Sigmund Freud would have a field day with the Trump administration. The mentally broken nature of Donald Trump, and most of the people he’s surrounded himself with, has presented endless opportunities to try to unravel them all. But there’s one reference that keeps oddly coming to the forefront in particular, and one that we could use Freud’s help with: the Trump team’s seeming obsession with talking about metaphorically and literally stabbing people.
Shortly after Donald Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci to be his new White House Communications Director, Scaramucci proudly announced during a television appearance that he’s a “front-stabber.” Alright, so maybe it was nothing more than a play off the long popular backstabbing metaphor. But it stood as particularly odd since it came in the same week in which Scaramucci also talked about how he wanted to “kill” people who leak things, and suggested he might go “Cain and Abel” on Reince Priebus; Cain murdered Abel. Yep, there’s something clearly wrong with this guy. And yet Scaramucci is far from the only Trump team member obsessed with stabbings.
In fact, in the same week he hired Scaramucci, Donald Trump gave a speech in which he told an exaggerated and fictionalized story about drug dealers taking a knife to young girls. These people just can’t stop talking about stabbings. And then there’s the matter of Trump’s HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who claimed in an old book that he once tried to stab his friend in the stomach. Carson’s standing was during the campaign when it was revealed that he probably didn’t stab anyone as he had claimed. So it appears talking about stabbing is a good way to endear yourself to Republican voters, unless it turns out you didn’t really mean it.
Now Trump has taken the bizarre step of hiring recently retired General John Kelly to be his new Chief of Staff. Although Kelly has never talked about it, during the course of his long military career it’s entirely possible that he has stabbed people. Is this why Trump gave him the White House job? Come to think of it, considering how obsessed Trump and his team are with the subject, it’s entirely possible that Reince Priebus was fired at least partly due to his total lack of interest in talking about stabbing people. We need Freud to come back and help us understand what all of this really means.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report