vanity Fair in 2015:

To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him — generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers . . . The most recent offering arrived earlier this year, before his decision to go after the Republican presidential nomination. Like the other packages, this one included a circled hand and the words, also written in gold Sharpie: “See, not so short!”

Notice he didn’t contest the “vulgarian” part of the insult. And remember that at a presidential debate, for God’s sake, Trump brought it up himself and assured the world that “there is no problem, believe me.” I don’t believe him, and I’m not talking about his genitals.

There is an enormous problem. Trump seems to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, an insecurity so consuming and crippling that he has devoted his life to self-aggrandizement. This is far beyond the puffery that most salesmen indulge to some degree. It strays well into the bizarre. Asked whom he consults on foreign policy Trump said “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” What grown man says things like that and continues to be taken seriously? How can he be leading the race for the Republican nomination?

People with severe ego weakness are to be pitied – but also feared. Everything Trump says and does is a form of self-medication for a damaged soul. His need to disparage others, to glorify himself, and to be the “strong man” could lead to disastrous judgments by the man in charge of the nuclear codes.

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  1. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    Mona Charen: Trump seems to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, an insecurity so consuming and crippling that he has devoted his life to self-aggrandizement. This is far beyond the puffery that most salesmen indulge to some degree. It strays well into the bizarre.

    Reminds me of someone else.

    • #1
  2. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Okay Mona. I think I am getting a clearer picture. You want us to believe you do not like this Trump person, right?

    Seems like a lot of obsession with someone you dislike, but I would not stoop to cheap armchair psychoanalysis.

    How long have you had these feelings?

    • #2
  3. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    Many of the characteristics you mentioned also mean that he is someone who is susceptible to flattery, as was seen in the recent episode with Putin, and that’s definitely one of the scariest things about him.

    • #3
  4. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Your opinions squared, Mona.

    • #4
  5. SEnkey Inactive
    SEnkey
    @SEnkey

    Well laid out, not that most people are open to persuasion anymore. Unfortunately many on the right seem more interested in punishing someone, anyone, than actually trying to advance their principles. I do not think they are unprincipled, only that when all is said and done the group most hurt will be themselves – win or lose.

    • #5
  6. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    In a sane and decent society this would be so obvious it wouldn’t even need to be explained. Which probably points to the futility of trying to explain it now.

    • #6
  7. Ned Vaughn Inactive
    Ned Vaughn
    @NedVaughn

    I agree, Mona. An insecure 70 year-old is problematic… an insecure 70 year-old billionaire that much more so. However, I will agree in advance with one criticism you are bound to receive: I don’t generally give much weight to psychoanalysis of public figures (especially politicians) even when I happen to think it’s dead on.

    Having said that, there is so much to dislike about Donald Trump that precedes any psychoanalysis – his terrible policy suggestions, his routine dishonesty, his shocking lack of knowledge about relevant issues, and his near non-stop displays of low character – that no psychoanalysis, no matter how accurate, is necessary to make him someone to reject with vigor.

    • #7
  8. BD Member
    BD
    @

    Mona Charen is an Open-Borders Republican. A lot of Republicans are desperate to have anyone listen to them when they ask for the immigration laws to be enforced. The GOP had many years to deal with the issue. Even now they are trying to ignore it.

    • #8
  9. SoDakBoy Inactive
    SoDakBoy
    @SoDakBoy

    John Wilson:In a sane and decent society this would be so obvious it wouldn’t even need to be explained. Which probably points to the futility of trying to explain it now.

    Exactly.  Maybe a column extolling the virtues of Ted Cruz would be more effective.

    • #9
  10. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    Pour [redacted] Mona. All those years pushing for amnesty, and she still hasn’t figured out it’s the main reason for Trumps rise.

    • #10
  11. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Mona, you just don’t understand. Folks feel like they have been misused by some politicians and they need some revenge. And they have been misused, though not to the degree and not quite in the way they seem to think. Be that as it may, they need to punish someone so why not take it out on the whole country? That’ll show em but good. And when you try to point out obvious character flaws in the instrument of their revenge, they, in an obvious show of maturity, accuse you of questioning their intellect. Now they intend to throw this tantrum whether you like it or not and consequences be [coc]. So can’t you just cool it, stop trying to use logic with these folks and let the party, and maybe the republic, be destroyed? After all, what’s more important? Their fit or our future? Really now!!

    • #11
  12. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    V the K:

    Pour [redacted] Mona.

    [redacted one-line insult]

    Edit from the author: More of a joke that takes the spelling error literally than a one-line insult really.

