Summing Up Trump

We now consolidate our discussions of Trump’s mental disability – which we hold to be Psychopathic Personality Disorder – and his mastery of Propaganda Principles: Big Lie, Repetition, Focusing, Blame and Dehumanization, Crisis Generation, Provocation, Empty Emotional Symbols, Pandering, and No Moral Limits.

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States 1901-1908; The Kansas City Star, 18 May 1918

The purpose of this page is to present a composite picture of Trump by bringing together material presented on the other pages.

The Past and Future Trump
The Psychiatrists and Therapists of America Speak Out
Trump’s Two Clusters of Characteristics: Propagandist & Psychopath
What To Expect from Trump
Insults, Defamation and Dehumanization
Crisis Generation
The Need for Power

Expect more of the same. Do not expect that he will either slowly or suddenly begin to act like a rational human being, that he will show concern for anyone not named Trump, that he will show empathy for the disadvantaged, the powerless, the tortured, the terrified. He has no use for Emma Lazarus’ poem by on the Statue of Liberty, which ends:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Such people are all losers, unworthy of his concern.

This is what will continue: The bragging, the fabrications, the insults, the demeaning and dehumanizing of others, the lust for power, the need for respect and admiration of others even when he must imagine the admiration himself. The impulsiveness, the thoughtlessness, the irresponsibility, the drive to destroy those who do not immediately worship him or jump to his command – this will continue.

The disregard for the law, any law, be it local ordinance or Constitution of the United States – that too will continue, if not worsen. Expect him to redefine the law on torture as did President George W. Bush. Expect him to change laws whenever possible; expect him to use tactics of threat, terror, personal or professional humiliation, arrest, incarceration, and punishment by any means necessary or possible. Expect his violation of social mores to continue; by his own admission he cares nothing for rules of conduct or for rights and feelings of others, why would he change now? What you’ve seen is what you will continue to see. Expect the worse. Then you won’t be surprised by his verbal and behavioral and legal and political outrages. Expect them to continue. Expect them to escalate.

America has, for all practical purposes, elected a madman.

Do not expect him to come to his senses; his senses are those of a madman. He believes he is reasonable, perfectly sane, eminently superior to all others, permanently right on every matter and smarter than anyone else could ever hope to be.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. … Every man who parrots the cry of “stand by the President” without adding the proviso “so far as he serves the Republic” takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude.”
Theodore Roosevelt, Works, Vol. 21, Page 316, 321

In addition to his intelligence, Trump has two clusters of characteristics which govern everything he says and does:

Intelligence – “Street Smarts.” Intellectual curiosity appears utterly absent, so he knows little of anything that does not center on him, including science, philosophy, literature, the arts. If it doesn’t involve money or personal power, he’s not interested and does not care.
Propaganda Skills – He either studied the principles of propaganda (see below) – or more politely, Public Relations – or it comes naturally to him because of the following characteristic. Whichever it is, he put it to very good use in his earlier career of con man and promoter. He has been very successful in bilking others of their money and trust while avoiding lawsuit settlement and jail.
Psychopathy: More serious than Sociopathy, Narcissism or Antisocial Personality Disorder. Criteria include: superficial, grandiose, deceitful, lacks remorse, lacks empathy, doesn’t accept responsibility for own actions, is impulsive, lacks goals, is irresponsible, has poor behavior controls, displayed adolescent antisocial behavior, displays adult antisocial behavior. Although Trump has not yet been diagnosed by a psychiatrist, his behavior exemplifies all of the twelve criteria of psychopathy. When a policeman pulls over an erratic driver, it is not because he knows the driver is drunk, but because he is behaving like a drunk driver. The official legal diagnosis comes later, with a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. Trump’s behavior exhibits psychopathy. He must be examined and diagnosed. No one with a serious personality disorder should be allowed to hold high public office.
For a PDF compact print-out of the PCL-SV psychopathy criteria, go to the downloads page.
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PoliticusUSA 6-16-17

In 1964 when Barry Goldwater was a presidential candidate, Fact magazine published an article entitled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.” The article featured a poll in which psychiatrists were asked if Goldwater was psychologically fit to serve as president. Fate’s cover said it all: “1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit To Be President.” Goldwater sued Fact publisher Ralph Ginzburg for libel in 1964, and in 1969 a federal jury awarded Goldwater $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages, to punish Ginzburg and the magazine for being reckless.

