Do you remember that movie “Network” in which Howard Beale, a television reporter, roared, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” and threatens to commit suicide on the air to boost ratings?

Or how about the novel “Moby Dick” in which Captain Ahab exhorted his men to pursue a great white whale, seeking revenge because he had lost a leg to that creature?

The emotional maelstroms of Howard Beale and Captain Ahab evoke the behavior of one Donald J. Trump. I’ve often suggested that Trump is a con man, and nothing that he has said or done since he assumed the presidency last January has changed that view.

Now I must go further. Donald Trump is also a madman, clearly in need of psychological help, a ticking time bomb, madly pursuing his own “white whale,” which is to say any person or organization that does not worship at his feet. Anger is his driving force, revenge his major fuel.

Think the term “madman” is too harsh? Consider the evidence:

For openers, if you didn’t vote for Donald Trump, you did him wrong and you must pay. He has made absolutely no effort to serve as president of the entire country, preferring to play to his rabid base, the people who forgive his every lie and ignore his every trampling on the Constitution. With Trump it’s always “us” against “them.”

And then there’s Trump’s animosity toward Barack Obama. I maintain that Trump decided to run for President when President Obama mocked him about the birth certificate flap at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. Trump is bent on undoing all of Obama’s achievements to get back: health care, the Iran deal, the Dream Act and on and on. Again, revenge moves this pitiful little man.

And what about Trump’s attempt to out bully North Korea’s uber bully, Kim Jongun? Some observers claim that Trump wants to start a war, no matter the cost in human lives. But we’re not just talking a “war” here; we’re talking a nuclear catastrophe. It’s no surprise that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to Trump as a “(expletive deleted) moron” after a meeting in which Trump claimed to want 10 times the current nuclear capability. That’s not normal. That’s not diplomacy. That’s madness.

And what about Trump’s constant bashing of any media outlet that takes him on. He calls the New York Times the “failing New York Times,” financial facts notwithstanding. He threatens to pull the broadcasting license of NBC even though he has no power to do so. His recent media outburst even prompted Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, to ask, “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took in January to preserve, protect and defend the First Amendment?”

And then there’s Trump’s childish response to the actions of peaceful protests by a few football players during the national anthem. There’s a back story here in addition to the fact that the players were African-American. Trump had run up against NFL owners in the past and, true to form, he wanted to get revenge by belittling them. Any president who gives dissing peaceful protestors higher priority than assisting the people of Puerto Rico during an unimaginable natural disaster deserves the label, “mad man.”

Trump voters who disagree with my Trump-is-a-mad-man conclusion might want to consider the words of a few rightward thinking people. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona: “We pretended the emperor wasn’t naked. Even worse, we checked our critical faculties at the door and pretended that the emperor made sense.”

Flake’s fellow Senator John McCain describes Trump’s foreign policy as a “half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who wold rather find scapegoats than solve problem.”

Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee wryly noted that the White House is an “adult day care center.” That comment earned Corker the sobriquet “Liddle Bob Corker” from the tweeter-in-chief. It’s not nice to fool Father Bombast.

Peggy Noonan, speechwriter for the GOP icon Ronald Reagan, wrote, “Half the tweets he’s written are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.”

Former President George W. Bush weighed in: “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.’

Conservative commentator George Will hit it right: “Trump’s energy, untouched by intellect and untethered to principle, serves only his sovereign interest to pander to those who adore him as much as he does. Un-mistakenly smitten, they are impervious to the Everest of evidence that he disdains them as a basket of gullibles.”

Donald Trump. Smart businessman trying to do his best on behalf of the American people or madman run amok? I’ve made up my mind. Have you?

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]



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