George Conway, the husband to top White House aide Kellyanne Conway, observed the series of tweets from President Donald Trump and noted it’s clear he’s having a mental breakdown. Atlantic writer Peter Wehner, who serves as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, agreed with Conway, noting in a recent piece that “Trump’s continuing attacks on John McCain reveal a worrisome state of mind.”
Typically, the president seems to have a Twitter meltdown when bad news is coming. At the same time, Trump was cited in the manifesto of the white supremacist who killed over 50 people in New Zealand last week. But over the weekend was the anniversary of the late Sen. John McCain’s release from a Vietnam prison. For a few hours, the attention was drawn back to McCain instead of him, and he couldn’t take it.
Wehner cited Trump’s 2015 statement that McCain isn’t a “war hero” because “he was captured.” When McCain died, Trump was ignored again, and the week filled with memorial services that brought both parties together to show the difference between a leader and Trump.
“These grotesque attacks once again force us to grapple with a perennial question of the Trump era: How much attention should we pay to his tweets; and what exactly do they reveal about America’s 45th president?” wrote Wehner.
He explained that it’s understandable that many would dismiss it as nothing more than a crazy man is crazy, but the danger, he said, is allowing Trump to succeed in an era of “constant agitation and moral consternation.” It’s unhealthy to normalize and become desensitized to the president’s behavior and it could play to Trump’s advantage.
“A culture lives or dies based on its allegiance to unwritten rules of conduct and unstated norms, on the signals sent about what kind of conduct constitutes good character and honor and what kind of conduct constitutes dishonor and corruption,” Wehner said. “Like each of us, our leaders are all too human, flawed and imperfect. But that reality can’t make us indifferent or cynical when it comes to holding those in authority to reasonable moral standards. After all, cultures are shaped by the words and deeds that leaders, including political leaders, validate or invalidate.”
While it might be unprofessional and unpresidential, the worst part Wehner explained, is that it shines a light on a “damaged soul” and “disordered personality.” A psychological degree isn’t needed to know that something is amiss. He’s a textbook narcissist and lacks empathy. He’s vindictive and lies pathologically. It would be worrisome in any other profession, but as a president of the United States, Wehner called it “downright alarming.”
“Whether the worst scenarios come to pass or not is right now unknowable. But what we do know is that the president is a person who seems to draw energy and purpose from maliciousness and transgressive acts, from creating enmity among people of different races, religions, and backgrounds, and from attacking the weak, the honorable, and even the dead,” he closed. “Donald Trump is not well, and as long as he is president, our nation is not safe.”