Alan D. Blotcky

Here's the dark lesson Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and the entire GOP learned from their former master

Sen. Ted Cruz is a proud disciple of Donald Trump's legacy to America — his weaponization of alternate reality. In recent days, Cruz has been positively Trumpian in his betrayal and lack of empathy regarding his family's getaway to a beach resort in Mexico while his state was paralyzed by a catastrophic winter storm. To make matters worse, Cruz championed an alternate reality by concocting different versions of the "truth" with a web of lies and shifting blame to his children. For now, his alternate reality appears to have won the day.

Sen. Ron Johnson claims that the mood among the demonstrators at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was largely "positive," and that there were "fake Trump protesters" in the crowd. In proclaiming this blatant falsehood, Johnson is egging on the millions of Trump supporters who still believe that the election was stolen from their leader. Alternate reality lives on.

At the conclusion of Trump's second impeachment trial, h was acquitted for his role in the insurrection at the Capitol. Despite being presented with mountains of audio and video evidence from that fateful day, 43 out of 50 Republican senators voted to exonerate him. It was not just cowardice or foolishness that led to their votes. No, they made a purposeful decision to follow their cult leader into the abyss of his alternate reality. According to Trump, his speech that morning to the escalating mob was "totally appropriate." Alternate reality triumphed over observable truth on center stage.

Trump has created his alternate reality to bolster his fragile ego and to advance his political fortunes. He has used it to cover up his evident character defects and to persuade others to believe in his greatness and superiority. His "reality" consists of "big lies," small lies, conspiracy theories, misinformation, propaganda, false narratives and violence. He is masterful — although deeply corrupt — at blurring and even shattering truth for his political advantage. In Trump's fantasyland, there is no oversight, no accountability and no laws that apply to him. The means justify the ends. Anything he says or does is acceptable as long as it brings him attention, adoration, profit and power.

Unfortunately for our country, Trump's use of alternate reality has become the ideology of the Republican Party and nearly half of all Americans. This explains why most of the party and legions of followers still support a man who has been impeached twice, botched the deadly coronavirus pandemic, crashed the economy and incited an insurrection against our government. This is what happens when a demagogue promulgates a "reality" that carries the weight of the presidency but is inherently toxic and pernicious.

A large swath of America has adopted and internalized Trump's use of alternate reality. Millions of Americans have been brainwashed into accepting his distorted reality. They view Trump as their cult leader who possesses the qualities of greatness. They believe in his alternate reality — even his blatant lies, his outlandish conspiracy theories and his provocation of violence. And now, they believe that the use of alternate reality by both politicians and followers is smart and effective strategy.

Trump's alternate reality is wholly malignant and dangerous because it undermines objective truth. It is a myth. It is an illusion. Trump is a salesman, a carnival barker, a con man. He has no interest in people, policy or public service. All he cares about is selling himself — his personal and commercial brand — through his lies, his conspiracy theories and his propaganda. Anything is fair game, even an alternate reality that is nonsensical and poisonous.

Trump's use of alternate reality is antithetical to democratic principles and the Constitution. He does not love democracy and he does not love America. He wants to destroy it. He is an authoritarian at heart. He orchestrated and incited an insurrection against our government, intended to overthrow the will of the people. His singular goal was to maintain his power at any cost. If that had happened, his alternate reality would have lived on and flourished. We would have become a country of lies, conspiracy theories, propaganda and violence — also known as an authoritarian state.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are the antidotes to Trump's alternate reality. They function within the context of facts, the truth and science. They have not constructed an alternate reality that is self-serving and virulent. They cherish democracy and understand that its sustainability requires observable and transparent truth.

The solution is for Trump to be marginalized and purged. Even now that he is out of office, he has hit the airwaves to continue to spread the "Big Lie" that he won the election. He will never accept or understand that his alternate reality is destructive to the well-being of our people. Nor does he care. He still thinks it is his sure-fire ticket to success. After all, he became president and came close to winning re-election by convincing Americans that his "exceptionalism" could be theirs too — and that their lives would be better for it. Please tell the families of the 500,000 dead Americans that their lives are better. Please tell the millions of Americans who are jobless, broke and frightened that their lives are improved.

