Here's how we can neutralize Trump during his dangerous last month in office
His diagnosis is clear. The remedies for his pernicious impact on America are clear as well.
In just over a month from now, Donald Trump — a malignant narcissist— will be removed from office by the will of the people and by the Constitution. Until then, his seditious, conspiratorial and corrupt influence will be front and center. He continues to promulgate the false narrative that victory in the election was snatched away from him by widespread voter fraud. He keeps filing baseless and frivolous lawsuits, even as high as the U.S. Supreme Court. He is ginning up his supporters, and at least 126 congressional Republicans have publicly supported him, out of a combination of misguided loyalty, opportunism and fear. Joe Biden will be our next president, but it is undeniable that Trump will exert a dangerous and destructive presence to his final day in office, and beyond.
It is unhealthy for us to sit back passively and allow this soon-to-be ex-president to continue to inflict damage on America. Trump's abusive impact is not unavoidable. It can be stopped.
Ten remedies exist to deal with Trump in his final days.
- The media must stop giving him attention. They must stop covering his every utterance. No more videos, audios, print stories or interviews. Attention is Trump's oxygen and lifeblood. He cannot negatively influence others if his visibility is curtailed or ended. If Trump organizes an alternative inauguration or a "campaign rally" on Jan. 20, it must not be broadcast or covered in any way. Bizarre and anti-American activities must not be given credibility. It must remain a part of his pathological fantasyland — not a part of our political and social reality.
- Americans can do their part by not watching or listening to him. Turn off the television and the radio. Do not watch him on social media. He is old news. He is irrelevant. His message must be abhorred and soundly repudiated.
- His Twitter account should be suspended. Stopping his Twitter activity would go a long way to neutralizing his impact. Trump tweets frequently — it is his most direct way to stay in contact with the public. His tweeting must be interrupted for the good of the country.
- Facebook and other social media platforms must do a better job of rooting out disinformation. Trump supporters have been ramped up by false and toxic rhetoric. That is unhealthy for them, and for the country. Making money as a business is one thing; contributing to seditious unrest in the country is another. Social media platforms must assume a more responsible role in our democracy.
- The mainstream media needs to allow mental health professionals to speak out. Experts have been almost entirely blocked out. It is long overdue to hear from professionals in the mental health field. Duty to warn the public is far more compelling than the outdated "Goldwater rule." Let experts be at the forefront of the discussion about this destructive and irrational traitor.
- Congressional Republicans need to put country over party and begin to speak out — loudly and forcefully. They need to abide by their oath of office. They need to find courage and boldness in Trump's final days. They must condemn his anti-democratic rhetoric and behavior. Loyalty to him is unacceptable. Fear of him is weakness.
- A small group of congressional Republicans need to speak with Trump in private and compel him to stop his rhetoric, concede the election and participate in the peaceful and orderly transfer of power. That's what Sen. Barry Goldwater and other Republican leaders did with Richard Nixon at the end of his presidency. These Republicans would be remembered as heroes.
- If Trump does not heed the private warning, he should be publicly asked to resign. Invoking the 25th Amendment remains a viable option.
- Trump needs to resign and allow Mike Pence to finish out the last few weeks of his term. He may well do this anyway, so that Pence can pardon Trump and his entire family. Regardless of how distasteful that is, it would at least get him out of the Oval Office and extricate ourselves from his dictatorial maneuvers.
- Finally, Americans should speak out and contact their elected officials to let them know that it is time for Trump to either shut his mouth or resign. Let your opinions be known. Being a citizen in a representative democracy requires active participation. Make a phone call or send an email.
It's fine that Trump does not want to attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. He does not deserve to witness it. We should demand that he slither away through the back door of the White House so that we do not have to endure his parting rants and raves.
The Trump nightmare is coming to an end. Let us hasten his exit from the scene. He has done too much damage to our institutions and to the collective psyche of America to tolerate this any longer.
Achieving a sense of closure from this man's malevolence will take time. It will not happen overnight. His pathological impact will dwindle slowly as we go forward. Positive, optimistic and hopeful political discourse will lead the way. We cannot remain hostage to his era of divisiveness and regressive decay.
Trump must be held accountable. He must be prosecuted for his crimes. That is the only way to demonstrate to all Americans — both those who support him and those who do not— that his criminal behavior has serious consequences.
Trump has done this to himself. He is not the victim. He uses victimhood to garner sympathy and to enlist the support of others who feel aggrieved. Victimhood is a deeply cynical process when it is false, fake and manipulative. It always is for him.
Trump's place in the history books is set. "Worst president in history" will be in every first and last paragraph. It will be his unchanging legacy.
So let us put Donald Trump in the rearview mirror sooner rather than later, where he belongs. As we do that, let us remember the 300,000 fallen Americans who will not be celebrating the holiday season, or our new dawn in America, with the rest of us. Their memories will be a constant reminder of what we have endured — and overcome.
ALAN D. BLOTCKY
Alan D. Blotcky, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Alabama.
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SETH D. NORRHOLM
Seth D. Norrholm is an associate professor of psychiatry in the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
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Anthony Scaramucci is a financier and past White House director of communications. He lives in Washington.
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