The American Psychiatric Association issued the “Goldwater Rule” in 1973, finding that a psychiatrist may “…share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” The profession still adheres to this rule.

In 2016, Trump’s excessive, chronic and bizarre behavior alarmed many psychiatrists and drove them to publicly comment, while keeping the Goldwater Rule in mind when composing their responses.

Three psychiatrists, including a Harvard Medical School professor of psychiatry, became sufficiently alarmed to send the following letter to President Obama on November 29, 2016:

We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the mental stability of our President-Elect. Professional standards do not permit us to venture a diagnosis for a public figure whom we have not evaluated personally. Nevertheless, his widely reported symptoms of mental instability — including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality — lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office. We strongly recommend that, in preparation for assuming these responsibilities, he receive a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by an impartial team of investigators.

The symptoms cited above are all characteristics of narcissism, discussed elsewhere on this site; the criteria for narcissism are repeated below. All psychopaths exhibit profound narcissistic behavior.

A petition (or manifesto) published by William Doherty, professor at the University of Minnesota and a widely-known and well-respected therapist in St. Paul, was signed by over 3,800 therapists. Among its many concerns are:

Trumpism is an ideology, not an individual….characterized by:  Scapegoating and banishing groups of people who are seen as threats, including immigrants and religious minorities; Degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics; Fostering a cult of the Strong Man.

What are the Effects of Trumpism?Fear and alienation among scapegoated groups, beginning with Latino immigrants and Muslims, and then other groups who become identified as threats; exaggerated masculinity as a cultural ideal, with particular influence on young people and economically insecure men; coarsening of public life by personal attacks on those who disagree; Erosion of the American democratic tradition which has emphasized the agency of we-the-people instead of the Strong Man tradition of power.

It ends with the following:

Trumpism is qualitatively different. To repeat: Trumpism undermines the core of American democracy by promoting the idea of a single leader who will bring greatness to the nation by battling Those People. Democracy requires personal and collective agency so that we can work together across differences to solve problems and develop a shared way of life. Psychotherapists must be firmly on the side of democracy and work in solidarity with groups directly threatened by current and future versions of Trumpism. This work does not end with the election. The wake-up call has been received. Our first response is this manifesto. More to follow.

Therefore, as citizen therapists we stand united against the dangerous ideology of Trumpism, and we encourage others to join us in a deepened commitment to a democratic way of life that engages the talents, yearnings, and capacities of all the people.

The psychiatrists continue to speak out.

A petition initiated by psychologist John Gartner in January 2017, calls for the chief executive to be removed from office on the grounds he is mentally ill and unfit to perform the duties of president. As of June 30, 2017, it had over 55,000 supporters.  It reads, in its entirety:

We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

On February 14, 2017, Scientific American reported that 33 U.S. psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers signed a letter to the editor of The New York Times warning about Trump’s mental health. Its signatories state—despite the Goldwater Rule forbidding psychiatrists from offering professional opinions about public figures they have not personally evaluated—they “believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”
For a PDF compact print-out of the PCL-SV psychopathy criteria, go to the downloads page.
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Refer to these propaganda principles and criteria of psychopathy while you read the behavior predictions which follow.

