According to a series of interviews conducted by Politico's Michael Kruse, associates and critics of Donald Trump have taken note that he is rarely seen in public since his re-election bid failed and he became a one-term president, with some worried his mental state may be in decline at the prospect of leaving the Oval Office.
Under a headline reading "Is Trump cracking under the weight of losing," Kruse wrote that the combination of silence from the president between rants on Twitter could be a sign that the president is having trouble coping.
According to Kruse, Trump's demeanor and recent actions are setting off alarms.
"It's not just his odd behavior—the testy, tiny desk session with the press, the stilted Medal of Freedom ceremony that ended with his awkward exit, the cut-short trip to the Army-Navy football game. It's even more pointedly his conspicuous and ongoing absences," the report states. "The narcissistic Trump has spent the last half a century—but especially the last half a decade—making himself and keeping himself the most paid-attention-to person on the planet. But in the month and a half since Election Day, Trump has been seen and heard relatively sparingly and sporadically. No-showing unexpectedly at a Christmas party, sticking to consistently sparse public schedules and speaking mainly through his increasingly manic Twitter feed, he's been fixated more than anything else on his baseless insistence that he won the election when he did not."
Speaking with Mary Trump -- the president's niece who is also a psychologist -- she said her uncle is in decline, telling Kruse, "He's never been in a situation in which he has lost in a way he can't escape from. Psychological disorders are like anything else. If they're unacknowledged and untreated over time, they get worse."
The president's former attorney and "fixer," Michael Cohen claims Trump's "fragile ego has never been tested to this extent."
"While he's creating a false pretense of strength and fortitude, internally he is angry, depressed and manic," he told Kruse. "As each day ends, Trump knows he's one day closer to legal and financial troubles. Accordingly, we will all see his behavior deteriorate until it progresses into a full mental breakdown."
Mark Smaller, the past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association explained that Trump's background under a domineering father is likely coming into play.
"His problem is that he has grown up with vulnerability in terms of his self-worth, self-esteem and a clear sense of himself," Smaller explained. "Somebody with these kinds of vulnerabilities, affirmation, being the center of things, is never enough. Because you can't solve these old wounds, these old, narcissistic wounds—you cannot solve them with affirmation, with being at the center of things. You can't because they persist, so that you need more attention, you need more affirmation, you need to be more at the center of things, all the time, more often. And when realities start to interfere with getting that kind of affirmation, you just want more."
According to Kruse, associates of the president who have known him for years say they are worried about where he is headed, not only as he finishes out his presidential term but after he leaves office.
Trump biographer Gwenda Blair suggested he will never acknowledge or accept he lost the election to former Vice President Joe Biden.
"There's no reckoning with reality. He's going to continue to frame it that he won, he was cheated, he's the victim, and he's going to continue to bend reality as best he can," she explained.
Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee added that the near future with a mentally unstable president is fraught with danger.
"The probability of something very bad happening is very high, unacceptably high, and the fact that we don't have guardrails in place, the fact that we are allowing a mentally incapacitated president to continue in the job, in such an important job, for a single day longer, is a truly unacceptable reality," she warned. "We're talking about his access to the most powerful military on the planet and his access to technology that's capable of destroying human civilization many times over."
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