    • #12
  13. Redneck Desi Inactive
    Redneck Desi
    @RedneckDesi

    To the Trump supporters….when someone criticizes Trump’s character, why do you attack that person? Why don’t you explain your support for someone who has some clear issues? I would understand if you say he is a New Yorker or he is doing it for show, but to label someone as a RINO or amnesty advocate is a non-sequiter argument.

    • #13
  14. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    V the K:Pour [redacted] Mona. All those years pushing for amnesty, and she still hasn’t figured out it’s the main reason for Trumps rise.

    From the looks of this, it seems that illiteracy is the main culprit. Although, what that has to do with support for legal status of illegal immigrants I don’t know.

    Im shore ul xplane that to us, tho!

    Edit from the author: THIS^ however, while also a joke, is definitely an insult.

    • #14
  15. BD Member
    BD
    @

    John Wilson: Good job not engaging in personal attacks.

    • #15
  16. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    I am emphatically not a Trump supporter.
    But it frustrates me to no end to see the GOP stubbornly dig in and refuse to engage on any form of self-examination whatsoever.

    Trump is but a mote in the eye of the GOP.

    • #16
  17. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    BD:John Wilson: Good job not engaging in personal attacks.

    Says the [you who, are] supporting Donald Trump.

    Edit from the author: This is one of those victories of censorship where the redacted/edited version of the comment actually makes it look more mean spirited and insulting than the original comment looked.

    • #17
  18. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Trump supporters cannot claim that he is not vulgar and not a man of low character, because those are essentially objective facts.  However, they can claim that these facts don’t matter.  After all, Reagan divorced his first wife.  LBJ was an SOB who exposed himself.  And Clinton?  Well, we are all well-acquainted with his crimes and misdemeanors.  For the record, I do believe these things matter, to varying degrees.  But it’s a defensible position to say they do not.

    Trump reminds me of Charlie the Tuna in the old Star-Kist commercials.  Charlie was always striving to convince the world that he had “good taste”, just as Trump does.  He talks about his “classy” buildings and his “fancy” college.  But the more you talk about those things, the more low-class you reveal yourself to be.  What man pushing 70 years old boasts about the “marks” he got at his Ivy League school?  One with pathological insecurity, that’s who.

    On the one hand, Trump makes huge efforts to convince us how high-falutin he is.  On the other hand, he behaves like a vulgarian.  It’s quite bizarre – akin to someone constantly bragging about his strength and then publicly demonstrating an inability to lift 50 pounds.

    • #18
  19. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    I’m pretty clear on what to think of Trump, but what his Orangeness implies about our social condition is my stumbling block. He’d be preferable to Hillary, but he won’t be elected so that’s not a concern. (Yo Trumpettes – the media holiday ends the day after we nominate him.) The breadth of his support, however, is a cold water wakeup call – it seems the “right” is as coarse and degenerate as the left. Charles Murray warned us too late.

    The Frankfurt cabal and the sleazy sixties children have really done a job on our country, that we entertain the notion of electing this vile oaf.

    What to do after I vote for Trump this November? Get drunk and purge? Cut off my hand, since it will surely offend me? Spend the day at the rifle range? Go visit DocJay and work on the chipper?

    • #19
  20. BD Member
    BD
    @

    John Wilson: I’m not a Donald Trump supporter. If you oppose open-borders, you’re often automatically labeled a Trump supporter. Often in a nasty manner.

    Are you related to Rick Wilson?

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    I did not know that Trump was still sending Graydon Carter the occasional missive, but that supports the assertions of Selina Scott, the British journalist who did a TV program on Trump in 1990, claims she rejected his ‘creepy’ advances, exposed some of his lies on the air, and said that he ‘stalked’ her for twenty years until she threatened legal action to get him to stop.

    Trump went ballistic. Over many years he sent me a series of intimidating letters branding me ‘sleazy, unattractive, obnoxious and boring.’ He said I was ‘totally uptight’, and that I had begged him for a date. In his dreams!

    This vicious tirade was often accompanied by fanzine newspaper cuttings which purported to show how much money he was making. 

    He scrawled across the top: ‘Selina you are a major loser.’ Another letter declared: ‘Dear Selina, I hear your career is going terribly. 

    In the meantime I have had the best year of my entire career. Fitting justice? Yours truly, Donald Trump.’

    This broadside was in stark contrast to the creepy chat-up line he deployed aboard the Trump jet   .  .  .  

    This harassment only stopped when I threatened to take legal action against him for effectively stalking me.

    The original interview, and all the tapes that were not used on the air, have recently been purchased by NBC.  Coming soon to a mainstream media outlet near you.

