Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Loneliest Monster

The Media Village Idiots at Politico are trying on a new narrative: Trump is just a uniquely “self-contained” individual, who doesn’t respond to normal primate responses like ‘friendship’ and ’empathy’. He’s not really a monster, he’s just isolated, poor thing!

As someone who also has trouble connecting with humans, I will attest that this is the biggest load of shit since Ringling Brothers disbanded its animal acts. Trump, like any other circus performer, is an entertainer. He’s spent his entire life crafting a “Donald Trump” character, a media-friendly mock-up of everyone’s nightmare Big Boss Business Guy… the guy behind the curtain is just a meatsack that craves familiarity and doesn’t want to be touched.

The tragedy, for the rest of us, is that just as the aging monster’s physical and mental decline became inevitable, a confluence of Republican venality, American stupidity, and Russian cupidity propelled the Donald Trump Show into the White House. Great news for the parasites, not so much for the rest of us:

He’s increasingly isolated in the White House, but for Donald Trump, being alone is not a liability. It’s where he’s most comfortable…

His critics might see his growing isolation as a product of his political inexperience—an aversion to the norms of the legislative process, a penchant for topsy-turvy management. But as unprecedented as this might be in the annals of the West Wing, it’s merely a continuation of a lifelong pattern of behavior for Trump. Take away the Pennsylvania Avenue address, the never-ending list of domestic and international crises, and the couldn’t-be-higher geopolitical stakes—and this looks very much like … Trump throughout his entire existence. Isolated is how he’s always operated…

“One of the loneliest people I’ve ever met,” biographer Tim O’Brien said in an interview. “He lacks the emotional and sort of psychological architecture a person needs to build deep relationships with other people.”

It’s been this way always, because he’s always been foundationally, virulently untrusting. “There’s a wall Donald has that he never lets people penetrate,” a former associate told me. Trump has a dark, dour view of humanity. He considers the world “ruthless,” “brutal” and “cruel.” Through this zero-sum, dog-eat-dog lens, friends aren’t friends—there’s no such thing. “They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you,” he wrote in his 2007 book, Think Big. “… they want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife …” Why he’s like this is the subject of vigorous discussion among psychology experts. The deep-seated influence of his formidable father? The wound of the alcohol-fueled death of his more mild-mannered older brother? Simple genetics? Trump is not self-reflective—“I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” he told a biographer several years back—but he can be self-aware. And on this front, he’s been quite clear, and remarkably consistent.

“My business is so all-encompassing I don’t really get the pleasure of being with friends that much, frankly,” he said to one interviewer in 1980.

“Most of my friendships are business-related because those are the only people I meet,” he said to another 36 years later. “I think I have a lot of friends, and some of the friends I haven’t spoken to in many years. … I mean, I think I have a lot of friends, but they’re not friends like perhaps other people have friends, where they’re together all the time …”

Exceptions exist, of course, and Roger Stone is one of them. The inimitable, provocative political operative has known Trump, and has been friends with Trump, since 1979, when Stone was working on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign and Roy Cohn introduced him to Trump. “It’s fun to be his friend,” Stone told me. Few people have known Trump longer than Stone, or know him better.

But Trump, well before he was elected to inhabit the Oval Office, was “psychologically lonely and isolated, emotionally lonely and isolated,” I suggested to Stone. He’s a person who certainly can be socially gregarious and charming—many people say that, because many people have experienced it—but he ultimately prefers to be on his own, I offered. Now that he’s president, it seems these “self-isolating” tendencies have been exacerbated. I wondered if Stone agreed.

“I think,” Stone said, “that’s generally true, yes.”

There’s been so much focus, understandably and unavoidably, on the various parts of Trump’s personality that have helped define his presidency to this point. They are frequently cited as obstacles to his and his administration’s success. His driving belligerence. His fleeting attention span. His sweet tooth for chaos. But in the end, his well-established unwillingness, or inability, to make and maintain relationships that matter might be the most politically debilitating. Or it might not be. This elemental character trait seen by many as such a liability hasn’t stopped him yet. He is, after all, the most powerful person in the world…

Business-like! There are only two classes in the Trump monster’s world: the people he’s currently using, and the parasites who are using him. What could possibly go wrong?

