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IQ Test and Portland: Listen to Mary Trump

People including the media should listen to Mary Trump. Oh sure, they buy her book, interview her, and cite her observations. But what they don’t do is incorporate her insights into their thinking. She said her uncle was child in the body of an adult. She said he had the emotional maturity of a three year-old. And, of course, she worried what he might do in a second term. She might have added what he would do in his only term if he thought that second term was in jeopardy.

Yet, despite these comments, the media continue to analyze the actions of the child in the body of an adult as if he were an adult. Consider the example of his “IQ” test. People have had a lot of fun joking about that “test.” They mock him for his claim that he aced the dementia test.

Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.

There is no doubt that “person, woman, man, camera, TV” has entered into American history. It may not quite rank with “Four score and seven years ago” or “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,’ but it will generate far more laughter. Quite possibly it will become the signature phrase by which this particular President is remembered. It certainly seems to be phrase of which he is most proud.

Think Child in the Body of an Adult

Let’s consider that phrase from Mary Trump’s perspective instead of the media’s rush to ridicule. Forget about what the test actually is in the adult world. Instead think about what it means to a child in the body of an adult with the emotional maturity of a three year-old.

Remember how excited he has been over knowing that Lincoln was a Republican. Remember how often he repeats that knowledge, how often he shares it with an audience as if since he only just learned something they didn’t know either. Now think of a child rushing home from school eager to share with Mom, Dad, or whomever about something exciting just learned in school that day. Think of how often the child bubbles up in wonderment and joy over this precious knowledge the child is sharing. Maybe you have such a child. Maybe you were such a child. Our President still is.

Tests are not his strong point. Who knows when he last took one? It wasn’t his SATs. It probably wasn’t in college either. Maybe he took one for his driver’s license. (Does he drive?) The very stable genius knows he wasn’t the smartest one in the class. He knows he did not do well on tests. Now look what happened. He aced one.

Again, forget about what the test is in the adult world. Think about what it means to a child in the body of an adult who never did well on tests. Everyone was amazed at how well he did. That probably means the testers did congratulate him on a job well done. After all, he was taking the test only because there was some concern that something had happened to his brain. We don’t know what it was (concussion, dehydration, vertigo, ministroke…).  Whatever it was, it was cause for concern. Once that concern was mitigated, yes, the testers probably did breathe a sigh of relief (Had the Vice President been contacted, just in case?). Naturally, our child in the body of an adult interpreted such praise as meaning everyone was surprised that he had done so well. Hardly anyone knew that Lincoln was a Republican. Hardly anyone does so well on the test either.

Keep in mind that an adult liar would never say the things he says. An adult liar would know better because it would be so easy to detect the dishonesty. A child in the body of an adult has no such qualms. Person. Woman, Man. Camera. TV. How many times did he say those words? Look at me! I am a very stable genius. I have been tested. [Think of how often Sheldon Cooper told the story of how his mother had him tested to prove he is not crazy.]

From the perspective of the child in the body on an adult with the emotional maturity of a three year-old, he is telling the truth. His world may be an imaginary one to you but that doesn’t mean it is not real to him. Instead of counting the 20,000 plus times he has been dishonest or misleading in the adult world, ask yourself if he has been dishonest or misleading in his world.

Maybe Trump Isn’t Lying

Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, took this approach in his article “Maybe Trump Isn’t Lying” (May 19, 2020). He begins the article with well-known whoopers told by our wartime leader. He then segues into the ways The Washington Post, MSNBC, and The Daily Beast attacked, ridiculed, and mocked him for his lying. At that point, instead of continuing on this well-worn and self-serving trail of no productive purpose, he does something different from what the media normally do and continue to do. He examines the coronavirus crisis from the perspective detailed by Mary Trump even if he doesn’t use her words or know of her yet.

But what if Trump isn’t lying? Americans ought to consider an alternative explanation for the president’s many untruths: He does not grasp the most basic aspects of the public-health crisis.

Cluelessness may, for example, better explain Trump’s statements on the expected COVID-19 death toll.

Exactly. Suppose he genuinely is a child in the body of an adult and lacks the mental necessities and cognitive skills to understand the coronavirus crisis.

To document the claim of “cluelessness,” Friedersdorf refers to the various predictions made on the expected fatalities from the disease. As we are now on verge of 150,000 officially dead, the projections seem laughable if they weren’t so tragic. The magnitude of the error in these numbers causes Friedersdorf to ask:

Why did Trump keep offering estimates so unrealistically low that they were overtaken by events mere weeks later, exposing him to mockery and providing fodder for attack ads? Lies are typically self-serving. Those statements were not. If he was trying to lowball death estimates so that Americans would reelect him, he needed to pick a number that wouldn’t be exceeded until after Election Day. Whether he intended to lie or attempted to tell the truth, he showed an inability to think just weeks ahead in an emergency that could last months or years.