    On balance, I suppose it’s better to have a President Trump who spends most of his time cutting up tabloid newspapers and magazines, writing abusive notes, and sending them along with pictures, to women who’ve rejected his advances, and men he’s sure have insulted his manhood, and Twittering to anyone and everyone who’s gotten under his skin, than it is to have said massively insecure and grandiose President Trump actually engaged in serious matters of State.

    • #21
  22. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    Strange how the “not Donald Trump supporters” leap to his defense when someone points out his manifest vileness and unsuitability for the office he seeks.

    • #22
  23. Sleepywhiner Inactive
    Sleepywhiner
    @Sleepywhiner

    I will make the trump supporter’s argument:

    Trump is the only guy who has talked about immigration, and he’s the only one who is unsullied by some previous attempt to give us amnesty.  He’s the only one willing to murder the wives and children of those Islamists who will come via the open borders.  He’s the only one who knows how to get a good deal from those wily Chinese and Mexicans who keep screwing us.

    And if you don’t agree with me, you are an amnesty-loving, America-hating,  Suzuki-driving RINO Squish.

    • #23
  24. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    She:I did not know that Trump was still sending Graydon Carter the occasional missive, but that supports the assertions of Selina Scott, the British journalist who did a TV program on Trump in 1990, claims she rejected his ‘creepy’ advances, exposed some of his lies on the air, and said that he ‘stalked’ her for twenty years until she threatened legal action to get him to stop.

    The original interview, and all the tapes that were not used on the air, have recently been purchased by NBC. Coming soon to a mainstream media outlet near you.

    On balance, I suppose it’s better to have a President Trump who spends most of his time cutting up tabloid newspapers and magazines, writing abusive notes, and sending them along with pictures, to women who’ve rejected his advances, and men he’s sure have insulted his manhood, and Twittering to anyone and everyone who’s gotten under his skin, than it is to have said massively insecure and grandiose President Trump actually engaged in serious matters of State.

    Selina Scott’s story is really something.  And here’s the thing:  Is there anyone capable of reading it and thinking that Trump didn’t do such a thing?  (For all I know, he has acknowledged it and bragged about it.)

    Regarding NBC’s purchase of the documentary footage:  As I’ve said before on Ricochet, we will see it immediately, if he becomes the nominee.

    • #24
  25. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Does a normal, well-adjusted man pose before a Che icon and allow himself to be physically manipulated by Raul Castro? The bar is very low here.

    • #25
  26. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Totally agree Mona.

    Obviously you’ll be ridiculed by the Trump crowd (see above, various places) for having the audacity to believe that character is important; ironically so, when the substance of most pro-Trump complaint about politicians is that they are not who they claim…  so these people go ahead and back a man claims to be something awful, under the premise that maybe he, too, isn’t what he claims.

    Yes, character still counts.

    • #26
  27. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Basil Fawlty:Does a normal, well-adjusted man pose before a Che icon and allow himself to be physically manipulated by Raul Castro? The bar is very low here.

    Very true!

    I propose we attempt to end the era of Obama, not one-up him.

    • #27
  28. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Are you getting paid to re-publish the same points every couple of days?  I don’t mean here at Ricochet, but in general.  Your Trump stuff is unreadable, and your point has more than been made.  It’s not as though you are always offensive, and I should think you have something else to write about.

    Try it.

    • #28
  29. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Mona thinks the Republican Party is the party of Ronald Reagan and that Trump is betraying it.

    She thinks the main problem with the Model T is that there’s no place  for the buggy whip, and she really knows a good buggy whip when she sees one.

    Maybe the Republic is dead. Something else is slouching towards Cleveland to be born.

    One-person, one-vote logically leads towards mob rule. Socialism. Tribalism. The masses are always “crazier” than the elites. The elites like the status quo, so they pull policy towards the center. It’s the masses that want real change.

    YouTube killed TV and Twitter ate the news. Donald’s tweeting from his jet and Bernie’s kickstarter went viral. Software is eating politics and the elites have lost control.

    Now we see “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The neatly labeled bundles of “Democrat” and “Republican” are going to get re-assembled by the voters, one vote at a time instead of one dollar at a time.

    Sanders’ voters think the rich stole their money. Trump’s voters think the illegals stole their jobs.

    There is no more establishment. Like all things Internet, social media and crowd financing are unstoppable. Every large future election will have outsiders out-organizing, out-raising, and out-raging the establishment.

    America is going from a republic of elites to a direct democracy. Look to your left, and look to your right. Wake up — the people are here.

    • #29
  30. Solon Inactive
    Solon
    @Solon

    Trump’s schtick is all about winners and losers, but a true leader is a master of creating ‘win-win’ situations.

    • #30
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