Mastery of the Principles of Propaganda [Link to article & slideshow]
Big Lie
– Always choose the big lie over the small; the masses will believe it more readily.
Focus – Use only one or at most two selling points.
Repeat – Use them over and over until even your enemies know them by heart.
Blame – Never waver, acknowledge no doubt; always blame, never credit the other side. Debase, defame, dehumanize.
Provoke – First attract attention, then appeal to emotions.
Crisis – Shades of gray don’t work: Issues must be life/death, good/evil, freedom/slavery, love/hate.
Emotional Symbols – Good slogans have no literal meaning, only a strong emotional appeal.
Pander – Ignore intellectuals and reasonable arguments; target unthinking masses with powerful emotional pitches.
No Limits – Ignore all moral limits whenever stakes are high. Your willingness to do anything proves to the masses that your cause is right.

The Twelve Criterion of Psychopathy [Link to article]
– Smooth talking, verbally agile, a psychopath is rarely stuck for something to say. They are not in the least bit shy. In fact, they are not afraid to say anything!
GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH – They have an opinion on everything, they boast and brag about the things they have done, their skills and abilities. They have enormous egos, plenty of confidence and arrogance and consider themselves superior. One psychopath said that he preferred to hear himself talk, because what he said was more interesting than what other people had to say.
PATHOLOGICAL LYING, CONNING AND  MANIPULATIVENESS – Their ability to lie is stunning, even when they know there is a high probability of being caught. Lies can be cunning and sly or unscrupulously manipulative. They deceive, cheat, con, bilk, trick or defraud others for personal gain. They often show callous ruthlessness, a lack of concern or pity for the suffering and feelings of their victims. [Politifact article on Trump’s history of lying]
LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT – Despite their words they experience little emotion or concern for the pain and suffering of their victims. They are unfazed, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. There is often a disdain for the victims, and they may even say the victims deserved it.
SHALLOW AFFECT, CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY – Emotional poverty or very shallow feelings, coldness towards others despite seeming very friendly. A general lack of feelings towards other people. They tend to be heartless, contemptuous, indifferent and tactless.
FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS – It seems like its never their fault or their responsibility. They have little or no sense of duty or conscientiousness and often deny their responsibility. And in denying, they will even try and manipulate others!
IMPULSIVE, SEEKS STIMULATION, PRONE TO BOREDOM – Many of their behaviors are not premeditated and seem to be unplanned. They seem unable to resist temptation and urges or to delay gratification. They may not consider the consequences and so they appear reckless, foolhardy and unpredictable. They like to be doing new and different things, always looking for excitement and entertainment. They take risks in what they do as well as what they say. For example, cult leaders, in a subtle way, may explain to their victims how exactly they are manipulating them. They rarely engage in activities that they find boring, or they don’t finish the job.
PARASITIC LIFESTYLE, LACK OF REALISTIC LONG-TERM GOALS – They will intentionally manipulate and exploit others for financial gain. This goes along with poor motivation and little self-discipline and no sense of responsibility in terms of earning their own living. While they talk about big plans, they show an inability or persistent failure to execute long-term goals; then may drift from one place to another lacking any real direction in life.
IRRESPONSIBILITY – They will repeatedly fail to honor commitments or obligations, in school, work, family or social situations. The fail to turn up, dont pay bills, fail to honor contracts etc.
POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS – There may be sudden expressions of annoyance, irritability, aggression and verbal abuse. There may be sudden outbursts of anger and temper and they may act hastily.
ADOLESCENT ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR – There is often a history of antisocial behavior before age 13, including lying, stealing, cheating, vandalism, bullying, truancy, sexual activity, fire-setting, substance abuse, and running away from home. Cruelty to animals or siblings is particularly ominous. Behavioral difficulties between the ages of 13-18. Typically behaviors that are crimes or are clearly manipulative, aggressive and callous.
ADULT ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR– Unlike other criminals who may specialize in one area they are often involved in diverse activities, taking great pride at getting away with crimes. If incarcerated, they may have had their probation revoked for technical reasons such as failing to appear, carelessness and so on.
For a PDF compact print-out of the PCL-SV psychopathy criteria, go to the downloads page.
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Lying is a key element in both propaganda and psychopathy; the narcissistic elements of fantasizing, entitlement and exploitation enhance this essential Trump behavior. According to on 2/25/17, Donald Trump is a terrific liar, far worse than Hillary Clinton whom he called “Lying Crooked Hillary” throughout the final months of the 2016 campaign.