He thinks the world is “horrible.” He thinks people are “vicious.” He thinks they are ceaselessly envious and want what he has. “Trust your instincts,” Trump has said. “Trust yourself.” But nobody else. “There are so many stories about people who have been decimated by people they trusted,” he has said. There’s nobody he admires. He has no heroes. “Donald,” gossip columnist Cindy Adams once said, “is somebody who’s in love mostly with himself.”…

[In 1990, Trump] wrote about the tycoon turned neurotic hermit in Surviving at the Top. “The Howard Hughes story is fascinating to me,” Trump told readers, “because it shows that it’s possible to fall very far very fast. As time goes on I find myself thinking more and more about Howard Hughes and even, to some degree, identifying with him.” He cited Hughes’ aversion to germs, and the downsides of fame, like when he’s approached in restaurants and people end up “spraying their good wishes all over my food.”

“Every time that happens,” Trump wrote, “Howard Hughes and his reclusive lifestyle look a little less crazy to me.”…

Wayne Barrett addressed Trump’s interest in Hughes in his biography. Barrett had been reporting on Trump since the late ‘70s. His book came out in 1992.

“Over the years,” Barrett wrote, “he had openly toyed with a final surreal twist to the plot that had become his life—he told friends that he might end up a Howard Hughes-like recluse, squirreled away, allowing his fingernails to grow longer than his stubby fingers. That poignant script may have appealed to the loner quality in him that had always kept him apart. The Hughes scenario only worked, though, if he could figure out a way back to the top.”…

(And so the Republican Party, in its death spasms, decided they’d take the rest of the country down with them. Speaking of monsters.)

67 replies
  1. 1
    different-church-lady says:

    His critics might see his growing isolation as a product of his political inexperience—

    No, I see it as a product of his sociopathy.

  2. 2
    Wag says:

    Trump as a new Howard Hughes? Ok by me so long as Leonardo di caprio refuses to play him in a movie.

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    He is an asshole. End of story.

  4. 4
    Dmbeaster says:

    What is the disease that these “journalists” have that compels them to invent and peddle these vapid narratives? Some variation on trying to pretend to be the smartest in the room?

  5. 5
    opiejeanne says:

    Say goodbye to spiders in your house?

  6. 6
    lgerard says:

    I guess ‘transactional” is the new thing to be.

    Personally, I’m still exhausted from being “proactive”

  7. 7

    They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you. They want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife.

    What a sad, sad guy. And I mean this in the simplest way, that anybody who believes this would feel sad all the time. What an awful way to go through life. I’ve said it before, there’s something deeply pathetic and pitiful about this guy. He has all kinds of money, more money than most of us will ever see, and he’s now the fucking president of the United States, and it isn’t enough. It’ll never be enough, because the dumb fuck is too damaged and broken to see that you don’t become happy by getting everything you can grab and holding onto it for dear life, lest anybody wring it from your grasp; you become happy by bonding with others, by–and this is what’s utterly beyond him–giving of yourself. You have to give to others. You have to trust people. Yes, sometimes somebody will hurt you, but on the whole, we can only find happiness by bonding with others, and part of that is giving to others and trusting them. He’ll never get that. He’ll die pitiful, alone and scared. I guess that’s a kind of justice, but it’s kind of empty. I’d much rather he learn from his life, grow a little, and become something better. With this guy, there’s no hope of that ever happening, though. He’s utterly, thoroughly, irreparably broken. As I said, it’s sad. I don’t really like the thought that anybody could go through life that way. I guess that’s one of the many ways he and I are unlike.

  8. 8
    gene108 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I have known assholes, who display far more normal human behaviors than he does, such as laughing or smiling

  9. 9
    andy says:

    @opiejeanne: Susan Dey is almost unrecognizable!

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    That’s the truth about narcissists — they are people with a giant gaping hole at the center of their being that nothing can or will ever fill. They fear that if they do not make themselves the center of everything in their lives, they will cease to exist.

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I don’t feel sorry for him.

    He had gone through life deliberately hurting others. He has destroyed numerous small businesses, who invested up front in materials and labor to do a job at one of his properties, only to see Donald stiff them when the bill came due.