Americans must stop being lazy and complacent about figuring out the observable truth. They cannot let partisan bias allow their thinking to be hijacked by an alternate reality. Cable news networks and social media platforms must make truth their sole vehicle of communication. Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, Facebook and other entities must take responsibility for promoting truth over fiction, facts over lies and critical observation over conspiracy theories.

Trump's weaponization of alternate reality must be repudiated once and for all. Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and other congressional Republicans need to rebuke Trump's alternate reality — and must stop creating their own for purely selfish and political reasons.

There is only one truth — the objective truth. What Donald Trump and his cohorts do not want you to know is that truth is the one "real" ticket to success in a democracy based on freedom, rule of law and the will of the people. History shows that our country has never been divided by alternate reality versus the truth in such a stark and destructive way. It would be so much easier for us to govern ourselves if we could make objective truth our top, shared priority.

The use of alternate reality by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, or anyone else — including millions of Americans — is unacceptable, anti-democratic and venomous to our way of life. Observable, verifiable and transparent truth is what our democracy is founded upon. Without that, all is lost.

Donald Trump is still an attention addict — his appearance at CPAC will offer the latest proof

There is no rational or reasonable explanation why Donald Trump is even considering another presidential run in 2024. He has no agenda. He has no real ideology other than his self-aggrandizement and greed. He had a dreadfully inept, contentious and fractious term as president from 2017 to 2021. He is probably facing imminent civil and criminal legal charges. He is in financial dire straits. He lost his last election by 7 million votes.

Trump's upcoming appearance at CPAC this weekend, however, clearly signals that another presidential campaign may be in his sights. A return to private life may not be enough for him. There is a longstanding tradition that ex-presidents retreat into the background so the new president can shine. But that does not fit Donald Trump's psyche. Just the opposite is true: He wants to spoil Joe Biden's time in the sun by stealing as much attention away from him as possible.

The real explanation is that Donald Trump is an attention addict. He is addicted to the attention that national political life brings him. He is addicted to running for president and to being president. It is all about satiating his needs and wants — and cravings. Attention is his psychic oxygen. He feels like he is dying mentally when attention is not forthcoming. He does not differentiate between positive attention and negative attention — either will do in his jonesing mind. As with an oppositional child, even negative attention makes him feel energized and powerful.

Trump's attention addiction was in full force during his presidential term. He held more than 80 pep rallies so that he could bask in the glow of the attention from the masses. And his almost nonstop tweeting — late into the night and distressingly early in the morning — showed that he was addicted to instant attention.

The fact that Trump is an attention addict is hardly a reason for us to allow him to run for president again. We would not let a known heroin addict be mayor. We would not let an opioid addict become governor. We would not let a benzodiazepine addict be a senator. So we should not let an attention addict be our president.

Why? Because all elected officials take a sworn oath to protect the public's safety and well-being. An attention addict, by definition, cannot possibly meet that obligation. The public good is of no concern to an addict whose sole mission in life is to consume more and more of the sought-after prize.

Trump has already proven that his addiction interferes with his capacity to be a public servant. His addiction kept him from solving the existential crises that our country faced: a deadly pandemic, a crashed economy, racial and economic inequality, domestic violence, immigration and many others.

He could not even facilitate the orderly and peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden once he lost the election. He had to incite an insurrection of our government in an attempt to hold onto power — and attention. This just shows you the lengths an addict will go to maintain his addiction.

Here's why expulsion is the only remedy: Insurrectionists in Congress must be rooted out

"We fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

These were the words of then-President Donald Trump as he addressed a large, hostile crowd in front of the White House on Jan. 6, 2021.

It has now been more than a month since Trump and his congressional allies incited and supported the insurrection against our country's democracy. It was an attempt by a mob of violent seditionists to attack the Capitol and stop Congress from affirming the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden. This was planned and orchestrated by the sitting president with the hope that he could remain in power against the will of the people. Five people died. Dozens of police officers were injured. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi were in grave danger of being seized and murdered. It was an unimaginable and indescribable scene of terror. Many of the insurrectionists had tactical gear and communications equipment. They roamed the halls with zip ties hunting for Pence and Pelosi. They built gallows and chanted death threats. They beat a police officer with a pole bearing the U.S. flag. And let us not forget that President Trump chose not to intervene when the violence began. With the resources at his disposal, he easily and rapidly could have.