Politifact Truth-O-Meter
Clinton Percent Trump Percent
True 72 25% 15 4%
Mostly True 76 26% 45 12%
Half True 69 24% 52 14%
Mostly False 40 14% 73 20%
False 29 10% 123 33%
Pants-on-Fire 7 2% 63 17%
Totals 293 100% 371 100%

Clinton’s statements are 51% true or mostly true; 26% mostly false, false or pants-on-fire.

Trump’s statements are 16% true or mostly true; 70% mostly false, false or pants-on-fire. His pants-on-fire statements alone (17% of total) total more than his true and mostly true statements (16% of total). This is clearly so far beyond normal behavior that one is amazed that Trump isn’t sitting in jail right now for fraud or libel, and that he was permitted to take the oath of office. USA Today reported on 6/1/16, “Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades.” [Other sources report 4,500 or 5,500. See also this Newsweek comparison to prior presidents, written by John Dean.] This is an extraordinary number when one considers that most people live their entire lives without a single lawsuit as either plaintiff or defendant. How many of these lawsuits can be traced directly to his huge tendency to not only lie – often with no apparent reason other than he either enjoys lying or cannot control himself – but to tell huge (pants-on-fire) lies? In case you have any uncertainty, the Politifact classification of “pants-on-fire” lie is equivalent to the propagandist’s Big Lie.

Lying in the Future
Expect Trump to lie, be stunned when he doesn’t. His lies outnumber his truth by 338%. Lying is intrinsic to psychopathic behavior, and the Big Lie is the single most important principle of propaganda.
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Again, this behavior is found in both clusters. All of the narcissistic elements of psychopathy can produce this behavior: he is greater than everyone, they are subhumans and losers who get no empathy, he is unique, he is entitled to whatever he demands and if he can exploit others to get what he wants then that only proves they are losers. The psychopath cares nothing for social mores, his impulsiveness makes him do and say things without considering the effects (not that he cares), he lies and deceives freely, and has no remorse whatsoever for the damage he leaves in his wake. This constellation of behaviors dovetails perfectly with the propaganda principle of Blame: never waver, acknowledge no doubt; always blame, never credit the other side. Debase, defame, dehumanize. We saw this endlessly in his behavior towards not just his Republican competition (Lying Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio, Ugly Carly Fiorina), and his Democratic opposition and critics (Lying Crooked Murdering Hillary, Crazy Elizabeth Warren) but also his general hate targets: thieving, murdering raping Mexicans; fanatical America-hating Muslim immigrants; un-American liberals. Much of his audience said he was just being honest and saying what he really thinks. It was, in fact, his psychopathy and narcissism talking. People who find this behavior amusing and honest rather than repulsive and alarming should consider the possibility that they have similar mental disabilities. For those with serious mental disorders, one of the greatest challenges is recognizing the fact that you have a mental disorder. This is because the mind which must recognize the disease is the very same mind which is diseased.

Insults, Defamation and Dehumanization in the Future
As with lying, expect this behavior to continue unabated. It is intrinsic to both clusters of characteristics. Incarceration or hospitalization may be the only way to control the behavior.
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The propaganda principle Crisis demands the following:

Shades of gray don’t work: Issues must be life/death, good/evil, freedom/slavery, love/hate.

Events and plans must be described in the direst of terms: We’re being flooded by Mexican rapists. Islamic jihadist are on the verge of destroying all of America. Obamacare must be destroyed immediately. Climate change is a plot by the Communist Chinese to destroy our economy.

