Shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration, 800 psychoanalysts from across the country jointly warned of the psychological dangers evident in Trump's behavior. They said he demonstrated classic signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, underscored by his boastful pretentiousness, constant self-admiration, belittling of others, and an erratic tendency to take impulsive, ill-considered actions. That was 2017.
Pretty much everything they warned about has come to pass in spades, particularly in recent days regarding his reckless troop withdrawal from Syria, his attempt to exact political favors from Ukraine's president, his amateurish communication with world leaders, and the bizarre display of childishness as he met Wednesday at the White House with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders. Democrats walked out after they said Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "third-grade" or "third-rate" politician.
Rational, stable adults don't behave this way. Trump's utter lack of self-restraint violates all standards of rational behavior, underscored by his daily tendency to spew vitriol at anyone who dares to question what he terms his "great and unmatched wisdom."
His outburst Wednesday followed one of Trump's most embarrassing defeats on Capitol Hill, where 354 House Democrats and Republicans joined together to condemn Trump's order withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria. Now that U.S. troops are gone, chaos and mass slaughter are enveloping the region. Syria, Russia and Iran are newly empowered. Islamic State terrorism has been revived.
The House condemnation was entirely merited and should be reinforced by an equally bipartisan and loud denunciation in the Senate. We've spared no harsh words for St. Louis-area Republican members of Congress who refused to stand up to Trump when they knew he was wrong. To their credit, Representatives Mike Bost and Rodney Davis of Illinois and Ann Wagner of Missouri took a stand in support of this resolution after recognizing the dangers Trump has unleashed.
Such votes must no longer be the exception but rather the rule in the face of Trump's increasingly reckless behavior.
World leaders have stopped taking the United States seriously, especially after Trump's troop withdrawal handed unprecedented victories to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was so dismissive of the flippant letter Trump sent him on Oct. 9 that Turkish officials say he tossed it into the trash. A top adviser to Erdogan told National Public Radio the letter was "ridiculous" and "irrelevant." It warned Erdogan not to be "responsible for slaughtering thousands of people," adding, "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!" or history would judge him "forever as the devil."
Rational leaders don't conduct international diplomacy this way. This cannot continue. Whether he is removed by impeachment or hangs on until the 2020 election, Republicans must join Democrats in recognizing: America can no longer afford to keep Trump in power.
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