The Ongoing ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’

September 17, 2021 Updated: September 22, 2021

Commentary

The disease in its pandemic form is far from over. Our former hopes of its eradication and a return to normalcy in the new year now appear forlorn. We shall just have to live with it for the foreseeable future, it seems.

President Joe Biden, it’s true, has told us that, although the virus “has been hitting this country hard, we have the tools to combat the virus if we can come together as a country and use those tools.” But he was only talking about the coronavirus and not the much less controllable but equally virulent virus that causes Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) on a near-pandemic scale.

That’s something against which we appear to have no “tools” at all. Indeed, the president himself is an unrelieved sufferer from “long-haul” TDS, as he showed in this same speech by enthusiastically participating in the “pandemic politics” he decried in others and implying that former President Donald Trump’s efforts against the coronavirus—including Operation Warp Speed, which developed the vaccines he was now mandating—had been unavailing until he came along.

By thus politicizing his own anti-COVID efforts, did he somehow imagine he was going to persuade vaccine skeptics to trust themselves to his good faith in recommending them to get immunized?

Of course, it’s no surprise to learn that this president’s case of TDS is a terminal one, but the disease struck again two days later in an unexpected place: Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

There, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington of Sept. 11, 2001, former President George W. Bush strongly implied that he had chosen to align himself with one of the worst of the hallucinations caused by TDS-fever-delirium by suggesting an equivalence between the events of 20 years previously (death toll 2,977) and those of the Capitol riot of Jan. 6 (death toll 1).

If there’s anyone in the whole world with a better reason to resist the politicization of the 20th-anniversary commemoration of 9/11 than former President Bush, I don’t know who it is. That, surely, is the province of the Bush haters—sufferers from Bush Derangement Syndrome, which was to TDS what SARS-CoV-1 was to SARS-CoV-2—who suggest that his response to the attacks, if he didn’t himself conspire with the attackers, was politically motivated.

But he just couldn’t help himself, could he? That’s long-haul TDS for you. Once that poison enters your mind, you can never get it out again. Or so it seems.

The latest virus hot spot to show up is in California, where a majority appear to have declined to recall a governor generally acknowledged even by some Democrats to be one of the worst in the country, solely because—according to the pundits, anyway—his principal opponent had some nice things to say about the Bad Orange Man from Mar-a-Lago.

Let us live a little longer, the Californians said, with the wildfires and the soaring crime rates and the invasions of the homeless and the oppressive anti-COVID measures wished on us by people who don’t observe them themselves. At least Gov. Gavin Newsom still hates Trump as much as we do.

While you might think that the delirium caused by such a cruel disease could grow no worse than this, you would be wrong. The worst case must belong to those Democratic pundits who are euphoric over the Californian demonstration of mass insanity, because they think it foreshadows the salvation, presumably by an even wider spread of TDS, of the Democratic majorities in Congress.

Perhaps the best-known symptom of TDS is that it utterly and permanently deprives you of your sense of shame. That’s how it must have happened that the 9/11 anniversary commemoration at the Pentagon was led by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley—two of the last people on earth whom the bereaved of 9/11 would be likely to want to see in such a place at such a time, after their return of Afghanistan to the terrorists.

We didn’t even know at the time quite how bad or long-lasting was Milley’s case of TDS. That information only came out a few days later, when Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported on the general’s alleged collusion with his Chinese counterpart to inform him in advance of any plans for a U.S. attack on China.

I know, I know. Woodward. Right? You should never trust a word he writes unless it’s confirmed by at least two independent witnesses. But we do have the general’s own witness in his testimony to Congress last June. As I wrote in these pages at the time, Milley showed that he was as totally on board with the Democrats’ narrative of “insurrection” at the Capitol as he was with their effort to propagandize our armed forces with critical race theory and to purge them of “extremists.”

We knew then that he saw Trump-supporters as a security threat to the nation, so it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise as it would otherwise seem if we now learn that he was prepared to disregard the Constitution, his oath of office, his honor as a soldier and loyalty to his country and its civilian leadership, all in the belief that Trump was the real national security threat.

Whether it was treasonable or not, as Trump himself has suggested it was, the general’s alleged act—assuming, as I say, that we can trust Woodward—was clearly that of a sick man. If there was a 25th Amendment for generals, there would be a clear case for his removal from his duties on grounds of mental incompetency—even if you ignore the Woodward allegations and concentrate on his already having signed onto the 9/11 = 1/6 equivalency and his monumental screw-up of the Afghanistan pullout.

Arguably, this was itself partly a product of the TDS. For if all things Trump are bad and all things not-Trump are good, it’s still the case that a not-Trump thing that goes bad, like the Afghan debacle, can still be blamed on Trump, as Biden attempted to do. Some sufferers from the illness in California might even have believed him.

If only there were an Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine against TDS! But no such luck.

“Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d?” asks Macbeth of his wife’s doctor. Alas, no—no more today than 400 years ago. As the doctor says: “Therein the patient must minister to himself.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

James Bowman
James Bowman
James Bowman is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The author of “Honor: A History,” he is a movie critic for The American Spectator and the media critic for The New Criterion.