Never in our 245-year history has our democracy been actively sabotaged by a sitting president and his congressional sycophants. The events of Jan. 6, 2021 will be highlighted in all history books going forward. The insurrection of our election will never be forgotten. Its significance is on par with Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day).

Donald Trump was quickly impeached — for the second time — for his incitement of this insurrection. At this writing, he is about to stand trial in the Senate. He is refusing to testify. Trump's behavior in the insurrection is easily explained by his psychopathic personality and his unrelenting desire to remain in power, despite losing both the popular vote (for a second time) and the Electoral College vote. Those of us who are mental health professionals predicted his pathological and violent response to his election defeat. No one should be surprised by the depth of his crass, repugnant and anti-democratic behavior. After all, everything is about Trump — the welfare of the country and its people be damned.

The Republican Party has been complicit with Trump for four years and counting. It has enabledhis quest to obtain absolute authority, politicize the Justice Department in his behalf, grift the American people and break norms, rules and laws with impunity. Republicans have been walking side-by-side with Trump every step of the way during his march to transform democracy into his own brand of authoritarianism. The insurrection was to be Trump's final accomplishment in his mission. He failed — but it was a close call. It was a bungled coup attempt that matched the ineptness of his past four years in office. A more intelligent and capable man might have pulled it off.

It is unlikely that Republican senators will have the insight and courage to convict Trump during his impeachment trial. Their complicity will continue. Their support of Trump's insurrection is crystal clear. They have tried to distract us by saying we must "move on." They want us to deny the objective reality of their full-throated endorsement of Trump's self-serving conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from him.

Congressional Republicans who supported Trump's overthrow of the democratic election must be rooted out. On the morning of the Capitol attack, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado tweeted, "Today is 1776."

Some congressional Republicans had reportedly given tours to the insurrectionists on Jan. 5. Eight Senators and 139 representatives supported at least one objection to the already-certified Electoral College vote. They promulgated false and fake conspiracy theories about how the election had been stolen from Trump, and cast their votes to support an authoritarian president who wanted to remain in power in defiance of the Constitution. Their entire scenario was a lie — the Big Lie — but they maintained their allegiance to their cult leader even though an insurrection against our government had occurred just the day before.

Sen. Ted Cruz supported the insurrection and actually engaged in fundraising during it. At least three newspapers in Texas have called for his resignation. Sen. Josh Hawley was in full support of Trump's efforts to remain in power despite the will of the people. He cheered on the mob attackers with the now indelible image of his raised clenched fist. Newspapers in Missouri are calling for his resignation. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has talked out of both sides of his mouth about Trump's role in the insurrection, and has refused to disavow the dangerous conspiracy theories about a stolen election. Sen. Lindsey Graham has voiced his disapproval of the impeachment of Trump for the insurrection. Sen. Ron Johnson is blaming Pelosi for the mob's actions. Rep. Matt Gaetz traveled to Wyoming to rile up supporters to punish Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican House whip, because she supported Trump's impeachment. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newcomer to Congress, has been an outspoken supporter of Trump's efforts to remain in power. Rep. Mo Brooks has gone on the record to support Trump and his fake conspiracy theories about the election. The list goes on and on. But Congress, the media and historians need to do what has been started here: List the seditionists by name and call out their treachery.

Since the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Republican Party has degenerated and gravitated to the fringe of the extremists, showcased by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and others. Their support of Trump is stronger and more irrational than ever — despite the fact that he has been defeated and disgraced.

There are some reasonable Republicans who have spoken out against Trump and the insurrectionists. Sens. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Lisa Murkowski have led the way, yet their words have been drowned out by the loud voices of the Q party who are doubling down on their blatant lies and conspiracy theories.

We have just witnessed an attempted coup against our democratic election. If the insurrectionists had been successful, Donald Trump would still be in high office and our democracy would be in shambles. We would no longer have open and free elections. We would no longer have three branches of government, the rule of law and a free press. Lies, conspiracy theories, violence and authoritarianism would prevail. Our country would be transformed into the psychopathic image of Donald Trump.

