Deranged Trump Syndrome

“Trump Derangement Syndrome” has been one of the favorite insults hurled at reasonable people who continue to find former president Donald Trump’s actions, policies, and lies highly objectionable. But now, as his numerous legal perils close in and he spins totally out of control, it’s far more fitting to flip that phrase and call it what it is – Deranged Trump Syndrome.

A quick review of Trump’s recent rants should suffice to prove he’s gone over the edge about how things work in our democracy, our responsibility to respect the law, and to treat each other with tolerance for our differences in opinion or political affiliation.

Two weeks ago Trump falsely claimed he would be indicted on March 21st and urged his adherents to “protest, protest, protest.” A number of those supporters apparently wondered why they should do that as the “rally” to “take back our nation” in New York City was a laughing stock due to the incredibly small number of people who showed up.

And then the Manhattan District Attorney didn’t indict him as the grand jury continued to interview witnesses – and even took a few days off. Gosh, I guess we somehow avoided another totally false Trump National Emergency once again.

Never one to admit his own failures, he has instead turned up his “threat meter” in what will be another failed attempt to intimidate the American public and delegitimize our legal and political system through violent rhetoric.

Now, he warns there will be “death and destruction” that “could be catastrophic for our Country (sic)” if any of the on-going legal cases against him go forward. Not only that, he has called for the removal of every top official investigating him. In a stunning example of projection, he dubbed an investigator as “a danger to our country” and “degenerate psychopath that truely (sic) hates the USA!” Maybe, just maybe, he was looking in the mirror.

You’d think being impeached twice but never convicted by the Republican Senate, he might understand the foundational tenet of our legal system: You are innocent until proven guilty.

So, just what is it that makes him want to stop the investigations, fire the investigators, dismiss the grand juries and halt all actions against him? Surely it couldn’t be because inside his very thin skin he knows he may well be convicted for misusing campaign funds to pay off a porn star he was having an affair with while his wife was pregnant.

Or for trying to get a Georgia Secretary of State to illegally “find” more than 11,000 votes for him. Or perhaps it’s being held personally responsible for openly inciting the January 6 insurrection by lying about a stolen election and urging the mob to “fight like hell” to stop Congressional certification.

Moreover, prosecuting former leaders isn’t unusual. As reported: “Investigations into former leaders are hardly rare around the world. In at least 76 countries, leaders who left office since 2000 have been jailed or prosecuted – including in democracies like France, Israel and South Korea.” And guess what – those nations didn’t collapse.

But we’ve all seen this before and the re-runs get more boring by the day. The overwhelming majority of Americans have much more important things to do with their lives than engage in violent social disruption for a person whose lies have resulted in years-long prison terms for those who rioted believing his false “stolen election” claim.

Despite his “Deranged Trump Syndrome” he will not escape culpability for his actions through threats of “death and destruction.” We are still, and will remain, a nation of laws that apply to all – including deranged ex-presidents.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.