All it requires is a change of perspective to transform your mindset from the absolute loathing of Donald Trump — and attitude that any sane, conscious person likely feels — to experiencing something akin to the mixed emotions of pity and disgust for the president.
Not that in his frequent expressions of victimhood does Trump fail to exhibit more than enough unearned self-pity to compensate for the lack of compassion with which many people now regard him.
However, when one realizes that the psychological disorder of malignant narcissism that the president suffers from so severely and so visibly compels so much of his behavior, one must at least experience a twinge of sorrow for Trump and wonder what early childhood intervention and modern psychological assistance might have been able to do to have instead allowed him to grow up into a fully functioning and well-adjusted individual instead of the conceited monster wrongly convinced of his own superiority that we see today.
Trump’s malignant narcissism was on full display in his Twitter feed today as he decided to let the world know that — despite the obviously evident failures in his approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in over 80,000 American deaths — the high approval ratings of state governors, who have been at least marginally successful in mitigating the even worse spread of the virus by largely ignoring Trump’s demands to reopen their state’s businesses prematurely, has been entirely because of his own doings.
Remember this, every Governor who has sky high approval on their handling of the Coronavirus, and I am happy for them all, could in no way have gotten those numbers, or had that success, without me and the Federal Governments help. From Ventilators to Testing, we made it happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
While one may wonder why the president apparently thinks there are more than one “Federal Governments” — as his use of the plural rather than the possessive indicates — the bigger wonder is how Trump can make such a claim with a straight face.
The answer goes back to his malignant narcissism.
While theoretically, one can imagine Trump sitting on his golden toilet chuckling to himself as he tweets out his boastful chest-pounding and imagines putting over yet another con on the American people, sadly it’s much more likely that he actually believes that he’s doing a GREAT job and that all that’s right with the world springs from his unlimited fountain of intelligence and managerial acumen.
While the governors with high approval ratings — largely stemming from their ability to completely ignore the president’s entreaties to ignore the recommendations of scientific experts and to reopen their economies without meeting the CDC guidelines suppressed by Trump — may read Trump’s tweet with sardonic disdain, they will likely stay the course and maintain their commitment to using science rather than re-election polls and extreme pressure from business interests to determine their course forward in reopening their states.
Even when these governors studiously ignore Trump’s constantly changing directives, the president will nonetheless likely claim credit for any successes they may have in saving lives and avoiding the worst economic fallout from the prolonged closures of many businesses.
It’s just what a malignant narcissist does.
Any pity one may feel for Donald Trump, however, is best directed towards American society as a whole, which has had to bear the brunt of his avalanche of failures and is much more deserving of compassion than the president who will pity his own situation more than enough for everyone.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.