By: Al Franken
The president is crazy*. We see that every day. But he is the president. He won the election – technically. So, we just have to live with it – having a president who is clinically insane*.
There is a diagnosis – narcissistic personality disorder*. It’s a real thing. And he has it. “I alone can fix it,” he told us at the Republican National Convention. Nothing he has said or done since would lead you to any other conclusion. He is a sociopath*, our president.
It was never okay. Having a nutcase* in the White House. But somehow he had survived three-plus years without facing a huge crisis – if you don’t count his impeachment as a huge crisis, which it sort of wasn’t. It didn’t really matter that he started his presidency by crazily insisting that his inaugural crowd was bigger than Obama’s. (What do suppose that was about?)
Not even one American would die because less than 24 hours into his presidency Americans were introduced to something called “alternative facts.” So, as constantly weird and offensive as it has been
for Americans to have a bonkers* president, he skated through. Until Covid-19.
The president’s mental illness* allows him to be both intellectual sloth and supremely confident jerk, ever convinced that he (and he alone) can do everyone else’s job better than they. Generals, climate scientists, public health experts. And he’s always right. Because he’s a psychopath*. And this Donald Trump brand of psychopath* is never wrong. Even when being wrong will cause the additional deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Let’s start with his very first public assessment of the most-deadly worldwide pandemic in a century. Asked at Davos by a CNBC reporter, “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
Jan. 22 – “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control.”
Jan. 24 – “It will all work out well.”
Jan. 30 – “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at the moment – five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”
Feb. 10 – “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
Feb. 19 – “I think the numbers are getting progressively better as we go.”
Feb. 20 – “…within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.”
Feb. 22– “We have it very much under control in this country.”
Feb. 25 – “…the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus… They tried the impeachment hoax … and this is their new hoax.” (to Sean Hannity)
Feb. 26 – “We’re going down, not up.”
Feb. 27 – “It’s going to disappear. One day like a miracle – it will disappear.”
Feb. 29 – “Everything is really under control.” (The vaccine will be available) “very rapidly.”
March 2 – “It’s very mild.”
March 4 – “…we’re talking about very small numbers in the United States.”
March 6 – (visiting the CDC) “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.’ Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” Maybe.
March 6: (same availability) “Anybody who wants a test can get a test. That’s the bottom line.”
March 7: “I’m not concerned at all. No, we’ve done a great job with it.”
March 10 – “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 16 – (asked to rate his own performance) “I’d rate it a ten.”
March 17 – “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
One striking aspect of Trump’s mental illness* is that he expends no energy trying to disguise it. Most successful sociopaths* put a lot of effort into hiding their illness. Not Donald Trump. It’s all right there for all of us to see, all the time.
Some very smart people have suggested that the coronavirus briefings should come from the CDC or the Department of Health and Human services – with public health experts, doctors, and other public officials giving scientifically accurate information to the press and the American people. Well, that just shows you how stupid very smart people can be.
Trump has to do the briefings. Because he won’t be able to hold a rally for months. He’s an egomaniac*. A charlatan who needs an audience to get his juices going.
And so, we have this spectacle now – three, four, five times a week. What will Trump do today? Take credit for some positive development? Of course. Blow up at a “nasty” reporter? Good chance. Give out a piece of dangerously irresponsible information? You bet.
What will Dr. Tony Fauci do when this idiot* suggests that it would be a beautiful thing for Americans to pack the pews on Easter Sunday? Oh, he just did that? Even though that would be just cuckoo*?
But what will Dr. Fauci do the next time? Or the next? Flinch? Roll his eyes? Tactfully correct the president? I beg you, Mr. President. Keep Dr. Fauci! Yes, it’s just a matter of time before you put him in an untenable position and his measured, diplomatic response will set you off because you are a lunatic*. And you will want to fire him because you will be in an uncontrollable rage. That’s going to happen, because it always happens, and because you are completely unhinged*.
But please, sir, don’t. Not because he is an indispensable asset during this once-in-a-century worldwide pandemic. No. Keep Tony Fauci because he will guarantee you an enormous audience. Millions more will flock to their screens for the drama. It’s Salieri versus Mozart. The bitter, twisted hack against the true genius dedicated to his God-given gift. And remember which one died early and was dumped into a pauper’s grave!
It would be fun to watch, if it weren’t so sad.
Don’t go to church, everyone. Stay home, everyone.
*I am not a psychiatrist. Nor have I personally examined the President.