At long last a grand jury indicted Donald Trump on four counts outlining his attempt to overturn a legitimate presidential election and illegally remain in power.
It was one of the most important days in American history, a beautiful day, sunny and mild, perfect for a stroll through my neighborhood. Toward the end of my walk a car pulled alongside, rolled down the window, and I recognized a local media personality who frequently covers politics. They asked me, “So, are you happy now?” This person knew that I published many op-eds concerning the former president and that I wrote a book about Donald Trump’s mental pathology based on a career as a military clinician.
I had to be honest.
There was some relief in hearing about the long-necessary move toward justice, but we are far from a conviction, let alone prison, for someone who knows far too much to be free and someone who we recently discovered shared the most highly classified military secrets with individuals with no security clearance.
I have been frustrated and lobbying for over seven years because the reason for each illegal act, and eventually treason (the crime of betraying one’s country by attempting to overthrow the government), is rooted in the one thing that is still not part of our national dialogue — the easily provable fact that Donald Trump meets all of the criteria for the two most serious psychiatric diagnoses: antisocial and narcissistic personality disorder.
These diagnoses would have been an obligatory discharge from the United States military we allowed him to command; or he would have gone to prison for crimes such as sexual assault or disclosing highly classified information. This indictment, like his two impeachments, is an open and shut case from the beginning to end, but as we witnessed with his two acquittals, justice is not guaranteed.
It is necessary for the sake of American history that the judicial process moves forward and that we get an American jury of our peers to bring down the verdict, but I am exhausted from witnessing the obvious and waiting what seems like an eternity for justice in the case of Donald J. Trump vs. the United States. We must wait on the lawyers, but this 45 page indictment tells us what we already should have known from the January 6th Report and watching the events of January 6th on television. The indictment is comprehensive but these are the simple minimum facts necessary: The defendant went to the Ellipse and gave a speech about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election that was not only completely fallacious, but that he knew was false after repeatedly being told by the DOJ that each of his claims had been investigated and debunked. He deliberately proceeded to deceive the crowd anyway. When the crowd marched to the Capitol as he instructed them, the president then watched the violent assault of the Capitol for hours and not only did nothing to stop the violence but continued to communicate the lie that his vice president could certify illegal electors to guarantee their administration stay in power. Despite the extreme violence, the multiple serious injuries sustained by law enforcement, the breaking and entering of the Capitol building, the evacuation of the Vice President and members of Congress to protect them from injury, the president ended the day by telling the mob that they were special and that he loved them. This is not merely evidence of guilt in this indictment. It is proof of the most serious, yet least known mental pathology.
William Butler Yates said in his poem, “The Second Coming,” that “the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.” We witnessed the passionate intensity of a White Supremacist mob on January 6th, and we are also witnessing some of our best lack enough conviction to help save this Republic by opposing the leader of the insurrection.
Two people had the conviction to live up to their oath of office, Mike Pence and William Barr, one certifying the election rather than follow an illegal order to decertify, and the other by resigning rather than being part of a coup attempt and an illegal order to weaponize the DOJ. However, both men, in the 24 hours following the indictment, have simultaneously confirmed that they made the right decision, yet refuse to condemn the perpetrator of the greatest crime since Jefferson Davis. The GOP leadership has fallen in line with a strategy that is a losing formula because it fulfills the objective of Vladimir Putin’s cyber warfare, namely, dividing the American people and undermining our belief in the electoral process. They are afraid of offending a base that believes the Big Lie that candidate Trump won an election he lost.
I remain convinced the base can only be moved by leadership who strongly, aggressively, and repeatedly articulate what they have already confirmed on record. William Barr testified to the January 6th committee that he told the president that there was no election fraud in any of the 50 states that could change the outcome of the election. And Mike Pence has declared that his family was put in danger, that he chose the Constitution over Donald Trump and that anyone who would force you to make that choice is unfit to be president. Mitch McConnell could also help sway the base by repeating what he was capable of for one shining moment on January 7th when he went on record holding Trump responsible for the insurrection. Senator McConnell’s wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chou, resigned from the Cabinet of January 7th, for the same reason. She, and a handful of others were oh-so-close to the truth when they bantered about the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment in those hours after the violent assault on our most sacred institution — the peaceful transfer of power. We are way overdue for the inconvenient truth necessary for course correction. I am convinced that we cannot see our way through this assault on democracy until GOP leadership understands that they are not dealing merely with a mentally competent yet corrupt politician, like Richard Nixon, but that against all odds, for the first time in American history we had the first Commander in Chief mentally unfit for command.