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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Psychiatric assessment essential - King Lear syndrome

King Lear Syndrome


Donald Trump and his descent into madness.

It makes no sense for Donald Trump to exhibit erratic behavior and mental illness symptoms of paranoia (I've been treated badly!), without demanding an evaluation from a psychiatrist.

Shakespeare was a magnificent writer, poet and playright. In light of 21st century news, he is now a prophet. 

President Trump’s King Lear Moment- by Anna North published in The New York Times

Donald Trump is looking a bit like King Lear these days.

In the wake of reports that he shared classified intelligence with Russian officials and allegations that he asked James Comey to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the president’s mood “has become sour and dark, and he has turned against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — describing them in a fury as ‘incompetent,’” Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman reported at The Times.

On Wednesday, he told United States Coast Guard Academy graduates, “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” (MaineWriter- "paranoia!)

It’s not hard to imagine President Trump railing against the heavens, orange pate standing in for Lear’s “white head,” proclaiming himself “a man more sinn’d against than sinning.” 

Even the language of news reports has a Learian feel: “President Donald Trump, amid his own swirling controversies”; “the maelstrom raged around the staff”; “the tempest in Washington.”

Of course, Mr. Trump’s storm, unlike Lear’s, is of his own creation. And he doesn’t have Lear’s way with words — or, perhaps, he has a different one.

On Tuesday morning, he tweeted, “I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community,” then trailed off with an ominous ellipsis. His only tweets since then have been anodyne (?) (MaineWriter- Oh, please Ann, use words people understand! "anodyne" IOW, 
not likely to provoke dissent or offense); 

Recent Tweets appear to be inoffensive, often deliberately so.or at least anodyne for President Trump: a link to a story about industrial production and a video of his speech welcoming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

His aides must be relieved. “We are hoping the president doesn’t tweet,” one told Politico on Tuesday night. “Fingers crossed.”

During their break from doing Twitter damage control, Mr. Trump’s staff has been busy 
preparing him for his first trip official abroad. They are giving him lots of charts, graphs and photos and inserting his name at regular intervals in briefing materials “because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned,” according to a Reuters report.

Meanwhile, NATO is telling heads of state to keep their remarks at a May 25 summit under four minutes to accommodate the president’s attention span, according to Foreign Policy. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” a source with a short attention span 
and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” a source with knowledge of the preparations told Foreign Policy.

At this point, regardless of what happens with Mr. Comey, the Russians and anything else that comes out of the White House in the next few days, it’s hard to see how Mr. Trump can function as the president. Reports cast him as someone who cannot be trusted to perform the core duties of his office. 

Before the Inauguration, some speculated that Mr. Trump might operate as a head of state, flying around the world and meeting dignitaries while leaving the day-to-day workings of government to his vice president. It now appears he cannot even manage that: Mr. Thrush and Ms. Haberman report that some of his advisers “fear leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.”

Calls for impeachment have begun, but they will only gain traction if enough Republicans decide to back them. In the meantime, what does the country do with a president who can’t do his job?

The president is unlike King Lear in many respects, but in this perhaps most of all: He seems to lack a Cordelia who will speak to him honestly. (MaineWriter: Poor Cordelia paid a price for her honesty.) 

Instead, Mr. Trump has been Regan and Goneriled all the way to the presidency, flattered and coddled by his advisers, the Republican establishment and his family to the point where flattery and coddling are useless and no amount of careful management can keep him from revealing state secrets and then bragging about it on Twitter.

It’s not clear whether someone who refuses to lie, flatter or curry favor would have much influence with Mr. Trump, so surrounded is he by people willing to do all of those things. But someone like that, especially from within the Republican Party, could have a great influence on the country right now. Without such voices, we’re all at the mercy of the storm.
 
Anna North (@annanorthtweets) is a writer and editor in The Times opinion section.

Donald Trump may have created a new psychiatric diagnosis, first described by William Shakespeare, called "King Lear Syndrome".

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