Psychos on the Potomac

Posted June 16, 2018 3:07 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — A new study from Southern Methodist University says the nation’s capital has more psychopaths per person than anyplace else in the country.

No surprise there.

Psychopathy is defined in the study as a “Temperamental and Uninhibited Region.” Which is the perfect description of the Trump reality distortion field where we all now dwell.

The study notes that “psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere” and that “the occupations that were most disproportionately psychopathic were CEO, lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant.”

So if a chief executive, salesman and media personality becomes a politician, he’s hitting four of the highest-risk categories.

This might explain why it was another insane week in Trumpworld and why, redolent of Seabiscuit in the Depression, people were finding hope rooting for a raccoon climbing to the top of a Minnesota skyscraper. Turns out another spunky Twin Cities female was going to make it after all.

The week started with the Summit of the Cruel Scions, following the Summit of the Scorned Allies, with President Donald Trump “crashing around the world like a hormonal musk ox,” as The Financial Times put it. (And that was a positive appraisal.)

Next came the soul-deadening inversion of American values, when Jeff Sessions and Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited the Bible to justify ripping children from their parents at the border — including a baby being breast-fed by her Honduran mother. The Statue of Liberty wept.

Sessions is on a vile tear. A week ago, he vitiated the policy that made it possible to give asylum to women who are victims of domestic abuse or who are raped or threatened by the sort of gang members Trump decries as “animals.”

By Friday, the narrative had corkscrewed to Paul Manafort getting thrown in a cooler here for witness-tampering and reports that Michael Cohen, who has said his “glory days” with Trump were helping him think of mean tweets about Rosie O’Donnell, could flip on his former don.

The week was capped, naturally, with a Giuliani aria — “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” Rudy told The Daily News in New York — and by the usual torrent of whiny, delusional, deceptive, self-exalting tweets by Trump.

In between, we had jolts to the system spurred by the things that always make people here go bonkers: hubris (You know it, Comey); sex (Looking at you, Peter and Lisa), alienation of affection (Hi, Melania and Michael Cohen) and greed (Heads up, Trumps and Kushners).

Jonathan Swift said, “A wise man should have money in his head but not in his heart.” The Trumps have green running through their veins.

They have succeeded in superseding conflicts of interest with confluences of interest. Ethics bore this crew. The White House is just another business opportunity.

Once upon a time, it was scandalous to see Reagan image wizard Mike Deaver posing in a limo in front of the Capitol for a Time cover story headlined “Cashing In on Top Connections,” showing off his success with post-White House lobbying, and to see Obama social secretary Desirée Rogers referring to the classy president as a “brand.”

Over the past week, we learned that Javanka have been profiting handsomely while doing whatever it is they do in the White House. In their first year in public service, their total income from investments was between $82 million and $222 million. Ethics watchdogs are daily distraught over who is financing these investments.

Ivanka raked in $3.9 million from her stake in the D.C. Trump hotel, which was saved from a shaky start by becoming the inevitable destination for foreign dignitaries and others seeking to flatter and enrich a White House that revolves around flattery and riches.

We knew Trump was a skinflint and a grifter. But the New York attorney general deeply documented just how cheesy he and his children are with a suit accusing the Trump charitable foundation of illegal behavior and self-dealing. It was just what Trump always accused the Clintons of doing.

The supposed nonprofit was little more than a Trump piggy bank used to settle legal claims and pay off political backers. The good news for Trump was that the prosecutor proposed that he be banned from charitable activities — a fine excuse for someone who obviously wants nothing to do with charity.

Trump has also proved once again that he can turn Washington upside down and inside out. He has somehow managed to get Republicans in a position where they are cooing over his overtures to North Korea — overtures for which they would have impeached Barack Obama — and looking the other way while he upends the free trade policy that has been party dogma for decades. Meanwhile, the usually peacenik Democrats are assailing Trump for deigning to talk nice with Kim.

Asked by a Fox anchor what he was going to be doing on Father’s Day, the president replied, “I’m going to be actually calling North Korea.”

It makes sense if you think about it: A wannabe dictator who took over the family business from a dictatorial father talking to a real dictator who took over the family business from a dictatorial father.

Happy Father’s Day.

Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR