Are We Witnessing Elder Abuse?

After reading Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury, I really have to ask, are we witnessing elder abuse? If the book is accurate, then my feeling all along that the campaign was nothing more than a lark for Trump was accurate. And I also felt at the time that something about all of it was very, very wrong as if there was something psychologically or behaviorally going on with him and not simply an expression of the cult of personality shaped by Donald Trump. Could there be something medically wrong here?

He reminds me of someone suffering from bipolar disorder. His Jekyll and Hyde mood swings seem to support that possibility. His inability to shut his mouth, to understand the ramifications of his words and behavior, or to connect the dots with anything also supports that possibility as does his behavior around women. His mean-spirited comments directed at staffers, friends, and family speak to the other side of the bipolar equation.

But what truly resonated in Wolff’s book was the recounting of Trump’s campaign itself. Apparently, Trump wasn’t serious about winning, irrespective of what he may have said during the campaign, he and his family in apparent shock when he actually won. What would they do now? According to the book, no one expected him to win. If this is true, then it would explain everything.

What about all the things he said during rallies? All of the promises he made to his faithful supporters, were they all part of his desire to create a larger media empire from the experience? People came to see him expecting a true candidate concerned about their lives. Was this all an incredible circus act for him, a sideshow? Or was it a reflection of delusion run amok?

Where were his children? Surely they know their father and his quirks. They’ve manipulated around all of them for years, so they know who he is. Do they not see what appears to be a mental decline? Or is he simply someone so devoid of connection that only he exists in the world he creates? But is that a choice he makes, or one that reflects a declining mental condition?

Because if Donald Trump’s odd behavior is a reflection of a medical condition then his children should have moved heaven and earth to protect their father from himself. They should have never taken the chance that he wouldn’t become President. It was selfish and short-sighted and it may cost the country more than it can endure when all is said and done.

If the book is true, then there seems to be three factions in the White House, or were, who wish to shape Trump’s agenda. The problem is, it doesn’t appear that Trump has the wherewithal to establish let alone carry out an agenda the size needed when running a country. So he cooperates with no one. He learns nothing. He can’t hear anyone but himself.

Trump has presented a brand of himself to the world, so much so that I’d be surprised if few people know who the guy really is. And instead of the salacious gossip about him giving the rest of the country pause, people believed the brand over the reality of the man himself. And now it appears, at least from the perspective of those quoted in Wolff’s book, that he’s not well. At least that’s what it looks like every time he tweets or speaks in front of a camera because his behavior feels like something more than a guy who bucks the system. I realize that’s who his supporters thought they were voting for, but could it be that it was just a good salesman, reading the crowd, saying whatever he thinks will close the sale? It wasn’t as if he was selling timeshares in one of his resorts at those rallies. They were filled with people looking for answers and solutions. Was all of it a scam? A lark? Or were they listening to someone who was not all there, to begin with?

But what does seem real are the competing agendas that serve only to confuse someone who may be unable to keep any of them straight. It speaks to manipulation of someone who cannot organize his own thoughts beyond anger over who said what about him tweeting frustrated taunts in reply. He’s no more presidential than my neighbor’s un-neutered cat.

And apparently, he never wanted the job. Let that one sink in when the health insurance premiums are too expensive to pay for or a preexisting condition prevents us from buying it at all. I’m sure that the employees currently losing their jobs after Christmas bonuses were paid (1), citing the tax scam bill that just passed as the reason for the bonuses, neglecting to inform them that it was actually severance pay, are letting this sink in. They have no choice in the matter.

Elections have consequences. Especially if the aspirations of others are more important than protecting someone in decline. In any other situation, we’d consider this elder abuse to use someone of his age this way. The stress alone is clearly taking its toll. The Republicans in power cannot look away any longer. His children cannot look away any longer. Something must be done now.


  1. Briggs, James. AT&T, touting bonuses and investment fueled by tax reform, quietly lays off thousands IndyStar. 2 Jan 2018.
  2. Wolff, Michael. Fire & Fury. Henry Holt & Co.
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