Exactly. He is a simple-minded immature child. He does not have the temporal perception to make such a calculation. He is a “now” person. Imagine asking a teenager to think about the consequences of an action taken or forgotten. The brain isn’t yet wired to think in terms of consequences, just “now”. Friedersdorf is correct to point out that our wartime leader can’t think in those terms and therefore he says things even an adult liar would not.

At this point, Friedersdorf raises an issue that frightens Mary Trump as well.

I used to worry that Trump’s serial mendacity might harm the nation. Now I worry even more that he isn’t lying, but rather lacks the capacity to see errors in the most obvious falsehoods. He appears to be so impulsive and attuned to the time horizon of an individual tweet, television appearance, or news cycle that he cannot strategize over a longer period.

Some Americans are willing to forgive lies from the president, but even they shouldn’t shrug off the possibility that Trump simply doesn’t understand the pandemic clearly enough to respond to it effectively.

Exactly. The coronavirus is an adult issue. The child in the body of an adult lives in the “now.”

Friedersdorf then brings up the topics of testing. This was before the famous “slow the testing” plea. He posits that Donald Trump genuinely lacks the mental necessities and cognitive skills to understand how testing works and why it is needed. In other words, Trump genuinely lacks the mental necessities and cognitive skills to understand why other countries have safely opened schools and we can’t. Friedersdorf warns that there is no reason to believe that the situation will get any better. He pessimistically concludes:

Trump’s reputation for lying is well deserved. But many of the most glaring untruths that he has uttered during this crisis could be explained by ignorance and lack of foresight as easily as mendacity.

At 73, Trump is unlikely to stop his decades-long habit of lying. But assuming that all of his pandemic untruths are lies may obscure the degree to which he’s out of his depth. Is he fit to preside over the high-stakes effort to secure and roll out a vaccine? The many failures of understanding implied by his statements suggest that he is not.

His decision-making always will be made on what is best for him right now. That means what is best for a child in body of an adult with the emotional maturity of a three year-old. If he thinks his imaginary world is threatened and he won’t be re-elected, what will he do? Why is Mary Trump frightened? Remember when the protests were about police reform? Remember when the protests were about Confederate statues? Now the protests are about him. He dominated Lafayette Square. He called for the liberation of Michigan. Now he is taking back the country one Democratic city at a time. It’s always about him.

Putin’s Pence: What Does He Get from the Relationship?

THE DONALD and "Fred Trump" (courtesy https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com)

A Question That Won’t Go Away: Why Does Trump Love Putin So Much?

Following the news that Russia put a bounty on US troops, this old puzzle takes on new significance.

David Corn (June 29, 2020)

What does Putin’s Pence get from his relationship with Vladimir Putin? Everything is transactional. It’s all about the deal. Therefore it should be possible to determine what the American President gets in exchange for being submissive to the leader of America’s adversary.

WHAT DOES PUTIN GET?

On Putin’s side, it is relatively easy to determine what he gets or wants from his relationship with his American asset.

End of the sanctions
Restoration of the G8
Approval for the invasion of the Ukraine
Approval for Russia’s actions abroad including in Afghanistan, Africa, Libya, and Syria
Permission to violate the American elections in 2020 as he did in 2016
Approval for invading the Baltics should he decide to do so.

Plus whatever other actions Putin is doing or decides to do which a normal American President would oppose.

WHAT DOES PUTIN HAVE ON HIS PENCE?

In general, there is an assumption that Putin must have something on his Pence. In other words, the reason for the subordinate behavior is due to the risk of exposure or the withholding of some action that his Pence desires. While I do not agree with this assessment, it is worthwhile reviewing the potential areas of blackmail which have been identified.

1. Compromising Pictures

There has been an ongoing fascination over what happened when THE DONALD had the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. At that time, he tweeted:

Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend? 11:17 PM · Jun 18, 2013

Strange tweet to be sure. It has led to investigations into what really happened. For example:

When Donald Trump brought Miss Universe to Moscow by Michael Crowley 5/15/16

Trump in Moscow: what happened at Miss Universe in 2013 by Jon Swaine in New York and Shaun Walker in Moscow (9/18/17)

Trump’s Miss Universe Gambit by Jeffrey Toobin (2/26/18).