    Heather Heyer is dead because he emboldened Nazis, so much so that they felt comfortable engaging in a mass demonstration.

    And he has never shown any remorse.

    Fuck him. Being unhappy is the least amount of suffering that should be heaped on him.

  12. 12

    @gene108:
    Yes, but what this article is saying is that he’s an extreme asshole. He’s a terrible, terrible person, incapable of love, consumed by paranoia, who resents everyone else in the world and thinks their successes are his loss, and vice versa. He’s a mean shit who feels nothing for other people, but turned up to 11. The perfect representative for the Republican voter.

  13. 13
    gene108 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The perfect representative for the Republican voter.

    They voted for him because he was the biggest asshole running.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Honestly, he seems like a pretty garden-variety toxic narcissist to me. The problem is that we stupidly gave a toxic narcissist a huge amount of power, which is like giving a five-year-old the keys to a Maserati and telling them to only drive it around the block.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    It doesn’t matter what demons prowl in his head. The stupidity, laziness, ignorance, and general low character he’s shown over the decades didn’t come from them. These traits are innate.

  16. 16

    Viewing life as a zero some game, that’s the Republican way.

  17. 17
    m.j. says:

    He’s too easily manipulated to be a true cynic.
    Flatter him and he responds with agreement to anything you would propose.
    He’s too simple to react to nuance.

  18. 18
    barb 2 says:

    He should be locked up in a lunatic asylum and throw away the keys. Toss him food — like a caged animal.

    I have zero empathy for him.

    One thing we learn in Psychology — people do not get better unless they WANT to get better. He likes himself just the way he is. He will not change — ever. He is what he created. Many of us had rotten parents — and we did NOT allow them to drag us into the gutter with them.

    The Russians and stupid voters inflicted this heap of shit on all of us — much of the damage he is doing cannot be undone.

    Shitgibbon is an evil and mean person — not enough makeup and lipstick will make him look even halfway human.

    The media helped create this monster THIS is what they wanted.

    This is a misogynistic god damned fucking country — to let a creep get this far is inexcusable. /rant

    Preaching to the choir — sorry.

  19. 19

    Tonight’s jams are two by my favorite (living) songwriter, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Upbeat little tunes about professional wrestlers.

    Ox Baker Triumphant

    I will rise from the swamp where they dumped my private plane,
    I’ll be clutching the life preserver in my teeth.

    The Ballad of Bull Ramos

    Never die, never die
    Stand with a bullwhip in my hand
    And rise, rise
    In the desert sand

  20. 20
    Bupalos says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: yeah I don’t get A.L.’s take here at all. The quotes are all just like “Donald Trump is a severely damaged human being that shuns all the things that make the world good and make life worth living” and she seems to be all “how dare they defend him like this?” These descriptions are appropriately frightening and horrible, he sounds like he should be locked up for his own good and everyone elses.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The departure of Allen and VandeHei hasn’t helped Politico much at all. They’re still Villager vermin, still Tiger Beat on the Potomac (h/t Charlie Pierce).

  22. 22
    patrick II says:

    Sometimes yon think you have made a good deal and it turns to crap. Schumer and Pelosi made a deal with Trump to agree to pass a budget, a higher debt ceiling and hurricane relief. They seemed pleased to have agreed to basic things that any sane government should do. As a result congress could tum its attention to other matters (like healthcare for children) that need to be cleared by the end of the year. But instead Republicans are taking the time now made available to take one last shot at Obamacare. They are doing it by taking Medicaid money from the blue states with expanded Medicaid and using it to bribe red state senators for their vote. They have about two weeks to get the bill through the CBO and returned for a vote.
    I don ‘t know if Schumerand Pelosi are still pleased, but it just shows that it is tough to make deals with sociopaths and expect to come out ahead.

  23. 23
    opiejeanne says:

    @andy: Single in Redmond? See who’s on Match!

  24. 24
    opiejeanne says:

    @patrick II: so, the Republicans are pretty much all sociopaths. I think that’s about right.

  25. 25

    A Wonkette article today said this read like a profile of a serial killer. Seems about right.

  26. 26
    Eljai says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): That was way funnier than the Politico piece and, quite possibly, more accurate.

