As a rule, one-term presidents who were voted out of office in the United States have licked their wounds, congratulated the new president, moved on with their lives and looked at post-White House ways to make money — from writing books to public speaking. But former President Donald Trump, a year into Joe Biden’s presidency, continues to obsess over the 2020 election and refuses to accept the fact that he lost.
Never Trump conservative Peter Wehner, in an article published by The Atlantic on February 7, emphasizes that being a “loser” has put Trump in a very dark place mentally — and warns that he is determined to pull the rest of the U.S. down into the abyss with him.
“Donald Trump has made clear, time and time again, that in his view, the worst thing that can happen to a person is to be judged a ‘loser,’” explains Wehner, who worked in the Reagan White House during the 1980s. “In the 2020 presidential election he was, in fact, a loser, but his narcissism and the incredibly fragile self-esteem that undergirds it won’t allow him to accept that reality. He has spent the past 15 months attempting to overthrow the election in an effort to make himself the winner and, after that effort failed, rewriting the narrative, portraying himself as a victim of ‘THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY.’ Almost every public comment Trump makes these days is focused on the election.”
Wehner continues, “America’s 45th president said, in a statement last week, that his vice president, Mike Pence, should have ‘overturned’ the election. In a speech, he indicated that if he were to become president again, he’d likely pardon the people who on January 6, 2021, violently stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of the election — part of his ongoing effort to turn insurrectionists and those charged with seditious conspiracy into martyrs. He also warned that he would incite unrest if prosecutors who are investigating him and his businesses took action against him.”
“Trump’s mind,” Wehner laments, has “no room to entertain any other thoughts, at least not for long.”
“His defeat is his obsession; it has pulled him into a deep, dark place,” Wehner explains. “He wants to pull the rest of us into it as well.”
Wehner sounds a lot like psychologist/author Mary Trump — the ex-president’s 56-year-old niece, daughter of the late Fred Trump, Jr. and a cousin of Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. — when he stresses that it is important to understand the former president in psychological terms. Mary Trump, a vehement critic of her uncle, supported Biden in the 2020 election.
Wehner, similarly, writes, “I discuss Trump in psychological terms because I have said for a half-dozen years — and previously in these pages — that the most important thing to understand about Trump is his disordered personality; it’s the only way to even begin to think about how to deal with him…. Trump seems unable to incorporate anything critical about himself, hence his need to create an imaginary world in which he really won the 2020 election but was the victim of a conspiracy that borders on intergalactic.”
The Never Trump conservative continues, “He’s performed a moral inversion in which the supporters who stormed the Capitol are the true patriots; they, like he, are being unfairly persecuted. They are the defenders of democracy; the people who are holding them accountable are the enemies of America. Another reason Trump’s mindset matters is that millions of his followers —passionate, committed, incensed, aggrieved, and absolutely sure they are right and righteous — have entered his hall of mirrors.”
According to Wehner, one cannot understand the GOP’s mentality at his point without understanding Donald Trump’s mentality.
“The Trump era has conditioned many in the Republican Party to think like he does — and those who don’t are too afraid to speak out against his malicious transgressions,” Wehner laments. “Even Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — who voted to impeach Trump, who represents a blue state, who isn’t up for reelection for four years, and who clearly views Trump as a threat to American democracy — bobbed and weaved when she was asked if she would support Trump in 2024. The proper response would have been: of course not!”
Wehner ends his article on a disturbing note, warning that Trump is even more “dangerous” now than he was when he was still in the White House.
“Trump was dangerous, his mind disordered, before; he’s more dangerous, his mind more disordered, now,” Wehner explains. “He’s obsessed and enraged, consumed by vengeance, and moving us closer to political violence. His behavior needs attention not because of the past, but because of the future. A second Trump term would make the first one look like a walk in the park.”
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