Narcissism Plus

George Conway points out that Trump is now busy failing to deal with not one but two crises.

Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one. He has responded to the police-brutality protests only by making matters worse. Faced with circumstances warranting calls for calm and restraint, he answered with almost sadistic invitations for more violence, fulminating about “THUGS” and extrajudicially “shooting” looters, issuing threats about “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons,” and celebrating “Domination” and “Overwhelming force.”

I’m not sure what that “almost” is doing in front of “sadistic,” unless it’s just the usual “must be careful in major mainstream newspaper” type of qualm. Maybe an editor inserted it. Trump’s sadism is of course all too obvious and complete.

Tweeting about “LAW AND ORDER!” and “Anarchists,” and ignoring the distinction between peaceful, aggrieved citizens and the relatively few lawbreakers among them, Trump castigated governors in a phone call as “weak,” effectively upbraiding them for not spraying more fuel on the fire. And then, after he was wounded by mockery about having been hustled to a White House bunker as protests mounted, his administration used chemicals and projectile munitions to disperse peaceful demonstrators so that this morally deficient, scripturally ignorant payer-off-of-porn-stars could awkwardly pose with a borrowed Bible as a stalwart defender of public order and Christian values in front of a Lafayette Square church.

And almost nothing pulling in the other direction – just a couple of perfunctory mentions that someone must have persuaded him to make.

And with the virus? A complete failure.

And all without appreciation by the president of the human toll exacted not only by the virus itself, but also from his own inattentiveness to it. On Memorial Day weekend, as the death count approached 100,000, he indulged himself with two days of golf. When asked during a March virus briefing a simple question that any humane politician could have knocked out of the park — “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now and are scared?” — he responded not to the American people, but with an angry attack on the journalist: “I’d say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I’d say.”

It’s his off the charts narcissism, but there’s more to it.

However difficult they can be, even extreme narcissists can have consciences. They don’t necessarily cast aside behavioral standards or laws, or lie ceaselessly with reckless abandon. Trump’s behavior is conscienceless, showing utter disregard for the safety of others, consistent irresponsibility, callousness, cynicism and disrespect of other human beings. Contempt for truth and honesty, and for norms, rules and laws. A complete inability to feel remorse, or guilt.

That’s why I can’t shut up about him, I think. The spectacle of all that, in a president, all laid out in public – I can’t not keep recording it. The depth of his shallowness, to put it paradoxically but I think truly, just can’t be not noticed.

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