Donald Trump is becoming increasingly unstable as investigations envelop his administration and Democrats make electoral gains.
Where does one even start in trying to compile and then analyse a 2018 collection of US President Donald Trump’s most outrageous, harmful and fraudulent falsehoods?
I mean, this is a guy who telegraphs his every predominant thought, fear, and concern to the world every morning through a series of near-incoherent and juvenile tweets, and who is known to disseminate and propagate more than 80 lies in a single day, more than 30 falsehoods in a single speech, and nearly 7,000 mistruths since taking office.
If there are gainfully employed fact checkers who can thank Trump for their ongoing employment, then there are also those within the same industry who can blame him for their mental and physical exhaustion.
“I don’t care about Trump’s lies. All politicians lie” becomes the all too predictable refrain from the president’s most stubbornly ardent and vociferous supporters, but the fact of the matter is Trump’s lies, and self-glorified boasts not only have negative consequences for the United States and the rest of the world, but also for himself, and thus providing an alarming psychoanalytical peek inside his rapidly deteriorating mind.
On that score, historians might very well mark 2018 as the year in which the 45th president of the United States truly lost his mind and laid the foundations for his inevitable political defeat or forced removal from office.
Whereas Trump was able to skate along during the first year of his presidency–buoyed along by his party's unilateral control of all branches of the US government, a slavishly loyal right-wing-media-industrial-complex, which paved the way for his tax cuts, a slew of executive orders and a successful Supreme Court nomination—this past year has seen the proverbial walls come crashing down all around him.
Not only has the Mueller probe closed in on Trump and his family, with convictions being handed down to his long-time lawyer, former campaign manager, former National Security Advisor, former policy advisor and former campaign aide; but also Trump’s sagging poll numbers—the lowest of any US president in the second year of his presidency—handed Congress over to the Democrats during the midterm elections in November.
The closer Mueller gets to Trump and his family’s dealings, and the further he falls in the polls, the more crazed his early morning tweetstorms become.
For instance, Trump described the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" 110 times in 2018, even as so many of his closest aides and staffers have already pleaded guilty or have been sentenced to prison; and even as the Southern District of New York court filings show evidence Trump is indicted in at least two criminal investigations.
While no one outside Trump’s inner orbit truly understands the machinations of the president’s mind, however, the 2018 publication of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward’s treatise on the Trump presidency Fear: Trump in the White House describes a “nervous breakdown of Trump’s presidency.”
The hundreds of personal testimonies gathered by Woodward, and the way in which Trump has communicated the events surrounding him, and, moreover, those that have threatened to engulf him during this past 12 months point to a deeply troubled mental state, and for that, the world should be worried.
Last year, more than two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists offered their consensus view that Trump's mental state presents a clear and present danger to both the United States and the rest of the world, pointing to how his tweets and remarks demonstrate “deep paranoia,” “pathological narcissism,” and “unbridled hedonism.”
These psychiatric conditions not only lead to impulsive and reckless decisions, but also to immediate danger for those who might be negatively affected by his policies, particularly those pushed forward by his indifference to consequence and his fellow man.
At the apex of Trump’s insanity and callous indifference is the way in which he has defended his administration’s policy of separating more than 1,600 migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
“These are animals,” he said in May when videos and photos emerged of the cage-like detention centres where children, separated from their families, were housed.
At 2018 campaign stops and rallies, Trump also used other dehumanising terms to describe asylum seekers as “invaders” and “criminals,” while describing US cities as “overrun” with immigrants. His demonising rhetoric is likely a big part of why hate crimes are spiking across the US, and why far-right extremist groups account for more than two-thirds of all domestic terrorist attacks.
Trump’s ignorance and observable insanity, however, is not only having dire and harmful effects on people, but also the economy and democratic institutions.
Consider, for instance, how the stock market has fallen more than 20 percent since the president described himself as the “Tariff man” in a tweet that threatened China, with global investors seeking traditional asset safe havens in fear the US president doesn’t understand how the global economy functions.
It’s important to note here also that while Trump continues to boast about his ‘economic achievements’, the deficit has ballooned to its highest level in a decade, and economists are now warning of an imminent recession.
Consider also how Trump’s incessant and discombobulated attacks on the free press, independent judiciary, and legitimate political opponents is causing Americans to lose faith in democracy, with a recent poll showing 37 percent are willing to abandon the country’s democratic experiment, while another showed roughly half of Trump’s political party–the GOP–support authoritarian rule.
As for 2019, where we go from here is anyone’s guess, but it’s a safe bet that Trump’s tweets and remarks will become ever more deranged and disconnected from reality as indictments against him and his associates multiply, and as Senate and House Republicans come to realise there’s no political punishment to be had in publicly attacking the sins and criminal transgressions of the current US president.
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