In damning New York Daily News editorial on Friday, author Michael D’Antonio warned Americans that Donald Trump‘s impulsive nature won’t temper itself once he assumed the mantle of the presidency.
“The President-elect probably cannot control himself,” D’Antonio, who was also Trump’s biographer, wrote. “I interviewed him for six hours when writing a biography, and I mean that literally.”
In the piece titled, “Critics of Trump’s nasty Twitter attacks miss the point: He simply cannot stop even if he wanted to,” D’Antonio points out the potential danger that comes along with a president who uses his Twitter account to target individual Americans.
“With his itchy Twitter finger, Trump made a working guy in Indiana a target for any crazy person willing to seize on the information he sent out — the man’s name and union local — to harass him, In a week when someone acted on a false social-media-driven conspiracy theory by bringing guns to break up a supposed child abuse ring at a pizza joint, in Washington, D.C., Trump’s behavior seems reckless in the extreme,” D’Antonio wrote.
According to D’Antonio, Trump’s inability to self-sooth when he’s attacked or criticized is almost pathological.
“Long an advocate of responding “10 times harder” when his feelings are hurt — and they are very easily hurt — Trump has a tendency to strike with massive force without much concern for the size or vulnerability of the person in his sights. I suspect this is because the pain he feels when criticized doesn’t depend on the source. No matter who speaks out, he cannot bear disapproval.”
An example is Trump’s Twitter tirade against Indiana labor official Chick Jones, who’s received death threats as a result.
“Unseemly and irresponsible in a candidate, Trump’s overreactions are downright dangerous when they come from someone with the power he now possesses. Besides the obvious danger that arises when a president or President-elect paints a rhetorical target on a citizen’s back, we have to consider the civic damage done when people are made afraid to speak their mind about a political leader,” he continued.
D’Antonio then compared Trump to a drug addict, except the president-elect’s fix comes from the rush of attention he gets whenever he tweets — a fix that he can’t control or stop.
“Trump, who has long been addicted to attention, had found a new, super-potent form of it in social media. This hit was not only powerful; it was available in an endless supply that he could access at will.”
“He no longer had to manipulate journalists and wait for them to act,” D’Antonio wrote. “He could tap out a few words and get what he wanted immediately. It reminded me of psychologist B.F. Skinner’s experiments with chickens that learned to push a button with their beaks for the reward of a food pellet. Once they had trained themselves, the birds couldn’t stop pecking even when the pellets no longer came and they injured themselves.”
Just like Skinner’s animal test subjects, Trump knows he can get what he wants, regardless of the consequences.
“Those who ask if he will stop scouring the press for evidence of enemies and using his power in an indiscriminate ways should stop thinking of him as a conventional politician and start looking at him as a chicken.”
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