David Cay Johnston covered Trump as a journalist for thirty years, in the course of reporting on the Atlantic City beat. He presents in The Making of Donald Trump a greatest hits of the President’s business life. And by greatest hits, I actually mean the lowlights of his behavior with women, with business partners, with lawsuits, with his employees, and with the press.
To point out that President Donald Trump is primarily a con man with easily observed personality disorders is relatively straightforward, given what we’ve witnessed of him as a Presidential candidate, and now as President. I think the time for outrage at each new Tweet or each new attempt to subvert the best traditions of the Republic is past. We know what he is. We know he will try his best to break this country’s constitutional traditions.
But to play armchair psychiatrist for a moment, Trump is not, primarily, evil. He is a deeply insecure person unencumbered by the moral boundaries which limit the rest of us. When faced with his unrelenting narcissism, a yawning chasm of need, he chooses the fastest route to a short-term fix for that sickness. Johnston’s book is a history of this sickness, in easily digested, well-researched, chapters.
Sometimes his sickness means doing business with noted mob associates. Occasionally it means cutting family members out of their inheritance. Often it means threatening lawsuits against journalists, newspapers, and other perceived enemies who jangle the nerves of his insecurity. Often it involves an unrelenting thirst for vengeance. Sometimes it means screwing over your bondholders. Historically it has involved inventing hotel prizes, and then hiring people to award them to you, as a 4-year old child would do, if given the chance. It includes cutting corners on building costs by hiring illegal labor, working under dangerous conditions. It means running a scam University making false claims and preying on financially vulnerable people.
Sometimes it means calling up gossip columnists, pretending to be a PR man, and bragging about how Madonna or Carla Bruni or some other hottie of the day is lusting after Donald Trump. Sometimes it means not actually trying to legitimately attract a woman’s attention, and just grabbing them by the pussy.
Johnston published this book in August 2016, after Trump’s nomination by the Republican Party but before the November election. He tried to do his patriotic duty of warning the country about a con man he’d observed closely for decades.
Anyway, life is going great here in the United States since the election, OTT.1
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- “Other Than Trump” ↩