Accountability must be our mantra as we try to recover from the trauma of Jan. 6. Sticking our collective heads in the sand will not help us maintain and renew our democratic experiment. Reprimand and censure are far too weak for the offenses at hand. An attempted overthrow of our democracy requires nothing short of expulsion. There is no more egregious and reprehensible offense an elected official can commit.

It is time for us to clean house of all seditionists and traitors. We cannot allow them to remain in the sacred halls of Congress. They are a cancer that has metastasized. They are anti-democratic and anti-American outliers. Their voices and their influence must be stamped out decisively.

Please remember that not one of these congressional Republicans has shown an ounce of regret or shame for their actions on or before Jan. 6. Not one has apologized to the American people. If anything, they have fortified their position and their resolve. They continue to support Donald Trump and his abortive insurrection. They have not learned a thing. This is a collective lack of conscience shown by a large group of seditionists.

They leave us no choice: The only way to save our democracy is through expulsion, banishment and lasting shame.

Here's why so many Americans still follow Trump — despite all that's happened

The persistent Trump "base" and the Republican members of Congress who maintain fealty to Donald Trump do so for a variety of reasons. They are not a monolithic body but a loosely associated conglomeration of supporters with their own individual or group reasons for remaining loyal to the twice-impeached ex-President.

"Membership" in the Trump base may include entry into one or more of the following categories.

  1. "All-in" isolationists, ultra-nationalists, white supremacists, racists and insurrectionists Arguably all those who marched in Charlottesville in summer 2017 and many of those stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are openly racist, and have felt liberated by the rhetoric and policies of the Trump era. For them, Trumpism represented an enticing outlet for perceived slights or a platform upon which to boost their identity, sense of meaning or being, and self-importance.
  2. Opportunists and political chameleons Those who fall into this category recognized that the Trump train presented itself as a vehicle by which one could achieve fame, success, ambition and political or personal gain. Those with political ambition watched Trump's tactics, saw its success and made the decision to be a Trump sycophant and copycat. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, mediocre members of society who had the financial means to run for Congress, are noted Trump exampled who will ride this train until it throws them off (and even then will continue to chase it). Fox News talking heads fall into this category as well. Following opportunity often requires suppressing any logic, rational thought or independent notions. This is a key factor behind the flip-flopping of politicians like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who has vacillated in his defense and indictment of Trump and his insurrection), Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (two former Republican rivals to Trump who were mercilessly dragged by him only to become full-throated supporters), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for whom every Trump-related decision comes with an eye on the next election cycle. These are the political chameleons who will change as needed to survive.
  3. Narrow-minded, limited information input and vulnerable to cultism This group of followers is either actively or passively limited in the information that they receive through on-air and online media outlets. As a result of their "soda straw" approach to Republicanism, conservatism or Trumpism, they are simply not exposed to the damning evidence that exists to show Trump and the GOP's unethical, immoral and likely criminal behavior. This is the consumer of a steady diet of right-wing sources such as Fox News, OANN and Newsmax. One cannot discuss this group without referring to the concept of shared omnipotence, a cult leader tactic by which followers are repeatedly told that the leader will take them to a "promised land" (e.g., a place of increased wealth, no immigrants or people of color, world superiority or dominance, protection from death) and if they don't follow, the result is certain doom.
  4. Voting with their pocketbook Members of this group are totally focused on individual and family wealth. They voted for Trump twice because of his tax breaks for wealthier Americans. They may be repulsed by Trump the man, but they feel compelled to vote for him because they are profiting from his policies. They are one-issue voters and they will not be deterred by any of Trump's antics, lies or dishonesty.
  5. Hold your nose and vote Republican These group members are cousins of the previous group. This faction is diehard conservative Republicans who are unwavering in their support of the GOP based on years of support and the hope that this period is an aberration that will correct itself soon. Sen. Mitt Romney is one of the remaining stalwarts of this group.
  6. But he and I are Christians! In many ways an outgrowth of the latter group, these followers maintain their identity and faith as evangelical Christians. They have consistently voted Republican for a widely varying set of reasons, the abortion issue first and foremost among them. Now, electing and supporting Donald Trump, who is arguably the embodiment of sin, requires resolution of a huge case of cognitive dissonance. To accept Trump and Trumpism requires that a "true" Christian must fit this obviously square block into a circular halo. Attempts to reconcile this dissonance include pairing Trump with known Christian leaders and evangelicals, citing scripture that appears to validate this choice, or projecting Christian values on to Trump and Trumpists.

