Since Trump has ascended to power I find myself so viscerally angered by both his very being and his political actions that I feel it imperative to write a polemic against this pathological liar, this monster of narcissism, this man devoid of a scintilla of empathy and self-awareness. I wish I could just tune out his presence, but his tweets and the myriad news stories he produces dominate the media and become indelibly stuck in my consciousness. I sometimes feel there is nothing else that the media pays attention to but Trump's destructive foibles and follies.
For the moment, let's forget his nebulous and reflexive political agenda, and dissect the persona and behaviour. For one I can't think of a public figure in my lifetime as bereft of language as Trump. I can think of no president whose unscripted speech was so dominated by tortured syntax, mid-thought changes of subject, and incomplete sentences. And his use and misuse of superlatives – every person he appoints is 'outstanding', 'terrific' or 'tremendous'.
It's a huckster's meaningless hyperbole that he uses to praise the military dictator of Egypt ('a fantastic guy') and Republican Tom Marino ('Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!') who had to withdraw from becoming drug tsar because he played a key role in weakening the federal government's authority to stop companies from distributing opioids. Empty, simplistic phrases that tell us nothing about any of the people he praises, except that nothing the president says can be trusted.
Trump's lies aren't always calculated to protect his reputation; they can at times be spontaneous. Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit that he developed as a real estate mogul in the 1980s and 90s. In his autobiography he used the phrase 'truthful hyperbole' – his ghost writer's term for Trump's stretching of the truth when he was closing a real estate deal.
That penchant for lying has been carried over to the presidency – Politifact rating 69% of 463 claims made by Trump before and after he rose to the presidency as false to some degree. There is no point in cataloguing these claims, but they were meant to consciously divert us from dealing with weightier matters. The baseless allegation that Obama – his obsession and bête noir – wiretapped Trump Tower, was used to distract us from the investigation into the Trump campaign's connection with the Russians.
And whatever false claims he makes, Trump is incapable of apologising for or examining his own behaviour. He's a man seemingly without a trace of inwardness, who just aggressively asserts his ego, attacking all who may slight or criticise him. His mode of attack is devoid of sophistication, totally based on either bar-room insults and threats or sloganeering political attacks. They range from his mocking retort to North Korea's ruler, Kim Jong Un, as 'Rocket Man on a suicide mission,' following that up by threatening 'to totally destroy' Kim's 'depraved regime,' to putting down extremely conservative but Trump critic Senator Flake for being 'weak on borders, weak on crime.'
Trump is also profoundly insecure, resulting in his frequently pathetic defence of his image. So he can embarrassingly assert that he is not a 'moron' because 'I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person.'
Still, despite this compendium of character flaws and personality disorders (and what I have written barely scratches the surface of their extent), his base remains loyal. In fact, they embrace him for being a populist millionaire, who behaves like any boor in a bar – spouting uninformed, inchoate opinions, and railing against opponents. In their eyes he's supposedly thumbing his nose at the elite, whom he only feels contempt for. But at the same time he is a successful, millionaire businessman and a glamorous television star – somebody they can admire and aspire to become. They also take pleasure in his repeatedly waving the flag and exulting in the gun-loving National Rifle Association, and issuing racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-liberal press slanders.
Trump's media savvy also serves him well. He's gifted at divisively touching all the right tribal (white identity) buttons when it comes to arousing his base's resentment and gaining their support. For example, his continual blasting of mostly black American football players as unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice.
A craven Republican Party and Congress, whatever their private feelings about him, automatically reaffirms Trump's hold on political power. They may find his lack of concern for and knowledge of policy and his mercurial daily political shifts truly disconcerting, even enraging, but as long as he supports their agenda and they can avoid being challenged in the primaries by Bannon surrogates, most of them remain like good sheep in his camp.
So many of Trump's political decisions are motivated by an almost demonic need to undermine Obama's accomplishments. And much of this coincides with Republican commitments against regulation, stepped up efforts to prosecute undocumented immigrants, and proposed cuts of a variety of poverty programmes. He has also supported the proposed tax bill, which is designed to serve the super-rich (eg, Republican donors) and the corporations, and screw other income groups.
Consequently, despite the campaign promises Trump has made to his working-class supporters of more jobs and the end of domination by Wall Street, so far he has done nothing. In fact, he has gone in the other direction, serving the interests of the moneyed, himself and his family.
Trump is a hollow vessel – all rhetoric and no substance. But he is also a danger to the country's very existence, given our nuclear arsenal and his bellicose bombast about using it, and a bare bones state department that barely plays a role in making foreign policy.
Still, I better stop writing, because attacking Trump is an endless endeavour. He just never stops repelling me – personally and politically.