  27. 27
    Czanne says:

    @gene108: Please, can we also remember Rick Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche when we talk about those murdered this year by white nationalists? I know it’s been a few months, but it does matter. When we forget the men who died defending school girls, we grant a tacit permission to the Nazis to harm those who defend others in daily life, and we can’t cede that. Killing a protester is terrorism, but so is killing or trying to kill three guys on a train.

    Politico has it just backwards. It’s not that he is isolated and friendless. It’s that the rest of the world doesn’t entirely exist for him.

    A brief 101 on the developmental flaw that (probably) produces the cluster B personality disorders: All children go through an intensely solipsistic phase, usually when they’re just coming into their verbal stage, around age 18 to 30 months. They can’t articulate it, because they don’t have much vocabulary or complex emotional processing, but they do experience intense emotions, and in that developmental stage, other people exist in their world only as those people relate to the child. Per developmental theory, a personality disorder may arise if a trauma occurs during those early years. The trauma may not be physical, it may not even be particularly notable for anyone except the child, and the child who grows into the disordered adult may not remember it. But there’s some pretty decent retrospective evidence that personality disorders arise primarily during this language acquisition phase (plus a genetic/epigenetic/neurological component that isn’t fully identified yet). There’s a moderate correlation between narcissism in eldest children or eldest of grouping children and the arrival of a younger sibling during that critical 18-25 month range.

    Which makes a level of sense. The eldest or eldest of grouping child has all the attention from birth. For that child, the world does revolve around their needs and desires. But when the next child arrives, that attention is divided or diverted to the new baby. For most children in intact families, this is a frustrating experience of jealousy that resolves into some sibling rivalry that ends by age 5 or 6. (Children who experience the loss of a parent/primary caregiver – absent, removed or dead – during this period are also more prone to Cluster B disorders.) But sometimes, the child gets stuck in that solipsistic phase. They continue to acquire language and behavior on schedule, but emotionally, they fail to make progress because the insult to their immature egos is too profound. They remain intensely jealous of attention shown to anyone else, and often grow more disruptive and act out more as they acquire language and skills. They also develop disproportionately strong Pavlovian-type emotional responses, but without the introspection that comes with theory of mind (when we realize that other people really are people.) The strong responses are more like bot-haviors or pigeons pecking a button for treats.

    These children grow up with a permanent conflict: they cannot believe that other people really exist, because they never progress past that intense solipsism, but they also crave the approval and attention that was withdrawn. If the solipsism is profound, they are the only people who exist in the world, and everyone else is a figment. Figments shouldn’t complain, so they can be destroyed without consequence. (Sociopathy to psychopathy end of the B spectrum.) If it’s less profound, it’s a deep-seated doubt, and the person’s behavior is at best entirely transactional. They do not care for the approval of the likely figments — because why should a figment’s opinion matter? — but they cannot generate any self-approval — since clearly something is so wrong that the figments withdrew their attention — so there’s a howling maw that needs external approval and attention. That foundational flaw motivates manipulation, callousness, and destructiveness for the rest of the person’s life. With sufficient discipline, education and support in early childhood, the person usually grows up to be an asshole, but not worse.

    Wealth and power act as multipliers. But so do neglect, isolation and negative attention (which I posit did happen; military school for a tween, wealthy boy in that era, when the family didn’t send the other children to boarding school, indicates that “military school” was rich boy juvie). But his isolation now is not the result of others abandoning him. He is transactional; he knows how to get his pigeon treat, even if he doesn’t understand exactly how or why the treat appears. (Thus, taking the crap deals Schumer and Pelosi are offering. He’s ready to move on to new figments since the old ones aren’t delivering the goods.) He’s isolating himself because he cannot maintain a long-term relationship. (With a few exceptions, who play the game well enough to make it work. Ivanka, primarily.)

    There will be no change. He’s a building built on chocolate pudding. That conflicted ideation is so old and so foundational to every interaction he’s ever had that it’s not possible to re-wire. But if the sons are reporting actual behavior – Dad is getting suicidal – then yes, it’s time to 25A and Baker Act him. Because he’s either 1) actually getting destructive, and since Cluster B doesn’t consider the rest of us real, their idea of suicide is to punish *us* by taking us all out with them, or 2) it’s manipulation, and that’s not safe with someone who has militias and armies and bombs. This is the behavior that leads to family annihilation and spree killings.