Not all Trump supporters are alike. It is inaccurate and wrong to lump them together. It misses the point and undermines any chance for reaching out to supporters in order to reinvent a Republican Party that is reasonable, more moderate and hinged to our American democracy.

Short of convicting and repudiating Trump at his upcoming impeachment trial — which appears highly unlikely — we will be left with the task of disambiguating and understanding his followers and what motivates them, and connecting with as many of them as possible. The future of our two-party democracy, and our entire country, will hang in the balance.

Trump's radicalized followers must be forced to see who he really is

Donald Trump is gone. Jan. 20 has come and gone. Joe Biden is our 46th president and Kamala Harris is our vice president. Celebration has been on display and our democracy is breathing easier.

But our glow of hopefulness will inevitably be dampened by the penetrating darkness of the past four years. The aftermath of Donald Trump is before us. And it cannot be avoided. For example, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and several other members of the "sedition caucus" are still in Congress and stand as a constant reminder of how much accountability and healing must still occur.

Many of us are at high risk for the development of trauma, stress-related and anxiety-related symptoms (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD). We have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse by the now-departed president. The sickness and death associated with the coronavirus pandemic has been catastrophic. Our crippled economy has created widespread depression and anxiety. Trump's racism, xenophobia, misogyny, nativism, white supremacy, violence and incitement of insurrection have all been traumatic forces as well.

Post-traumatic stress symptoms are increasingly evident among us: distressing and intrusive thoughts, anxiety, worry, fear, flashbacks, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, disturbed sleep and more. These symptoms occur most notably in those with close proximity to the horrific nature of the deadly disease, such as first responders, medical providers and friends and families of victims. All are due to the impact of a cruel and corrupt leader who harmed us after swearing to be our protector. Much like a domestic abuser, Trump deceived, betrayed and mistreated us.

Beyond that, millions of Americans continue to view Trump as their beloved cult leader — even though he has been defeated, disgraced and repudiated. Trump's followers have been radicalized by the cumulative effects of his lies, conspiracy theories, magical thinking and fake narratives. Americans were bombarded with misinformation and propaganda. As a result, there are many passionate supporters who, at least until now, have refused to allow facts and the truth to shape their perceptions of their leader. Trump's demagoguery and fear-mongering has worked.

Donald Trump is a proven traitor — at least in the colloquial sense, and perhaps the legal sense as well — who spent four years disavowing the Constitution, attacking our democracy and abusing the public. He must be prosecuted and punished for his misdeeds and malfeasance.

We know that victims of abuse are better able to recover their self-esteem and hopefulness when abusers are held to account and victim safety is assured. Victims often feel unheard, misunderstood and unloved because their horrific experiences are minimized or not believed altogether. Prosecution of the abuser can go a long way to validate the intrinsic worth of the victim, and to help recapture positive mental health.

So, in a very real way, prosecution of Donald Trump is necessary for individual Americans to heal from their psychological distress and trauma and to feel liberated and positive going forward.

In a similar vein, the radicalization of Trump supporters can be deprogrammed if they see him being prosecuted and punished for his nefarious acts. He must be exposed for who he is — a con man whose cruelty, indifference and anti-democratic leanings were unleashed on the public. The realization of Trump's menace might help sweep away the false view of him as an esteemed leader. For some, this realization began last Wednesday, as President Biden was sworn in and Trump's supporters realized that their delusional belief in an ongoing Trump reign was shattered.

Dealing with the maliciousness and destructiveness of Donald Trump has begun. His oxygen of attention has been taken away. He has been banned from social media platforms. He is being ostracized and purged in most circles. But more than that, he must be prosecuted and punished for his transgressions against America and its people. He cannot simply be given a free pass because he is finally out of office. This would convey a dangerous message. We cannot stick our heads in the sand when abuse and radicalization have run rampant.

It appears that Trump is already considering another presidential run in 2024. Such is an unfathomable proposition in light of his past four years of abuse, death and insurrection. His lack of shame and remorse is appalling — but in no way surprising.

