A few years ago, some asshole with a blog noted this about working for a narcissistic boss:
While the damage sociopaths can wreak is part of popular culture, narcissists can be just as psychologically abusive, and… in some ways worse, as you willingly participate in your own degradation (by lying)…
Again, if you haven’t personally experienced it, it’s hard to explain just how psychologically debilitating surviving a narcissist is.
Here’s the problem Trump is facing, one he hasn’t had to face previously: the people working for him aren’t doing it for money, they’re working for him because they want to do some good (really). You can’t buy them off with a high salary, because that’s not an option in government work. So when they can’t do the things they thought they would be doing (and want to do), there’s no way to placate them. Hence, the leaks.
While there has been a constant environment of leaks from the beginning of his term, it appears his denigration of the military, especially the injured and dead, was just too much. Yesterday, The Atlantic reported (boldface mine):
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies…
According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)
[former White House chief of staff John] Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.
As of last night, both the Washington Post and the AP confirmed elements of the story.
I won’t get my hopes up over this–there have been so many things that should have disgusted people, but maybe this is one step too far. I don’t think even the political press corps can both sides this. The question, of course, is will Democrats make it stick, or will they be their usual gormless selves?