More on the bad person Donald Trump, by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic. The title is “Donald Trump’s Cruel Streak.” Not a streak but the whole of him, I would say. It’s not as if he’s nice some of the time. The subtitle is “For decades, the candidate has willfully inflicted pain and humiliation.”
Not someone you want to elect as head of state. This bad man must not win the election.
Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust.
I think most people probably know that. We can see it in him. He performs it constantly.
Friedersdorf gives examples.
But even in a realm where the harshest critiques are part of the civic process, Trump crossed a line this week when he declared his intention to invite Gennifer Flowers to today’s presidential debate. What kind of man invites a husband’s former mistress to an event to taunt his wife? Trump managed to launch an attack that couldn’t be less relevant to his opponent’s qualifications or more personally cruel. His campaign and his running-mate later said that it was all a big joke. No matter. Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.
I’d call it his eagerness rather than his tendency. The guy loves humiliating others. Miss Universe, made to go through a workout while being filmed by male cameramen, on Trump’s orders? Yeah.
Trump sent a tweet.
Geddit? That’s the woman Trump owns on the right (for now – he’ll drop her too when she’s a little older).
This is vile behavior.
What kind of person attacks a rival by mocking the appearance of his wife? For the whole of his presidential campaign, Trump has gleefully launched gutter attacks like this. And while a cruel streak directed solely at rivals would hardly be excusable, Trump doesn’t even have that excuse. After Chris Christie endorsed him, Trump attended a fundraiser with the New Jersey governor, and said this to the crowd: “I’m not eating Oreos anymore, you know that—but neither is Chris. You’re not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos. For either of us, Chris. Don’t feel bad.”
That’s who Trump is: If he’s in front of a crowd with an ally who has a weight problem, he’ll find an excuse to bring it up, to humiliate the ally, for no apparent reason.
No apparent reason except for the fact that he likes it.
The people closest to Trump have painful experience with this same quality. In September 1990, Marie Brenner wrote at length in Vanity Fair about how the billionaire humiliated Ivana Trump.
Conservative writer Mona Charen reflected on the same era in National Review:
I first became aware of Donald Trump when he chose to make cheating on his first wife front-page news. 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.
What kind of person treats the mother of his children that way?
The one who wants to be next president of the US.
And then there’s his brother’s son and his child, Trump’s great-nephew. He developed cerebral palsy at birth, and Trump said he would take care of the medical bills. Trump’s brother was an alcoholic and failed to make the big bucks.
Then came the unveiling of Fred Sr.’s will, which Donald had helped draft. It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, “other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.” Freddy’s children sued, claiming that an earlier version of the will had entitled them to their father’s share of the estate, but that Donald and his siblings had used “undue influence” over their grandfather, who had dementia, to cut them out. A week later, Mr. Trump retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.
“I was angry because they sued,” he explained during last week’s interview.
A heart of dung.
There are lots more stories to tell about Trump’s cruel streak. In the present campaign, he mocked John McCain for being captured and tortured while fighting for the United States in Vietnam and attacked the Gold Star Family that spoke at the Democratic National Convention after losing a son in Iraq. Many people know that years before Trump was a politician he feuded with a talk show host. “Well, Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting both inside and out,” he declared. “You look at her, she’s a slob. She talks like a truck driver… If I were running The View I’d look right in that fat ugly face of hers and say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’” What few people know is that later, when O’Donnell got engaged, Trump went on Twitter to write this:
What kind of person rekindles a feud with insults on hearing that someone got engaged?
The Donald Trump kind.
Can you imagine four years of watching him carry on that way as head of state?
People disagree about the ideal traits to have in a leader. But almost no one wants a president who has proven himself an addict to being cruel, mean-spirited, and spiteful. For decades, Trump has been deliberately cruel to others, often in the most public ways. He behaves this way flagrantly, showing no sign of shame or reflection.
What kind of person still acts that way at 70? A bad person.
It is that simple.
Giving a cruel man power and expecting that he won’t use it to inflict cruelty is madness. To vote for Trump, knowing all of this, is to knowingly empower cruelty.