Something had to have happened in the swirl of money, media, and babes. How could it not have? Even if there was some skullduggery in the selection of the winning contestant and/or the finances of the pageant, could that have been enough to turn the American President into Putin’s Pence?

Besides money and manipulation, could there have been compromising pictures that THE DONALD would do anything to keep secret just as he doing with his taxes?  Titillating as the idea is, the answer seems to be “no.” Let’s put the 2013 pageant in historical perspective.

2005 January 22 marriage to Melania
2005 September, Access Hollywood tape: claims he’s still got it
2006 March 20 birth of Barron
2006 Stormy Daniels, one night stand
2006 Karen McDougal, possible next wife

As best I know between 2006 and 2013, there are no allegations of grabbing, harassment, one-night stands, or affairs. What happened? At some point did THE DONALD simply cease performing as THE DONALD? I am not familiar with any reporting on why the change in behavior occurred or when. However the cessation of even specific accusations against him leads me to believe that for whatever reason, he was a different person in his sixties than he had been earlier. Therefore, I am inclined to believe that the idea of compromising pictures is wishful thinking

2. Trump Tower

The desire to build a Trump Tower in Moscow certainly was a pre-presidential goal. Is it still one? Whatever backroom maneuverings he undertook to secure approval probably weren’t that different from the way he was used to wheeling and dealing in the New York real estate market. The differences were in location and the government involved. It’s hard to imagine that he is subservient to Putin simply in the hopes of being able to build a Trump Tower in Moscow after he is no longer President.

WHAT DOES THE CHILD IN THE BODY OF A MAN GET FROM ALPHA MALE PUTIN?

Thanks to some recent reporting by Carl Bernstein and a book by Mary Trump it is possible to better document what was known and/or suspected all along.

Mary Trump describes the child in the body of a man as coming from a truly dysfunctional family. Fred Trump’s racism evidence in KKK associations and his rental practices are nothing new. The anti-Semitism may be a bit of a surprise given his daughter’s conversion and his support of Israel, but it is consistent with his stereotype of Jews.

What’s new is the extent to which Fred Trump was a person with serious psychological problems and to which they extended to his son. Not to repeat what she has written and said in interviews, but the atmosphere in that home must have been suffocating. One son was driven to alcoholism and died early. By contrast, THE DONALD figured out a way to survive and thrive under those conditions. As Mary Trump describes it, he carried that dysfunctionality with him all of his life. One might note that he added his own shortcomings to the mix.

Future biographers will have a field day trying to determine what was nature and what was nurture (or its absence) in the upbringing of the child. Mary Trump says he has he emotional maturity of a three-year old.  But that doesn’t explain why he has the mental necessities and cognitive skills of an immature child. Being emotionally immature doesn’t explain the inability to read a briefing book or need someone to take the SATs. Mary Trump suspects a learning disorder but he may just have a child’s brain that is incapable of functioning at the adult level.

How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize these shortcomings?

Mary Trump writes of his uncle as the “court jester from Queens.”  She mocks his inability to succeed in business without his father’s help. One might add that after Fred’s death, the Russian mob filled in the financial gap. Mary Trump writes of the tension between the dependent son in the real world with image of THE DONALD he wanted to be real. She claims his bragging and false bravado were really directed towards his long-dead father: Look at me! I made it! Look how tough I am! Look how I beat up on women! Aren’t I a real man!!?

How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize that Little Donne Waney was an alpha male wannabee and not the real thing?

Mary Trump asserts that her uncle was trained to hunger endlessly for daddy’s approval. Now she claims that father has been replaced by father figures who remind him of his real father, father figures like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. Once Kim Jong-un was little rocket man and THE DONALD bragged of having a bigger rocket and button. Then they became “lovers.” Who knows what they are now. But Jong-un is a son who succeeded in his father’s business.

Putin is the number one alpha male on the world stage. People who observe Putin and his Pence together readily ascertain which one is the dominant male and which one is subservient. Bernstein writes: “Putin ‘just outplays’ him.” The alpha male wannabee is focused on building himself into a macho-macho man who Putin will respect. And it was always about him, never about the United States, its allies, or being leader of the free world.

How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize that he didn’t need to put the alpha male wannabee on the Russian payroll? Putin’s Pence would be a Russian asset all on his own, so pathetic was the American President’s need for Putin’s approval. The alpha male dominated the child inside the body of an adult.