  28. 28
    patrick II says:

    Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more…

    From an excellent post by Rebecca Solnit at the Literary Hub via Nancy LeTourneau at political animal.

  29. 29
    opiejeanne says:

    @Czanne: Gee, for a while there you were describing my childhood (wrong gender elder sibling of a child born prematurely), and the reason I worry that I might have sociopathic tendencies. I sometimes feel as if I’m not reacting the way normal people do to shocking or sad news but rather I’m acting, mimicking what I think the correct facial expressions should be.

  30. 30

    @Czanne: This is one of the most insightful analyses of the president* I’ve ever read. Thanks for the insight. (And also for the nightmares I’m sure to have tonight?)

    @Eljai: Agreed.

  31. 31
    satby says:

    @Czanne: fascinating analysis, wish we could send it to the Republicans who would have to act on our behalf to remove him. But the ones who matter are just as vile humans as he is, and still have damage they want to inflict themselves.

  32. 32
    Hkedi [Kang T. Q.] says:

    Since it’s an open topic thread, I give this for your attention. One of the leading nominees for the group award of “Should be tarred/feathered, then driven and chased through the streets towards the guillotines” I give you the entire board of Equifax (the credit checking institution who has all of you private credit information that they sell to other companies).

    After firing the previous CSO (chief security officer), who, by the way, is supposed to be the master of cyber-security of a company for little things like our credit rating, our personal information, and our SSN’s. The CSO, who was just fired after the stellar job of not keeping his patches up to date, as well as having a top level administrator username/password of… (drum roll) admin/admin (my non-technical mom has better security). They managed to top themselves…..

    In the face of a massive cyber-security breach, threatening the entire purpose of their business, they decide to immediately hire the very best in the field. A music major…….

    I really freaking wish I was trolling you, but their first (short) hire was a music major….

    So for 2017 I nominate the entire executive board of Equifax. May god have mercy on their souls. I sure won’t, they have mine (and most everyone else’s) information that makes identity theft a breeze.

  33. 33
    cmorenc says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    He is an asshole. End of story.

    Not quite all. He’s a narcissistic asshole who would throw anyone under the bus to serve his own interests.

  34. 34
    eclare says:

    @Hkedi [Kang T. Q.]: Holy fucking shit! I am one of those affected, and I am still waiting for my goddamn email with the link to sign up for the monitoring service. Company needs to be shut down, killed, pronto. Paid bills on time, paid back loans on time, all to keep a good credit score, and these fucking assholes put all of that at risk.

  35. 35
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So political teaches us that the unspeakable “N word” is “narcissist”

    I wonder if the reason the politicians seem so confused with Trump is narcissists are a bit unusual in politics. I can’t think of another politician who is as bad as Trump is with empathy.

  36. 36
    sm*t cl*de says:

    So no worse than Hannibal Lecter, just without the intelligence, what’s all the fuss about?

  37. 37
    Starfish says:

    @Hkedi [Kang T. Q.]: By the time you get to the C Suite, your work experience should matter more than your major. I graduated electrical engineering school with a classical trained violinist who was also an excellent engineer.

  38. 38
    HeleninEire says:

    @Czanne: Thank you for this. Very informative. And fascinating.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    The thing with Trump is, he ain’t a politician. He has won just one election in his life, and that because he became his base’s Anger Translator (a tip of the hat to the commenter formerly known as Iowa Old Lady). He lacks what people expect in a politician: empathy, discipline, convictions, scruples, and many of the basic skills of interaction. He never learns because he thinks he already knows everything. That’s what this whole discussion is about. We’re pondering how he got that way.

  40. 40
    Aimai says:

    @Czanne: well said. Exactly.

  41. 41
    efgoldman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    We’re pondering how he got that way.

    For starters, it’s been clear forever that no-one ever told him “no” and meant it when Hair Furor was a baby, toddler, or young child.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @sm*t cl*de:
    Hannibal the Cannibal eats people’s faces, and Donald Trump is the president from the Leopards Eating Your Faces party. On the other hand, Hannibal Lecter never held an elected office, so he harmed fewer people.

