Jonathan Chait, today, in New York magazine:
There’s a term for a person who views other humans purely as instruments for his own advancement, and is unable to conceive of the idea of caring about them independent of his own self-interest: “sociopath.” The United States has had some terrible presidents before, but probably never a sociopathic one. When his own aides warn the public that he does not care if the people he is tasked with helping live or die, we should take their warnings with the utmost seriousness.
This comes via today's Daily Howler. But it also comes from an aide to VP Mike Pence, which I've been meaning to get to. This is from Olivia Troye, a former senior aide to Vice President Mike Pence and member of the administration's Coronavirus Task Force. She spoke on Friday, saying she will vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and encouraged other Republicans to do the same.
To recap the most striking part: She calls it
“...shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s okay when we know that it’s not. The truth is, he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself. He made a statement once that was very striking. I never forgot it because it pretty much defined who he was, when we were in a taskforce meeting the president said, ‘maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people, I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.'”
Can you imagine saying such a thing!? Robert Lewis Stevenson [is said to have] written, "All men have secret thoughts that would shame hell," but to say this out loud!! As President of the United States, in an important meeting?!?!
Of course there is more evidence, from Trump's niece, a trained clinical psychologist, that he is a sociopath. As the Daily Howler notes, the best-selling book by Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee. And all the weird and disturbing things we've seen Trump do and tweet for years now. The constant lying. Constant and obvious. His strange denial of facemasks. The strange, anti-productive tweets like "LIBERATE MICHIGAN." The admission to Woodward that he intentionally lied to America about COVID-19. The book by Bolton. They all portray him as a lying dummy who understands nothing, and lies to cover up his ignorance. His lies that he has a health care plan just ready to go, two weeks away, which he's been saying since 2016. How f--king stupid does he think Americans are? It shows how stupid he is to think this is how stupid Americans are.
He simply doesn't care. About, apparently, anything. Except himself. Whatever's good for him. And that's exactly why he's a sociopath.
"...maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don’t like
shaking hands with people, I don’t
have to shake hands with
these disgusting people."