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Cheers and Adulation: Why the 25th Amendment Cannot Handle a Mentally Ill President


CORRUPTION WATCH-The Republic is broken! As a federated democratic republic, the United States of America was supposed to balance political power to ensure that too much power would not accumulate in one place. As Americans once knew, the genius of the U.S. Constitution was in its balancing of power against power in order to avoid tyranny. 

An early sign of a weakness came when George Washington chose not to run for a third term. He knew that one threat of despotism rested in the chief executive’s remaining in power too long.  Showing integrity, he chose to place the welfare of the nation ahead of personal aggrandizement and decided not to run again. But relying on personal integrity is a foolish, foolish way to run a government.  

About 100 years later, Lord Acton briefly emphasized the danger of the power that constitutions sought to constrain. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he wrote in 1887. After FDR, we amended the Constitution limiting a President to two terms. Later, we made a feeble attempt to protect the nation from a mentally ill President with the passage of the 25th Amendment. 

Prior to Donald Trump, we have not had a seriously mentally ill President. Rather, both parties have taken to an insane form of opposition to Presidents which I dub the “Presidential Derangement Syndrome.” It’s not in the DSM -5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), so don’t look for it. Certainly, since Bill Clinton’s time, a significant segment of the losing party has developed a Derangement Syndrome which jettisons any sense of perspective. George W. Bush was not insane and as some people are beginning to realize, he foresaw and attempted to ward of some of the extreme hatred and bigotry which now plagues us. 

Trump, however, is unique – he is seriously mentally ill and he poses a clear and present danger to us all. There can be no Trump Derangement Syndrome because Trump himself is mentally ill, and it takes a fool, a coward or a villain not to see that fact. The problems are far worse than Trump’s multiple Personality Disorders which make him untethered from reality.   

The voters were predators 

Unlike Hitler, Trump did not seek to be the head of state. In the beginning, he was merely trying to hype his TV ratings. Unbeknownst to anyone, America’s predatory and racist nature would latch on to Donald Trump and propel him to the Presidency. Despite the extreme shortcomings of all the other candidates, they shared some core beliefs. Some may have been religious bigots who hated and feared gays, but they had some core principles.  

Trump, on the other hand, had personality disorders where others had beliefs. As a histrionic, Trump went wherever the crowd cheered. Had the masses cheered for more immigration, Trump would have proclaimed, “The Path to Citizenship is Now!” He did not fashion his own policies since he had no core beliefs. Whatever got the loudest cheers became his policies. 

A histrionic cannot live without the adulation of the crowd. Because far right-wing bigots cheered the loudest, Trump became addicted to predatory racism. Now, Trump is trapped by it and its delusional world view to Make America Great Again, because only those horrible policies will elicit the wild cheers. Trump channels the true nature of his base and that means tens of millions of Americans are predatory racists. 

The fact that Trump also suffers from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder compounds the danger as he believes that nothing he says should be challenged. Any disagreement touches off a narcissistic rage and vicious attacks, such as against the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. The tweets in which Trump insists that he was respectful during his phone call with Sgt. Johnson’s widow typifies his unacceptable pre-occupation with self-justification. “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson,” said Trump’s tweet on Oct 23, 2017. 

In Trump’s mind, Sgt. Johnson’s death was not about Johnson nor about his widow; rather, it was all about Trump. How is he able to get away with this atrocious behavior? Sgt. La David Johnson and his widow are black and Trump’s base is filled with predatory racists, e.g. the good Nazis. 

Something people do not understand about a true narcissist like Trump is that within his mind, he is not lying. Due to his grandiose sense of entitlement, if he says it, it is true. Unless one is familiar with narcissists, it is virtually impossible to comprehend that Trump is so mentally disturbed that he goes on PrimeTime TV and shows a doctored photograph of the Inauguration crowd as proof that his crowd was larger than Obama’s. People need to grasp the significance of this mental illness – he does not think he is lying. He is delusional and truly believes that his crowds were larger, he truly believes that Sen. Bob Corker worked with President Obama to bring about the Iran Deal and he truly believes that he was respectful to Myeshia Johnson. 

Joe Scarborough recently spent several minutes of his show on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing Trump’s habitual lying, offering a detailed analysis of Trump’s “objective lies” about Sen Corker. Scarborough believes that Trump is intentionally using the Big Lie Theory to change fiction into “truth.” But if Trump were an intentional liar as Joe Scarborough believes, Trump would not be a lethal danger to the world.   

A tyrant who intentionally uses the Big Lie Theory is still connected to reality. Because Trump’s falsehoods are the product of Histrionic and Narcissistic Disorders, we have a President who is unhinged from reality. Americans need to wake up to the fact that Trump is a madman. 

We Have No Mechanism to Deal with a Mentally Ill President 

The 25th Amendment cannot handle a mentally ill President. It rests upon the faulty idea that members of the President’s cabinet and Congress will be people of integrity – that they will act like George Washington. While it takes no integrity to admit that a President who has lapsed into a coma falls under the 25th Amendment, men of cowardice will never move against a vindictive mentally ill tyrant.  Rather they will turn the nation over to his insanity.  

There are exceptions – one is Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who went to the Senate floor to declare, “Mr. President, I arise this date to say ‘enough.’” Although Sen. Flake rebuked Donald Trump for his appalling behavior, his decision not to run for a second term was not based on Trump’s behavior, but rather on the nature of the Arizona GOP voters. As Sen. Flake told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “The path to victory in the Republican primary is to agree with President, not just with his policies, with the behaviors as well and not to speak out.” On the Senate floor, Sen. Flake added that loyalty to Trump is “morally treasonable to the American public.” 

We have no constitutional procedure to remove a mentally ill President who is implementing racist policies and uncivilized behaviors. In order for Hitler to gain a significant degree of support in 1930's Germany, thousands of people had to be imprisoned and/or murdered. The true danger of this mentally unbalanced President is that he is doing the will of many of the American people. 

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.


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