Crisis Generation in the Future
This of course will continue. But Trump has trouble distinguishing between the trivial and the non-trivial. Within an hour of tweeting the lie that Obama had order wiretaps on him, he’s tweeting in the same overwrought manner about Arnold Schwarzenegger being fired from the television show The Apprentice for low ratings. His daughter Ivanka loses a clothing contract and he reacts as if it’s the end of western civilization. Either he doesn’t know when to turn it off, or he cannot control himself. Which brings us to…
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No normal person rises at 3 AM, watches Breitbart Lies and immediately sends unconsidered, untrue, insulting, and potentially inciting twitter messages to over a million people. It’s probably fair to state that no normal person would send a such message in such circumstances to a single solitary soul, and especially not to strangers. Yet Trump does this daily. This is so far from normal, sane, wise, careful, rational, or even laughable that it’s a measure of the decline of our political system that such a person was not only elected, but has remained president for over a month without being rushed to the hospital for a thorough psychiatric examination. When Trump was elected, American democracy was caught with its pants down, and it’s not a pretty sight.

Impulsivity in the Future
As with the preceding, this will not decline, unless Trump becomes controlled by outside persons willing to take away his phone and control all messages from him via all media. It will most likely worsen, as Trump’s conviction that he is all-powerful, all-wise and all-loved deepens.
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Trump is already immensely powerful – how many other people are there with the launch codes to thousands of nuclear missiles, and the ability to order the rounding up and deportation of millions of people with the stroke of a pen. But more-than-enough power is never enough. Throughout Trump’s life he has always wanted more: more women, more sex, more money, more respect and admiration, more fear, bigger lies, bigger swindles and cons, more power to cheat his workers, abuse employees, destroy rivals. More than enough was never enough.

The Need for Power in the Future
Disobedience will be punished. Questioning will be punished. Doubt will be punished. This has already started. Torture will be redefined and reinstated, not because it will extract useful information, but because “they deserve it,” as Trump has already said.  The president cannot be questioned. Trump cannot be questioned. All presidential actions are by definition legal. Those who question and doubt are automatically “enemies not of Trump but of the American People.” Trump has become the State, the American People. He is the All-in-All, and all will bow to him or pay the price.
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The constellation of characteristics which create Trump’s inability to take responsibility for anything is probably his most dangerous feature. When he assumed the mantle as lead ‘birther’ in 2011, most people took it as a bizarre aberration without significance. When he claimed he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, in order to keep out the rapists and murders, people shook their heads and wondered. He then called his opponents liars, little, ugly, stupid and losers; his opponents didn’t want to engage in schoolyard taunts and “I’m not but you are” exchanges, and the only positive spin anyone could put on it was, “Well…he says what he thinks.” He then moved on to calling Clinton a crook, liar, disgusting, sexually incompetent, founder of ISIS, bribe-taker, and finally murderer. None of these statements had any basis in fact and none were ever retracted.

After five and a half years of pushing the ‘birther’ scam, he finally backed off on 9/16/16 with this combination Big Lie and what may be the pinnacle of nonapologies:

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”

Trump “finished” the birther controversy by ending his own five and a half years of lying about it. And that is the very very best you’ll ever get out of Trump. That is the closest he’ll ever get to taking responsibility for any of his lies and consistently amoral and unethical behavior.

Trump’s campaign had issued a statement the previous day which included this combination lie and smear:

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook.”

Politifact’s Truth-o-Meter researched Trump’s claims about Clinton and concluded:

“But the record does not show Clinton or her campaign ever promoting the birther theory, let alone starting it. We rate Trump’s claim False.”

Trump cannot even end a string of his lies without starting a new one to replace them.

