HAIL TO THE CHIEF

This morning as is my usual bent, I proceeded to the kitchen TV and my coffee in order not to miss the morning tweets and learn about the progress towards getting those Thai kids out of the cave. In spite of the worldwide interest in the kids, the major news (not exactly “breaking”) concerned the pending appointment to the Supreme Court. Our former President had been referred to as “no drama Obama” while our Mr. Trump’s moniker could well be “the show must go on, and on, and on ad infinitum”. It is not surprising that the sudden supreme court vacancy would be seen as an opportunity to milk the media for all the coverage, not taken up by some silly story about a bunch of kids who were in imminent danger of dying.
The mechanism to exploit the resignation of Kennedy was set in motion with even greater speed than Pruitt’s dismantling of those silly regulations regarding clean air, water, CO2 emissions and all that climate change stuff. It began with a barrage of tweets touting the wonderful opportunity to appoint a justice for whom the country would be proud. He acknowledged he had a list of potential candidates all of whom “were very smart” were imminently well qualified, and who would do a “great job.” In spite of some huffing and puffing among the democrats, it seems likely that Trump will have his way and confirmation will occur. Mr. Trump has turned out to be very adept at utilizing his marketing and showmanship skills to have his way. Who would have thought such tactics would take him all the way to the Presidency?
You may have noticed that Mr. Trump is very fond of superlatives and judges people as either the greatest or the worst the world has ever known and is certain to nominate “the greatest” candidate. Of course, in the all-around category that title would be reserved for himself.  Nevertheless, he announced he would give careful consideration as to his choice, and as planned, the speculation began. There has been a procession of experts speculating on which lucky person would be crowned. The world is now awaiting the roll of drums and the blaring of trumpets as the great, no the greatest one announces his choice.
When the curtain goes down, attention is soon diverted. Fortunately, he will finish the week with a trip designed to piss off our NATO allies and suck up to his buddy Putin providing worldwide attention as he remains bathed in the spotlight at center stage. This may require him to shove others out of the way in order to be front and center in the traditional photograph at the NATO meeting as he has done at other such get-togethers. Perhaps he could receive even more attention by once again expressing his admiration for some of the world’s dictators or by doubling down on his pronouncement that those reporting the news are enemies of the people. There is also the notoriety associated with his single-handed initiation of a trade war.
Even Trump supporters will acknowledge that humility is not one of his strong suits, and others, myself included, have labeled his ego needs so extreme as to be pathological. Is it an accident that these outrageous behaviors have appealed to so many people, or is it an example of Machiavellian genius? There seems to be no consensus on this point. If he believes a fraction of the untruths he tells he is indeed a sick man, if he knows they are all lies, how could he ever be trusted.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I have long been concerned as to the mental stability of our President. Those whose egos require such constant attention are usually found to be fragile, and subject to decompensation under stress. In the event some of the investigations underway result in serious charges, the stresses could be overwhelming, and responses unpredictable. I am heartened by the fact that some in my profession have seen fit to attack the so-called Goldwater Rule which forbids psychiatrists from attributing diagnostic categories to public figures. One such protestor has resigned from a position in the American Psychiatric Association in protest of that rule. It has been pointed out this not only impedes free speech but denies those who are the most knowledgeable the opportunity to warn the public of potential dangers.
It is true that knowledge of any kind of emotional problems could be used against a politician as was the case with Tom Eagleton who was forced to leave his candidacy for Vice President in 1972 when it was learned he had been treated with Electric Shock Therapy for depression. It is also true that some of our most successful presidents have had significant problems with mood disorders including Abraham Lincoln and both Roosevelts. But there was also the case of Richard Nixon, who reacted to the stresses of office by becoming paranoid which undoubtedly contributed to his demise. We now know that Reagan was suffering the early stages of an Alzheimer’s type dementia during at least his last year in office. I am sure Nancy was a very nice person, but was she equipped to be an acting president. Should that information have been as available as that of his physical health?
You have probably noted that I am worried about the mental stability of Mr. Trump. I can only hope that in the event my dire predictions come true, the Vice President and cabinet would have the fortitude to initiate procedures to remove him from office as outlined in the 25th amendment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.