  43. 43

    @Starfish: I’m an IT major myself and I have to concur with this. It’s worth noting that musical ability, mathematical ability, and programming ability actually overlap quite a bit – there’s an overlap in the parts of the brain that all three use. Being a music major isn’t in and of itself a qualification for a tech-heavy position, but it’s not a disqualification either. There are quite a large number of computer geniuses who are largely self-taught – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were/are both college dropouts.

    That said, fuck Equifax. They deserve to go out of business.

  44. 44
    JPL says:

    Presidents have to pay for their meals, unless the meal is to conduct government business. I assumed that Trump invited congressional leaders and businessmen to supper, just to get the taxpayer to foot the bill. Loneliness might be part of the equation, but I’m not sure that it’s all.

  45. 45
    Amir Khalid says:

    @efgoldman:
    His siblings were raised the way he was, one would presume, but none of them turned out like him. His internal wiring could be defective.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Starfish says:

    @Amir Khalid: Is this Malay news source particularly bad, or are other accounts of Najib’s visit about how Trump is his true friend and broke protocol for him?

  48. 48
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Amir Khalid: Why he got elected is no mystery – fan bios in the primary and a rigged election in the general. The real mystery is why no other politician wasn’t able to torpedo Trump on his faults or more like didn’t even try. It’s like all of them, even Hillary, though it impolite to call Trump out on being a lying sack of shit. Heck, look at the tweet exchange between Trump and Hillary this week, he ranted on how she is a loser and she just pushed her book instead of mocking him for being the utter failure he is. Compare that to how fast Trump ran from Arnold when Arnold started going on about how Trump’s screw ups are traumatizing the nation.

    It’s like the politicians now for all the media craziness gotten into this Marquis of Queensbury* form of politics and forgotten that politics has a dark side and is supposed to be competitive. I really have a hard time believing Trump would have won against Nixon in a primary or Truman in a general.

    * less the underage messenger boys.

  49. 49
    Jeff says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s my take as well.

  50. 50
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @opiejeanne: I read my friend’s Abnormal Psych book many years ago when we were young and carefree. On the first page, it says something like “Most students will recognize aspects of themselves in the symptomatic descriptions of one or more of these disorders. It is important to refrain from diagnosing yourself.”

    Introspection is a good thing, but it can be overdone. If nothing else, here’s one major difference between you and Trump. I am willing to bet real money that Trump has never in his life wondered if there might be something wrong with him.

  51. 51
    Starfish says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Giving Trump the attention he desires will just make him rant more, and no one wants that.

    It’s like the way that I try not to get into it with the aggrieved white dudes who wonder why their taxes should pay SNAP for children and why they were not eligible for welfare when they were unemployed. They are not worth my time, and they want to argue with their illusion of my beliefs instead of grapple with the actual beliefs that they are dirtbags for wanting to starve children.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Starfish:
    The Malay Mail has never really had a high journalistic reputation. It was historically an afternoon tabloid — light reading, last night’s news that broke too late for the morning papers, that sort of thing. My old colleague Datuk* Wong Sai Wan was previously a senior editor at The Star, where I worked. To get as high as he has in the newspaper trade, one must cultivate political patrons, and Sai Wan (I get to use his given name) has been no exception. Part of that process is being a voluntary spin doctor for the politicians you cultivate. That’s what I see him doing here. The mainstream media here is run by his kind, and they all said exactly the same things about the times Najib met Obama.

    *Datuk is a title conferred in Malaysia’s honours system, which more or less resembles Britain’s. It’s considered about equivalent to a knighthood.

  53. 53
    Elizabelle says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Marvelous. Thank you for the Wonkette link.

    And then the murders began.

  54. 54
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Starfish:
    Another, small thing: Please remember the distinction between Malay, which is the name of an ethnic group, and Malaysian, which is a nationality. The Malay Mail is a Malaysian newspaper; it is not Malay.

  55. 55
    Starfish says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thank you. I was confused on that point.

    A friend that I attended college with is Malaysian. It looked like there was some flooding. Were you affected by that?

  56. 56
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Dmbeaster: @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): LOL I was going to say forget it Dmbeaster, it’s Politico…but “they have to turn in a column” works too.

