Trump Looks "Crazy" Because He's Unconstrained by Consequences

An enormous amount of (disablist) ink has been spilled publicly musing on the state of Donald Trump's mental health. The debate, such as it is, isn't even about whether there's something wrong with him or whether there isn't, but whether he's "addled" by some neurological illness or "crazy" with some mental illness.

After a(nother) series of unfathomably heinous and reckless tweets yesterday, the debate rages on with renewed energy — and increasingly the conclusion is that Trump is delusional.

Simultaneous to that narrative are observations about how Trump is facing no consequences for any of this behavior. On that subject, there is a very good piece by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: "Trump Veers Past Guardrails, Feeling Impervious to the Uproar He Causes."

These two ideas are deeply interconnected.

The fact that Trump never faces any consequences rarely figures into the commentary on how he's "crazy," but it should — because the reason he presents as "delusional" to so many people is because he is behaving precisely like a person who has never faced any meaningful consequences.

That isn't recognizable or familiar to most of us, because most of us don't live a life anything like that.

But its alienness isn't evidence of illness. It's evidence of Trump's immense privilege combined with his immense character flaws. Especially being pathologically insecure.

Trump has spent most of his life — and the entirety of his adulthood — surrounded by sycophants who create and affirm whatever he wants his reality to be. That's the world he created for himself as the head of the Trump Organization. That's the world he created for himself as the star of The Apprentice. That's the world he created for himself within his own family.

Master of a universe built to his own specifications.

That is what we're seeing on the most visible, grandest scale: A deeply spoiled man who just invents the world he wants and assumes that people will make it happen; who behaves however he wants within that world, where there are no consequences because he didn't design them.

"Trump has internalized the belief that he can largely operate with impunity, people close to him said," write Rucker and Parker. Yeah. No shit. That's because he can.

He is the architect. And his blueprints do not include accountability.

The presidency is supposed to come with built-in accountability in the form of checks and balances — but Trump's party, currently controlling both Houses of Congress, refuses to do that job. Like every other sycophant in Trump's history, they just give him what he wants; reflect back to him the reality that he demands.

He's not delusional. He's creating his own reality. Not just internally, but externally. For real. That's how much privilege he has and how much power he wields. The world of his making does not exist merely in his imagination, but in the actual, physical world around him.

What we mistake for "crazy" is actually Trump striding confidently through a reality of his own making. And it doesn't even matter if it doesn't mesh with ours, if it exists in unresolvable tension with ours. He is untouchable.

At least for now.

He knows it's a tenuous grasp he holds on this invention. That's why he spirals when he feels Bob Mueller getting close. That's why he is telling people that Muller's investigation "will be finished by the end of the year, complete with an exoneration." He's trying to make it so.

What should frighten all of us is that he has good reason to believe, based on past events, that he'll get what he wants this time, too.

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