Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump the Cruel

We all should know by now that Trump is a narcissistic bully who goes to great lengths to aggrandize himself by putting other people down. This is not an uncommon personality trait, but in a nominee for president of a nuclear power it is disgusting and frightening. Conor Friedersdorf collates examples in The Atlantic's Donald Trump's Cruel Streak. "For decades, the candidate has willfully inflicted pain and humiliation." Here are a few snippets.

Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust.

... even in a realm where the harshest critiques are part of the civic process, Trump crossed a line this week when he declared his intention to invite Gennifer Flowers to today’s presidential debate. What kind of man invites a husband’s former mistress to an event to taunt his wife? Trump managed to launch an attack that couldn’t be less relevant to his opponent’s qualifications or more personally cruel. His campaign and his running-mate later said that it was all a big joke. No matter. Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.

... none of the examples offered thus far captures the depths of Trump’s cruelty. Understanding that requires hearing the story of the late Freddy Trump, the candidate’s older brother, who died an alcoholic in 1983. After college, Freddy had tried to join the family business, but his heart wasn’t in it. He became an airplane pilot, showing talent in the profession. When his heavy drinking posed a safety risk, however, he quit, and wound up living in an apartment owned by his father and working on one of his maintenance crews, even as his kid brother Donald began to make a name for himself.

Here is the jaw-dropping conclusion to the story, as reported in the New York Times:

In 1977, Donald asked Freddy to be the best man at his first wedding, to the Czech model Ivana Winklmayr, an honor Donald said he hoped would be “a good thing for him.” But the drinking continued, and four years later, Freddy was dead.

Over the next decades, Donald put the Trump name on skyscrapers, casinos and planes.

In 1999, the family patriarch died, and 650 people, including many real estate executives and politicians, crowded his funeral at Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue. But the drama was hardly put to rest. Freddy’s son, Fred III, spoke at the funeral, and that night, his wife went into labor with their son, who developed seizures that led to cerebral palsy. The Trump family promised that it would take care of the medical bills.

Then came the unveiling of Fred Sr.’s will, which Donald had helped draft. It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, “other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.” Freddy’s children sued, claiming that an earlier version of the will had entitled them to their father’s share of the estate, but that Donald and his siblings had used “undue influence” over their grandfather, who had dementia, to cut them out. A week later, Mr. Trump retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.

“I was angry because they sued,” he explained during last week’s interview.

What kind of billionaire withdraws the health insurance of an infant with cerebral palsy in a fit of pique? A person comfortable being cruel to others. “This was so shocking, so disappointing and so vindictive,” his niece Lisa Trump said at the time.

Think. If this man is willing to be so cruel to his own family members, what cruelties do you think he will be willing to inflict on the citizenry he expects to rule?

I could talk about Trump being cruel to others for another 20,000 words. But deep down, even many Trump supporters already know this truth about the man they’re supporting. They’re just so acclimated to his cruelty that they’ve stopped noticing it.

Even the targets of Trump's cruelty have bowed before it and endured it - John McCain, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and those are just some of the political targets of Trump the Cruel. Check out the Atlantic article for the cruelty heaped on his ex wife, Ivana, in which he publicly compares the mother of his children to his mistress.

Enough. Wake up. Look at this man with fresh eyes.

People disagree about the ideal traits to have in a leader. But almost no one wants a president who has proven himself an addict to being cruel, mean-spirited, and spiteful. For decades, Trump has been deliberately cruel to others, often in the most public ways. He behaves this way flagrantly, showing no sign of shame or reflection.

What kind of person still acts that way at 70? A bad person.

It is that simple.

Giving a cruel man power and expecting that he won’t use it to inflict cruelty is madness. To vote for Trump, knowing all of this, is to knowingly empower cruelty.

Better to recoil in disgust.

h/t Paul McCreary

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