Trump must be convicted in the Senate for his second impeachment offense. He must be banned from future elected office as well. We must send a clear message to him and to all other future or potential presidential candidates that corrupt and criminal behavior will not be tolerated. We will not be abused all over again.

It will take time for us to heal, but that will happen more quickly and completely if prosecution and punishment is meted out to Donald Trump. In a democracy, no person is above the law. We must all be held accountable for our actions. Especially someone who misused and debased the highest office in the land, and whose reign of terror has traumatized us all.

Donald Trump is the now biggest loser in US political history

For four years we have heard that Republicans are afraid to stand up to Donald Trump because he will insult them and humiliate them into submission. They could not handle his childish taunts. They shrank from his barbs and slights, delivered largely on Twitter, the social media platform that has now evicted him permanently. Trump took advantage of their cowardice. He was like the big bully on the playground at school who intimidated smaller and weaker kids, then boasted about his easy conquests.

But no one should be afraid of Donald Trump now. After all, he is the biggest loser in U.S. political history. Indeed, he has relinquished the right to be feared.

Trump's record distinguishes him as the worst president ever. He has lost the popular vote in two national elections. He has been impeached twice, with conviction still possible in the second case. He has been an accomplice to the mass murder of over 400,000 Americans and counting due to the coronavirus. He has caused a massive economic crash. He has incited an insurrection against the government of the United States. He played a corrupt game of footsie with the president of Ukraine, and has been oddly but consistently subservient to the president of Russia. He has grifted the American people out of millions of dollars. He has pardoned associates and acquaintances who could implicate him in crimes. He has been incompetent, indifferent, lazy and vindictive. To top it all off, he has rushed to execute 13 people before his term is up — the most by any president in 120 years.

Trump intimidates via bullying, name-calling, threats and loud exclamations of bravado. His sense of grandiosity and superiority is enhanced when he is successful at embarrassing and humiliating others. To be sure, intimidation is his modus operandi. He rose to the top of the national political ladder through his use of intimidation. It is his only "skill."

But he is a total coward. He hides behind his lawyers and lets them do his "dirty work." He cannot fire people in person. He sent a bodyguard to deliver his letter of dismissal to former FBI Director James Comey's empty office. His specialty is to incite others to action and then deny any responsibility for their behavior. Ask Michael Cohen. Ask Rudy Giuliani. Ask the thousands of attackers at the Capitol. Trump did not have the guts to march with them to the Capitol — but he had no trouble sending them off into battle for his sole benefit.

Trump's political life has been based on lies and propaganda. His most egregious lie is that the election was rigged and stolen from him. It has been dubbed the "Big Lie." The truth is that the election was the most open and transparent in history. Joe Biden won fair and square. Trump lost by 7 million votes. He has lost more than 60 lawsuits in contesting the results. His lie about the election led to his seditious rhetoric and to his incitement of the insurrectionists.

Let us be clear: Trump actively tried to undermine and overthrow our democracy. He was fomenting a coup. He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not love our democracy and does not love our country. He is addicted to power, adulation, grift and corruption — and would rather overturn democracy than give up his addictions.

Trump must be finished as a political figure. It may take some time, but his political clout will wane gradually but assuredly into oblivion. He will try to hold onto his supporters by promulgating his conspiracy theories and his victimhood, but both will be disproven as we return to a world of observable facts and truth.

His gravitas is evaporating. He has become a pathetic and tragic joke. All the major leaders in the world are ecstatic at his upcoming exit from the scene — except perhaps Vladimir Putin, who has enjoyed having Trump in his back pocket.

Trump is already kryptonite. Social media platforms have banned him. Banks will not lend him money. Lawyers are hesitant to defend him against impeachment. Corporations have paused their financial contributions. Even the PGA has yanked its 2022 championship from his New Jersey golf course. His standing will continue to drop as he is further ostracized and purged from American public life.

Trump must be punished for all his federal and state crimes. His supporters need to understand the depth of his criminality. He is a bad actor who will soon face the consequences of his malfeasance. Nothing can erase power and adulation faster than prison. But not even prison can reverse the abuse and trauma inflicted by Trump upon the American people.