The three-year old will never grow up.  He will yell at governors for being weak. He will demand that they dominate the protesters. He will insist they not be losers. Then he will show them the way by dominating Lafayette Square as no President in American history ever has done. Wouldn’t Fred be proud of his son’s success?

Putin undoubtedly realizes that the time of his Pence as President may be nearing an end. He can read briefing reports. Putin’s window of opportunity for exploiting the complicit President is closing. What will he do before his Pence leaves office? Will he seek a final hurrah when he knows the United States will not respond? Invade the Baltics? Given the weaknesses of his own country, there may be limits to what he can do. When all is said and done, this brief interlude when his Pence presided over the United States may be remembered as the time when an immature child in the body of an adult desperate for the approval of his dominating father tried to the best of his ability to help make Russia great again.

“PRESIDENT IS STILL A CHILD…” (Headline NYT July 8, 2020): YES! YES! YES!

I Can't Grow Up. I Can't Get into School on My Own (https://www.musicnotes.com)

The opening sentence in the article is: “President’s niece describes him in a much-awaited tell-all-book as a child in an adult’s body… 

The President is still a child! For months if not years, I have been saying that Little Donnee Waney is a child. For months if not years I have been saying that he does not act childish, he really is a child. For months if not years I have been saying that instead of political talking heads, people should interview child psychologists, 7th grade teachers, 7th grade guidance counselors. Now finally, at last, to see a headline in The New York Times asserting that the “President is a child” is like a dream come true. YES. YES HE IS. YES HE IS A CHILD. YES HE IS STILL A CHILD. THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!

My first major foray into the world of Little Donnee Waney, the child in the body of a man occurred in the blog Tom Hanks versus Our Immature Child-President (August 8, 2017) nearly three years ago. In that blog I compared the two 13 year-olds in bodies of adults, the one in a movie and the other in the real world. I analyzed them according to various attributes – Tom Hanks could read – and concluded:

Some of the silliest comments made on the cable talk shows have been “Now he has become presidential” or words to that effect. One has to laugh at the absurdity of such remarks. He was an ignorant immature child when his father sent him to military school in the vain hope that he would man up. He is an ignorant immature child now. He will be an ignorant immature child when he dies. And he still could be reelected in 2020 if the Democrats keep blaming Putin for their defeat and don’t have the vision to confront the shortcomings of their candidate and their party’s message.

These words have stood the test of time and even without the coronavirus the election isn’t over.

I returned to the theme earlier this year in Tom Hanks and Donald Trump, Round II (March 16, 2020). I wrote:

By contrast, Little Donnee Waney remained trapped, through no fault of his own, as an immature child in the body of an adult who never grew up. Consider these comments.

The comments referred to all the things an adult liar would never say because the adult liar would know they are false and they are easily proven false (15 becoming zero, miracle cure…). The immature child playing games in an imaginary world operates under different rules. SCHOOLS WILL OPEN! I SAID SO!

It’s not as if people were not aware of the shortcomings in his brain (New York Times Investigates the Brain of Donald Trump: President Has a Hissy Fit [April 15, 2020]). On the subject of his education, I wrote:

The key to leading him to knowledge appears to be the proverbial old-fashioned school marm. For all we know, Dr. Birx reminds him of teachers he had in elementary school, teachers before his father put in him military school in the vain hope that he would man up.

If he were in elementary school today, he would be classified as “special.” He proves the need for special-ed teachers who can give students the 1:1 time they need to be able to learn despite certain challenges.

This is consistent with Mary Trump’s suspicion that he “may have a long undiagnosed learning disability.”

We can observe the limits of his writing skills in his letter to Erdogan (Could Nancy Pelosi Become the First Female President?: A Constitutional Crisis April 3, 2020 [not likely now!]

Keep in mind the perfect third-grade letter to Erdogan which is going to figure prominently in the Unpresidential Library. This time we have another unsolicited public example of his cognitive skills. Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, refers to it as an “utterly childish letter” [to Schumer] He writes the letter “reads like a sort of Mad Libs you might fill out and leave in the locker of your 7th grade enemy.” Sounds exactly like something I would write about the seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck. In fact, it is what I have been writing in blog after blog! He is not childish, he is a child. He has the brain of one.

How about his analytical skills (Hannity versus Mueller: Who Is the Better Dot Connector? January 29, 2018)?

The Two Dot President

About a year ago during an international conference, the President of the United States wandered off to chat with the Premier of Russia. It was an unscripted unplanned exchange with no aides participating. What did the leaders of these two nuclear powers talk about? According to the American leader the subject of their discussion was adoptions. The Russians had restricted the ability of Americans to adopt Russian babies and the American President sought to discuss that issue with his Russian counterpart. It certainly sounded innocent enough.

