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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Trump derangement syndrome isn’t real, Trump rearrangement syndrome is.


Thanks to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. for this contribution to the quasi-psychiatric lexicon of the Trump era. In “This is the only syndrome we have to worry about” he writes:

E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Critics of President Trump are regularly accused of exaggerating his corruption, his predilection toward autocratic rule and his affection for dictators.

They are told that their apprehension about the threat he poses to our constitutional democracy is not a form of vigilance but a disease: “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” “All they can do is attack the president all day long on the scandal of the day,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) who became an aficionado of the term.

This is the same Cruz who, in 2016, called Trump a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen” and “a serial philanderer.” Perhaps the senator suffers from Trump Rearrangement Syndrome, a disorder common among Republicans who disown every criticism they ever offered of Trump so he’ll help them win reelection.

“Trump derangement syndrome” may not have made it onto the list of proposed new diagnoses for the next American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical manual (often referred to as the DSM), but the term does have a Wikipedia entry.

Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) is a neologism describing a reaction to United States President Donald Trump by liberals, progressives, and anti-Trump conservatives, who are said to respond to Trump’s statements and political actions irrationally and with little regard to Trump’s actual position or action taken.[1] The term has also been used to discredit criticism of Trump’s actions.[2]

Wiki explains that the origin of the term went back to the presdiency of George W. Bush:

The origin of the term is traced to political columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, who originally coined the phrase Bush derangement syndrome in 2003 during the presidency of George W. Bush. That “syndrome” was defined by Krauthammer as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency – nay – the very existence of George W. Bush.”[3][4][5][6] The first user of the term Trump Derangement Syndrome may have been Esther Goldberg, in an August 2015 op-ed in The American Spectator; she applied the term to “Ruling Class Republicans” who are dismissive or contemptuous of Trump.[7] Krauthammer, himself a harsh critic of Trump, later defined “Trump derangement syndrome” as a Trump-induced “general hysteria” among the chattering classes, producing an “inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences and … signs of psychic pathology” in the President’s behavior.[6]

Now anybody who publicly makes the news warning, often with liberal use of hyperbole, about how Trump is poised to turn the country into his personal fiefdom as he shows growing indications that he is a deranged ruler more like Caligula than Hitler or Stalin is accused of suffering from Trump derangement syndrome.

Trump used the term at least twice in Tweets:

Donald J. Trump from Twitter

Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!

July 18, 2018[23]

Donald J. Trump from Twitter

.@AlanDersh, a brilliant lawyer, who although a Liberal Democrat who probably didn’t vote for me, has discussed the Witch Hunt with great clarity and in a very positive way. He has written a new and very important book called “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” which I would encourage all people with Trump Derangement Syndrome to read!

July 26, 2018[24]

and Sarah Sanders used it once in a Tweet.

Sarah Sanders from Twitter

Trump Derangement Syndrome is becoming a major epidemic among Democrats. Instead of freaking out about the booming Trump economy why not celebrate it?

August 1, 2018[26]

Having written columns like “Trump’s sadistic malignant narcissism” from the perspective of a psychotherapist endeavoring to analyze why having a president with this extreme psychopathology who also has a driving need to become a dictator and does not possess grain of empathy in his psyche, were my grave concerns not based in fact I could be diagnosed as having a severe case of TDS.

Likewise, if I was exaggerating how Trump’s most ardent MAGA-hater supporters had their own psychopathology which led them to worship him (see “Dissecting Trump’s failed presidency” an analysis of why these people behave like members of a cult) I could be a candidate for the TDS diagnosis.

If I have any psychiatric syndrome at all it is Trump hypographia, the behavioral condition characterized by the intense desire to write about Trump and what he is doing to our country.

E.J. Dionne sums it up best:

The syndrome we most need to worry about is denial — a blind refusal to face up to how much damage Trump is willing to inflict on our system of self-rule, and on our values.


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