By Barbra Streisand – The Huffington Post.
What happened to make Donald Trump so reflexively cruel?
Henry Kissinger once pondered a question about President Richard Nixon, “Can you imagine what this man would have been like if somebody had loved him?” This brings up the debate about the role of nature and nurture in the development of one’s personality and makes one wonder about Donald Trump. Why is he so insecure that he has to lie at every occasion about his accomplishments? How hard was his father on young Donald? Did he think he would never measure up? Why is his world so starkly divided into winners and losers? Is everything a zero-sum game? Can there be no win-win situations? What if his reflexive response as president was empathetic and cooperative instead of vindictive and heartless?
In his book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, Trump boasted that as a child he borrowed his younger brother Robert’s blocks, “I ended up using all of my blocks, and then all of his, and when I was done, I’d created a beautiful building. I liked it so much that I glued the whole thing together. And that was the end of Robert’s blocks.” From Trump’s perspective as an adult, this story shows early evidence of his ruthless ambition.
When Trump was in second grade, he punched his music teacher in the face “because I didn’t think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled. I’m not proud of that, but it’s clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a very forceful way.” It’s clear that he is proud of this story, and thinks nothing of his failure to learn impulse control. Although in light of his father’s arrest after a KKK riot in Queens, we can presume that impulse control was not a priority in the Trump home.
Not even Trump’s own family could escape his vengeance, as it was discovered after the death of Trump’s father. Trump’s eldest brother, Freddy Jr., had previously died from alcoholism. Following the death of Trump’s father, his will revealed that Freddy and his heirs had been disinherited. Although the Trump family had promised to cover the medical expenses of Freddy III’s infant son with cerebral palsy, Trump revoked that coverage after Freddy’s family challenged the will. Trump admitted to The New York Times, “I was angry because they sued.” This was medical expenses for a nephew with cerebral palsy. The cruelty and heartlessness of this is astounding.
While giving condolences to the grieving, pregnant widow of a recently fallen soldier, Trump allegedly remarked that Sgt. La David T. Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” Trump also falsely claimed that Obama failed to make similar condolences calls.
Trump’s greed and exploitation of others is legendary. Just like Cruella and the dalmatians. Remember all the subcontractors who were stiffed on Trump projects. Look to his former fraudulent scam: Trump University where he was forced to pay $25 million after being sued by the New York Attorney General. In an affidavit, Trump’s former employee (Ronald Schnackenberg) attested, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”
Trump’s political philosophy seems based purely on opposition and spite towards everything accomplished by President Obama. Maybe he never got over the satiric takedown by the former president at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He certainly has shown no ability to laugh at himself.
The Republicans are now also holding poor kids’ health care hostage in the (CHIP) program. In cutting health care subsidies, Trump says, “Obamacare is dead.” The working poor and even the middle class will now have their health care made far more expensive by the president’s order to kill needed subsidies. Rates are expected to triple for some Americans. As Nancy Pelosi remarked in the New York Times, “It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America.”
As the people of Puerto Rico struggle to survive following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Trump blamed their lack of self-reliance: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders…in P.R. forever!” Many Puerto Ricans, American citizens, are still lacking basic needs like safe drinking water. To taunt Puerto Rico with the withdrawal of federal resources is savagely cruel.
Trump also holds the fate of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program hostage with a series of unreasonable demands, including the building of his “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border. Years later, Trump is still fixated on building up his blocks, at the expense of America and without regard to the fears of 800,000 young DREAMERS.
In response to GOP Senator John McCain’s recent criticism of “half-baked nationalism,” Trump threatened a gravely ill senator, “But at some point I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”
President Trump crosses new boundaries each day, breaking alliances and deepening divides in our nation. Today, we have an angry and vindictive adolescent in the Oval Office, watching too much television and throwing temper tantrums via Twitter. Every slight, no matter how small, demands his immediate attention. Every policy issue that promotes the common good takes a back seat. Unless there can be a serious check on his worst cruel impulses, it will be a very long four years.