I was wrong about Donald Trump, but I don’t blame myself.
See, I believed, like most people who don’t know him well, that there are two Donald Trumps; the public one–“The Donald”–who appears in front of cameras, and the private one, let’s call him “Donnie,” who is the one people see in private. That’s the narrative so many people who’ve endorsed and supported Trump have offered.
But it’s a false narrative. There’s only one Trump, and he is deeply, profoundly damaged goods. I thought Trump could actually control his temperament and do what he claimed–become anything he wants. I thought he actually was playing a role for the TV cameras, like in “The Apprentice.”
Despite the fact that I have always believed he’d be a terrible president, I believed he was–not to mince words–sane.
But he’s not. I’m not talking in the clinical sense, and I cannot speak as a psychiatrist, because I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m talking in the “let’s have cup of coffee at Waffle House and wow Trump is insane, isn’t he?” sense.
Trump lacks the self-control to become “so presidential you people will be so bored.” He is incapable of doing it. As in “cannot.” No amount of coaching, prompting, begging, teleprompters, speech writers, or threats can make him do it, because he cannot.
There is in fact one Donald Trump, and the one we see on TV in “The Apprentice” is the same one on the debate stage insulting Jeb Bush, or calling Marco Rubio “Liddle Marco” (spelled L-I-D-D-L-E), or latching onto wacky conspiracy theories about Ted Cruz’s father. It’s the same Trump we saw in the debates with Hillary Clinton, and the same one we saw at the Alfred E. Smith charity dinner, behaving like he was 70-years-old going on four.
If I knew a person like that very well, I would more than encourage them not to run for president. I’d take active steps to prevent it.
But Trump’s kids, who know him better than practically anyone, probably better than Melania, let him run. I blame them for it. They knew he lacked the tools to win. Maybe they tried to discourage him, privately. Maybe, out of love–and a bit of fear–they couldn’t stop him that way so they pretended to go along.
Maybe they thought this would be a fun romp through politics and a brand-building exercise. At the start, that’s what everyone thought. Then Trump started winning primaries. Maybe they convinced themselves he had a shot. Maybe, out of love, they decided to give this president thing their best effort, as to not embarrass dad.
But in the back of their minds, they knew he was going to head into a terrible embarrassment. They knew it was going to be a horror show. And they let him do it.
The only tools Trump’s kids had were their own public media statements. While Ben Carson pulled so many punches he probably developed oral bursitis, Trump’s kids remained all-in. While Chris Christie’s eyes betrayed his realization that he’s standing behind Mr. Insane, Trump’s kids never wavered.
Anyone whose kids let them walk into a life-altering humiliation, loss of respect, loss of actual value (Trump properties are taking a beating), and let them live what should be their golden years as a laughingstock deserves my pity–and the kids deserve the blame.
Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr.have done a great disservice to America–the America I believe their dad really loves. And they’ve done a great disservice to their father. They knew the truth all along, and never put an end to the charade.
I was wrong about Trump, and I blame them.