The repercussions of the Donald Trump presidency and the psychic damage it inflicted on the world are still far beyond our current understanding. Subtext, subtlety, and sincerity have been banished from politics by the unrepentant mendacity and brazen narcissism of Trump, and if his recent comments are anything to judge by, that won’t be changing anytime soon.
Last night, Trump emerged from whatever godforsaken Florida swamp he’s hiding out in for a rare public appearance at his favorite safe space — the studio of FOX’s Sean Hannity. In the ensuing interview, Trump had the stunning nerve to appropriate the language of trauma and complained that being president was “traumatic” for him!
To add insult to injury, Trump went on to paint himself as a victim who had his life turned upside down by events beyond his control and who did not make the personal choice to run for president, then concoct an elaborate conspiracy theory and undermine American democracy as we know it in order to stay in power: “I had a great life, great company, great business, no problems. And now all I do is, people go after you. It’s vicious, it’s horrible,” said the man who spent his entire presidency verbally insulting and inciting violence against anyone who dared to criticize him.
Trump continued his breathtaking revisionism by claiming that what he missed the most about being president was “helping people,” which he says is why he ran in the first place. “That’s why I did it…I loved doing it because I helped people. And I’ve helped them more than any president,” said Trump.
Thanks to Donald Trump, over half a million Americans are dead from the novel coronavirus, whose spread he enabled with his deliberate mismanagement of the crisis in order to protect his own political fortunes. Thousands of Puerto Ricans died in the aftermath of his deliberately mismanaged response to the destruction of Hurricane Maria and thousands of Iraqi, Syrian, Yemeni and Afghan civilians are dead thanks to his reckless bombing campaigns. Unless Trump is talking about the billionaires whose taxes he slashes, it’s hard to think of any Americans who were actually “helped” by Donald Trump and his sadistic administration.
The trauma of the Trump presidency lives deep within every one of us, and likely will continue to do so for the immediate future. It is absolutely insane for him to try to argue that he was the victim in all of this and that the meager consequences he faces now are undeserved, but that’s just what a gaslighting narcissist does.