    I think there really might be a columnist/political reporter shelf-life, after a certain point all they’re doing is manipulating words to say the same thing a different way each week. I mean after a while even shelf-stable milk goes bad, and so do political columnists.

    ETA Do you remember when TNC turned down a column at the NYT? IIRC this problem with coming up with a column that said something rather than nothing was what he was worried about.

  57. 57
    d58826 says:

    Sigh. None of the baby violins on Amazon are small enough to express my total lack of empathy for Der Fuhrer’s predicament. I’m sure Mueller will solve that problem when the indictments start coming down. He will have lots of company in the perp walk.

  58. 58
    matryohshka says:

    @Czanne: Completely agree with everything you say here about Cluster B people, but I don’t think the sons are saying Trump is suicidal at all. From what I can tell, they are saying that a “lesser man” would be suicidal under the scrutiny and criticism that comes with being president. I see it as part of their misguided belief that the press should serve in a constant ego-inflation and affirmation capacity for Trump, just as the sons do. Trump sees all of us as expendable, not himself. And if in his worst tantrum he uses “the nuclear,” he and his family will of course be protected from its effects, unlike the rest of us.

  59. 59
    Tokyokie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not only is he an asshole, whose assholeness is his sole defining quality, he’s such an asshole that he figures that everybody else in the world is similarly an asshole, or at least would be if circumstances allowed them to be such. Mother Teresa? She just exploited poor, brown kids in some Third World hellhole to get her ugly face on magazine covers, der Trumpenführer believes.

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    fuckwit says:

    Sociopath. He is capitalism embodied

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Czanne:

    Wealth and power act as multipliers. But so do neglect, isolation and negative attention (which I posit did happen; military school for a tween, wealthy boy in that era, when the family didn’t send the other children to boarding school, indicates that “military school” was rich boy juvie).

    I am among the commenters here who suspect that Trump’s narcissism is complicated by ADHD. That would explain the stint at military school — my father, who was about the same age as Trump, had a similar stretch at military school because he was a rich kid with ADHD, so he couldn’t just be encouraged to drop out and begin a life of crime like poorer ADHD boys in the 1950s would have been. I have ADHD myself, so a lot of Trump’s behaviors are weirdly familiar.

  62. 62
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Starfish:

    Giving Trump the attention he desires will just make him rant more, and no one wants that.

    Right now, I suppose yes. It not like Trump is a useless idiot isn’t obvious to even the conservatives now. but it was the primary and election I was talking about; you want Trump ranting and screaming like an idiot. For one thing that keeps the press from playing trivia pursuit on you like they did with Hillary and the second thing is Trump is a coward and always runs from a real fight and that needs to be shown to the voters.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Hkedi [Kang T. Q.]:

    Go back and read the article. Susan Mauldin was the previous chief security officer, who suddenly retired. She has been replaced on an interim basis by an IT guy from inside Equifax.

    Also, I have seen no reports that Mauldin’s username and password were “admin/​admin.” As I recall, that was reported as a problem with an Argentine subsidiary that handled customer problems there.

  64. 64
    JEC says:

    So…just another episode of America’s Next Personality Disorder: Narcissist or Psychopath?. This reality show sucks.

  65. 65

    @Mnemosyne: As a fellow ADHD sufferer, I second this.

    @Elizabelle: You’re welcome.

    And then the murders began.

  66. 66
    Parfigliano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Winner!

  67. 67
    artem1s says:

    @Czanne:

    Cluster B doesn’t consider the rest of us real, their idea of suicide is to punish *us* by taking us all out with them, or 2) it’s manipulation, and that’s not safe with someone who has militias and armies and bombs. This is the behavior that leads to family annihilation and spree killings.

    dingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingding…. I’ve known a couple of narcissists. For most of them the end of their relationships usually take the form of cutting off all contact with the person or institution that doesn’t support their self-aggrandizing world view. Usually cutting off contact is enough as long as they can replace their source of attention with another or more true believers. Dolt45 has had an almost endless supply of sycophants and toadies to fuel his craving for attention. Even if they only last a couple of scaramouchis. But now it’s becoming harder and harder for the toadies to screen him from the millions and billions who really, really despise him. He has always struck me as a potential family annihilator. Unfortunately we are all part of the ‘family’ now.

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