President Donald Trump’s mental health since losing the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a new analysis by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker that was published online Saturday.
“Over the past week, President Trump posted or reposted more than 130 messages on Twitter lashing out at the results of an election he lost. He mentioned the coronavirus pandemic now reaching its darkest hours four times — and even then just to assert that he was right about the outbreak and the experts were wrong,” Baker reported under the headline, “Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial.”
“Moody and by accounts of his advisers sometimes depressed, the president barely shows up to work, ignoring the health and economic crises afflicting the nation and largely clearing his public schedule of meetings unrelated to his desperate bid to rewrite the election results. He has fixated on rewarding friends, purging the disloyal and punishing a growing list of perceived enemies that now includes Republican governors, his own attorney general and even Fox News,” he explained. “The final days of the Trump presidency have taken on the stormy elements of a drama more common to history or literature than a modern White House. His rage and detached-from-reality refusal to concede defeat evoke images of a besieged overlord in some distant dictatorship defiantly clinging to power rather than going into exile or an erratic English monarch imposing his version of reality on his cowed court.”
Baker suggested Trump’s decline was Shakespearean.
“At times, Mr. Trump’s railing-against-his-fate outbursts seem like a story straight out of William Shakespeare, part tragedy, part farce, full of sound and fury. Is Mr. Trump a modern-day Julius Caesar, forsaken by even some of his closest courtiers? (Et tu, Bill Barr?) Or a King Richard III who wars with the nobility until being toppled by Henry VII? Or King Lear, railing against those who do not love and appreciate him sufficiently? How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless electorate,” he quipped.
Baker even interviewed Harvard Shakespearean scholar Jeffrey R. Wilson.
“This is classic Act V behavior,” said Wilson. “The forces are being picked off and the tyrant is holed up in his castle and he’s growing increasingly anxious and he feels insecure and he starts blustering about his legitimate sovereignty and he starts accusing the opposition of treason.”
Russia scholar Alina Polyakova, the president of the Center for European Policy Analysis, said Trump’s withdraw from public view echoed a similar move by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Both also seem to be living in alternate realities surrounded only by those who confirm those realities,” Polyakova said. “But whereas one brooder will weather a slow and long decline, the other is increasingly facing a rapid decline and scrambling to do what he can to save his family and loyalists — and of course himself.”
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