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Clickbait Fuels Obsession on Biden's Age

Froma Harrop on

The special counsel report claiming that Joe Biden's memory had seriously declined stinks to high political heaven. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe saw "nauseating similarities" to the agency's investigation of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

To recap, 11 days before the 2016 election, then-FBI director James Comey said that the investigation of Clinton's handling of classified emails -- previously settled as careless, not criminal -- was back on. Then two days before the election, Comey says, Never mind. Nothing criminal after all.

Yes, Biden sometimes mixes things up. But I don't recall the "liberal media" turning Donald Trump's far more serious confusions into their lead stories, much less call them "politically devasting" -- as The New York Times branded this highly suspect report even before the ink dried.

Believe me, I'd rather not be having this conversation.

But Trump thought that he ran against Barack Obama. He confused Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi. And he expressed fears that Biden would lead us into World War II, now nearly 80 years in the past. That shows, cognitively speaking, a far more desperate situation.

The counsel's report noted that Biden identified the leader of Egypt as the president of Mexico. But The Times couldn't even get that right. It said Biden "mixed up Mexico and the Middle East." He didn't mix up the places, which would have been more worrisome. He mixed up the leaders' names.

 

There's long been a grading curve that protects Trump from his ignorance and troubled thought processes. And yes, Trump confused the leaders of Turkey and Hungary.

Most concerning about Trump's firehose of fabrications and malice is what they say about his underlying mental health. Psychologists say Trump checks the boxes for "malignant narcissist," a severe personality disorder.

Malignant narcissists are known for their aggression, pleasure in hurting others, antisocial behavior, easy lying and, above all, a sick need to be the center of attention all the time. They habitually accuse others of what they are accused of.

The psychologist Erich Fromm coined the term "malignant narcissist" in 1964. It's destructiveness, he said, made it "the quintessence of evil."

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