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The pyromania of Donald Trump


US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN / AFP

President Donald Trump sows chaos and turmoil at home and abroad. The common thread in both arenas characterising his young and bedraggled Administration is his uncontrollable penchant for lighting “fires” everywhere. Had this disturbing trait caused actual fires, the perpetrator would have been diagnosed as having a disability known as “pyromania” which is defined as follows: “An impulse control disorder in which individuals repeatedly fail to resist impulses to deliberately start fires to relieve tension or for instant gratification.” (Wikipedia) Society has recognized that such individuals are a danger to themselves and the general populace. They neither create nor nurture, but engender widespread fear whilst causing the tragic destruction of lives and property.

Trump stokes several fires with his litany of dark and catastrophic domestic rhetoric and actions, which includes dangerous attacks on hitherto unassailable bedrock institutions of American democracy, against the backdrop of a failed and epileptic legislative agenda. Should this aberrant trend continue and the blazes coalesce, the resulting cauldron will make the Civil Rights era violence and Vietnam War protests seem tame in comparison. To compound matters further, Trump’s legendary, uncontrollable and self-defeating impulses call his fitness for office into question. Allegedly, his ‘’minders’’ in the White House floated the proposition of seizing his twitter device, the source of many of his strange and oftentimes twilight hour, incendiary statements and allegations. This would obviously be a pathetic, desperate attempt to prevent Trump from engaging in further explosive and un-presidential acts by tweeting whimsically, erratically or indecipherably.


The urgency to impede Trump from carrying out his “modus operandi” is no doubt based on the well founded premise that he would quickly wilt under the heat of the current U.S. Senate testimony of former FBI Director, James Comey relating to the byzantine Russia probe. His inner circle’s proposed “twitter” sleight of hand is not only quite telling of Trump’s fragile state of mind, but also sadly underscores the unconscionable and indeed unpatriotic complicity of his enablers. One would like to believe that members of his Administration are well meaning, albeit misguided “babes in the wood.” However, this excuse would be patently disingenuous, as these actors contemptuously and defiantly put self-interest, party politics and personality cult ahead of bona fides, duty and country. The irrefutable truth is that the suspicious and possibly untoward Russia ties of indispensable members of Trump’s Presidential campaign, which continued into his transition period as President-elect, and by his own public admission, informed his decision as President to fire Comey, have given impetus to the ongoing Congressional hearings. Moreover, Trump’s summary and puzzling termination of Comey’s tenure, was the tipping point that led to the appointment of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, a former FBI Director. Mueller’s mandate is not only to investigate “all things Russia,” but also to determine whether there is a prima facie case for an “obstruction of justice” charge. Essentially, in order to quench an existing fire, Trump has lit an even greater fire in a series of political and personal maladroitness.


Trump’s actions on the world stage have not fared any better. At the recent NATO summit in Brussels, he berated member nations, dressing them down for not paying enough for their defence, whilst refusing to reaffirm Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which stipulates that an attack on one is an attack on all. The downgrading of the Alliance was capped by the diminishing of the office and person of the Prime minister of Montenegro, whom Trump manhandled so as to position himself front and center, in the line-up for the obligatory photo opportunity of the august gathering. The juxtaposing of Trump’s trouncing of NATO members on the world stage, with his public and unrestrained praise of tyrants such as Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Turkey’s Recip Erdogan, is extremely troubling and may be construed as ‘’carte blanche” by potential despots, any one of whom would be capable of igniting genocidal conflagrations. Their murderous intentions would be buoyed by an apparent weakening of NATO’s resolve and capabilities to prevent crimes against humanity in the age of Trump.

The recent London Bridge terrorist attack left the UK reeling and elicited messages of kindness, support and calls for unity from world leaders which were sent to the UK leadership, particularly, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan. In the midst of the ensuing turmoil and outpouring of grief, Trump wrote a waspish tweet in which he mocked and unfairly disparaged the visibly and audibly distraught Muslim mayor. The tweet was a deliberate, unveiled attempt to sow discord and ill-feeling in the UK, which has a minority population of racially and religiously diverse communities. This act of perfidy is very disconcerting for British Commonwealth member states, many of which have sizable integrated, thriving communities living peaceably in the UK. The show of indignation and disgust following Trump’s “London Bridge” tweet outburst was swift and palpable. On June 12, 2017 in analyzing the status of the proposed state visit of Mr. and Mrs Trump later in the year to the UK, Kate McCann of “The Telegraph” opined that it is expected that the visit would be put on hold as a result of overwhelming, unfavourable public opinion against Trump. In the immediate aftermath of the derisory tweet, on June 5, 2017 John Cassidy of “The New Yorker,” posed the question ‘’How low can he stoop?” In my considered opinion, the answer is short and pedestrian, to wit, as low as is necessary to light brush or forest, domestic and international fires.

• Fowler is an International lawyer.


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