“Throughout his life he suffered from temporary lapses in judgment and episodes of insanity.” That’s an archival quote describing King George III of England, who was born in the year 1738. But when you read that quote just now, the first thing that came to mind was Donald Trump. It’s all too easy to write off leaders you don’t like or agree with as being “insane” or worse. But this is different. We have a unique problem here, because Donald actually is suffering from kind of severe mental and psychological defect.
George III was reportedly so far removed from mental competence that to this day it’s the stuff of legend – as proven by the movie “The Madness of King George” made in 1994. They’ll be making movies about Donald Trump someday not too long from now, of course. But there’s so much contemporaneously going wrong with him that it’s not even clear which of the fatal flaws of his presidency will be the one that’s remembered for bringing him down. The financial corruption? The treason with the Russians? The obstruction crimes? Of course for now we have to worry about the fact that he’s nuts.
And this is no normal mental health issue. Many Americans live bravely through various forms of mental illness. This is something far different. Donald Trump is, at best, a malignant narcissist who enjoys harming others to boost his sense of self worth. And if we could ever get him in a room with a real doctor instead of the quacks he’s long relied on, we might find his depravity has an even darker diagnosis. If Trump weren’t wealthy and powerful, he’d have been drugged or institutionalized a long time ago – because he’s a danger to himself and others. No, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t have to be to see it.
King George III presented a different kind of problem for the British because, by rule, he was allowed to hold the title for life. By the end England had lost so much, it never recovered as an empire. Donald Trump is in power for a finite term. And if the Democrats retake Congress in the midterms, he won’t make it anywhere near the end of his term. But in the mean time we have a mentally deranged individual holding the office of President of the United States, on a level that’s never come close with any of the people who have previously held that office. The madness of King Donald indeed.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report