As it turns out like father, like son. The son also had had a meeting with the Russians and guess what? The topic he addressed also was adoptions. Here we had two meetings and both involved not collusion, not the removal of sanctions, and not the refusal to enforce sanctions, but a sincere effort to help unfortunate (white) Americans who can’t have children to adopt (white) children from Russia. What could be more noble and inspiring than to have the father and son team pleading for the Russians to help these Americans?

Two dots had been connected. When the President of the United States concocted this coverup story he did so by connecting two dots, his meeting with a Russian and his son’s meeting with a Russian. We would be remiss if we ignored how proud he was to make this connection, to have connected these two meetings into a single story. The Very Stable Genius was practically beaming with joy at this display of his mental prowess. All by himself, he had fabricated a story that linked two dots.

For our Two Dot President, this story represents the limit of his mental skills. He can’t go beyond the two-dot limit. It is the maximum of which he is capable. Think of his transactional foreign policy. It’s not just that he is incapable of a policy of win-win, two plus two equals five, and synergy, it is that he is limited by his mental capacities to only being able to think in binary terms. He genuinely is incapable of exceeding his two-dot limit. For higher order thinking to make sense of a large world, the Very Stable Genius needs to outsource his thinking to someone capable of connecting more dots, to Sean Hannity.

His shortcomings in this area have been aggravated by his excessive use of Twitter. It has made a bad situation worse. Consider these excerpts from “The High School We Can’t Log Off From” (NYT, 8/5/18 Print) by Jennifer Senior which I wrote about in my blog Omarosa and the President: A Case of Arrested Development – Suppose Life Is Not a Journey? (August 17, 2018).

Should we be surprised that a man who’s so frequently compared to a needy adolescent has chosen Twitter as his favorite medium?

Clay Shirky, one of the shrewdest internet theorists around, has noted that the faster the medium is, the more emotional it gets. Twitter, as we know, is pretty fast, and therefore runs pretty hot. (Emotional tweets, research has shown, travel more swiftly than anodyne ones.) We often become creatures of our limbic systems when we tweet. Our self-regulation deserts us (been there); our prefrontal cortex, responsible for executive function and impulse control, goes offline; we become reward-seeking Scud missiles, addicts in search of a fix.

We become, in other words, teenagers, who are notoriously poor models of self-regulation — in large part because their prefrontal cortices are still developing and their dopamine circuits are pretty busy seeking stimulation. The psychologist Laurence Steinberg describes adolescents as “cars with powerful accelerators and weak brakes.” The neuroscientist BJ Casey deems them “more Kirk than Spock.”

Putting aside this misunderstanding of Kirk, the real problem is Senior’s continued examination of Little Donnee Waney as an adult who is regressing to teenage behavior. Instead he really is that needy adolescent who never reached adulthood. Perhaps Senior will interview Mary Trump once the latter is able to speak publicly.

There is some valuable new information reported in the book. I always assumed Fred Trump made a donation to the University of Pennsylvania to obtain entrance for his “challenged” son. He still may have. Now we know how the transactional approach worked – the son hired someone to take his SATs. Will that person come forward? Undoubtedly, he also paid people at college so he could stay in college, maybe even with great grades, maybe not. Will those people come forward? Would you want to come forward if you helped “The World’s Most Dangerous Man”?

This information reveals that there was a time when THE DONALD knew he was not a very stable genius. Paying people to take tests is evidence that he lived in the real world and was aware of his limitations. There was a time when he knew he was not the smartest person in the room. This understanding raises the possibility that now he has lived his life as THE DONALD for so long, he is a permanent resident of his imaginary world scarcely in touch with the real world. He has become an episode of the Twilight Zone. He needs the professional political wrestling arena to live.

We also now know that Fred Trump would support a loser. Mary Trump paints a scary picture of the father. He demanded his children be winners or else. Yet he knew his son was a LOSER each and every time he incrementally gave the equivalent of $413 million in total to him. He knew his son was a LOSER each and every time one of his son’s businesses failed. He knew his son was a LOSER each and every time he interfered behind the scene.

“He is and always will be a terrified little boy,” according to Mary Trump. Exactly. Every decision he makes should be understood through this prism. And it’s only going to get worse for him. The real world is closing in on him in every judicial decision, every poll, and every coronavirus death. Imagine the shock the terrified little boy will experience that first time the jail doors slam on him at Rikers.