We find his irresponsibility stemming from a “constellation of characteristics” because it includes the following:

  • Failure to accept responsibility for his own actions – It’s never his fault or his responsibility. He has no sense of duty or conscientiousness and will deny or ignore his responsibility. And in denying, he’ll even try and manipulate others.
  • Asociality as indicated by failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior.
  • Deceitfulness as indicated by repeated lying or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  • Lack of remorse or guilt – Despite his words he shows little emotion or concern for the pain and suffering of others. He is unfazed and coldhearted. He disdains his victims, and says they deserved it.
  • Grandiose self-worth – He has an opinion on everything, he boasts and brags about accomplishments, skills and abilities. He has an enormous ego, plenty of confidence and arrogance and consider himself to everyone.
  • Lack of empathy – He displays emotional poverty, very shallow feelings and coldness towards others despite seeming friendly and likeable. He is heartless, contemptuous, indifferent and tactless.
  • Impulsive Arrogant and haughty – Much of his behavior seems unpremeditated and unplanned. He seems unable to resist temptation and urges or to delay gratification. He seems not to consider the consequences and appears reckless, foolhardy and unpredictable. He takes risks in what he does as well as what he says.
  • Propagandist: Big Lie – Always choose the Big Lie over the small; the masses will believe it more readily
  • Propagandist: Blame – Acknowledge no doubt, always blame the other side, defame and debase
  • Propagandist: No Limits – There never is a wrong time to lie, and no lie is too outrageous or unsubstantiated

For a PDF compact print-out of the PCL-SV psychopathy criteria, go to the downloads page.

Irresponsibility in the Future
Trump’s irresponsibility can only grow worse and carry greater and greater consequences. When Trump began his birther scam in 2011, few – except for racists who wanted to believe any lie about our Black president – cared what Trump thought about anything. He was merely an odd-looking man with weird hair and a big mouth. When he claimed in September 2016 that it was Clinton who started the ‘birther’ scam, several organizations, including Politifact, had to go to the effort of researching and debunking his lie.

When now-President Trump tweets that Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump and/or his campaign team in Trump Tower – an unsubstantiated story he picked up from the ‘Father of Lies” a.k.a. Breitbart News – we wind up with costly Senate and Congressional committee investigations, NSA, CIA and FBI investigations and testimony, endless spinning in the press, continued supporting lies from Trump’s White House staff, and then additional lies – the British involvement – because Trump is too dishonest and irresponsible to ‘man up’ and admit to what was either a barefaced lie or – at best – a serious error in judgement. He is already beginning to shift blame to irresponsible liars on Fox News and Breitbart News (as if they employed anyone else). Trump (prodded, no doubt, by Stephen Bannon) has promulgated the lie/coverup that there is a ‘Deep State’ of Obama sympathizers implanted throughout the government who are trying to torpedo him and suppressing evidence. He will never admit he is wrong. He cannot recognize that thousands of government employees and millions of Americans can spontaneously – without any sort of plot or collusion – loathe and distrust him and wish that he would resign. He will almost certain continue to maintain that all of America’s intelligence services are lying about Obama and lying about the Russian email hacking.  The closest he will ever get to retracting his irresponsible and malicious statements will be to say, “It was their fault,” just as he did when claiming that Clinton started the ‘birther’ scam, with no acknowledgement of his perpetuating the lie for five and a half years.

No one is forcing Trump to perpetuate the lies of others, make up his own lies, then make up additional lies when his earlier lies begin to unravel, and send out his lies to millions of people without a smidgen of forethought. He does it all on his own. This is irresponsibility with a capital “I.”

A president’s words have consequences. When a president is as compulsive and consistent and irresponsible a liar as is Trump, the amount of damage he can cause is not only extremely expensive, but extremely dangerous. When he can never back down from a lie or any other socially or legally unacceptable behavior, when he adds lie upon lie to weasel away from responsibility, when he can sic the FBI on anyone he wants, insult and lie to foreign leaders, start foreign wars and domestic pogroms, and push nuclear buttons whenever he wants, we are in deep trouble.

Really serious trouble.

In a speech given to the Young Lawyers Section of the Washington State Bar Association on September 10, 1976, Justice William O. Douglas said:

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness.”

Twilight may already be behind us.
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