His reign of corruption and incitement of insurrection was fueled by his belief that he would not be punished for it, that he could break laws with impunity. This is exactly why his prosecution is required. He must face swift and firm consequences so that others will understand the reality — that Trump's corruption is a part of his DNA. He has been compromised all his adult life. Until now, his corruption was confined to the state of New York and the Trump Organization. In 2016, thanks to his flukish election victory, he started sharing his criminality with the entire country.

Trump has been living in his alternate universe of lies, conspiracy theories and magical thinking for so long that he is unable to face reality. But his alternate universe is crumbling. And Americans are becoming acquainted once again with facts, science and truth. In 2016, Trump told the Republican National Convention and a national television audience, "Only I can fix it." But he could not fix our country because he exacerbated and capitalized on our grievances for his own personal and political gain. That is the playbook of an authoritarian.

There is encouraging news, however. In recent polling, nine out of 10 Americans frown upon the insurrection on Jan. 6. Seven out of 10 Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the violence. Fifty-six percent are in favor of Trump being banned from future elected office. His approval rating now stands at 29%.

Right-wing extremism was present long before Trump. Cultural and economic resentments have been brewing for years. Trump has seized upon these resentments and made them more mainstream through his radicalization of his supporters. Hopefully, right-wing extremism will recede as Trump's voice is silenced. Citizens who engage in political violence must be rooted out. Trump's unforgiving act of insurrection has shown his true stripes as an authoritarian who does not give a damn about anyone other than himself. Authoritarianism is antithetical to our representative democracy — and must be stamped out at every opportunity. And Trump has given us opportunities.

No one should be afraid of Donald Trump now. He is defeated, disgraced and repudiated. This is the trifecta of the biggest loser in U.S. political history.

This is our chance to show we have finally conquered our fear of that bully on the playground at school.

A psychopathic president's last act

Donald Trump's attempted coup against our government was predictable. He had it all planned out. He would incite thousands of supporters to attack the Capitol, disrupt the proceedings of the Senate and find a way to maintain his grip on power. He knew full well that his violent insurrectionists had blood on their minds and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence were in harm's way. He knew there was a chance that both Pelosi and Pence could be kidnapped or murdered. He did not care one whit. He was partying and celebrating as the attackers formed and began their deadly march. He was inciting an insurrection against the United States for his own personal gain. Democracy and human life were of no concern to him.

But his efforts failed. The Senate was not overtaken. Joe Biden was certified as the next president. Pelosi and Pence were both safe. The attackers are being hunted down one by one and arrested. Trump has now been impeached for the second time, with 10 Republican members of Congress joining with every Democrat. Pence apparently contemplated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment (although he has now said he will not do so). The majority of Americans believe that Trump should be removed from office immediately for his treasonous behavior.

After last week's insurrection attempt, Trump is now trying to act as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. What is the big deal if some looters swarmed through the Capitol? As he has always done, Trump relies on lies, denials, conspiracy theories and fake bravado to skirt through life and through his presidency. But rhetoric and actions are observable truth. And Trump's clear incitement of insurrection means he is a traitor. It means he disavowed the will of the people and the rule of law. It means his personal gain is more important than the Constitution and his oath of office.

This all makes sense because Donald Trump is a psychopath. He is fueled by his narcissism, his sadism, his paranoia and his antisocial proclivities. We have been eager to ignore these things, but Trump's sadism and violence have been front and center in his psyche the entire time. This is the man who separated young children from their families at the border. This is the man whose inaction has killed 372,000 Americans due to the coronavirus. This is the man who has tried to encourage violence multiple times at his campaign and presidential pep rallies. And this is the man who glorified violence in Charlottesville and in other cities.

We should not be surprised that Trump's sadism and violence boiled over in response to his humiliating election defeat. He has been hell-bent on hanging onto power at any cost. He has been willing to throw anyone and anything under the bus to ensure his self-preservation and his survival. So a violent insurrection in the sacred halls of the Capitol was the perfect plan in his mind. A few deaths would be palatable, even entirely acceptable, if it meant he could remain in power.

What should now be clear to everyone is that Donald Trump does not love democracy or our country. He is an authoritarian. He wants absolute authority and control over people. He loves adulation. He is a greedy opportunist. He is a master of demagoguery. He is corrupt and criminal. He is a traitor of the highest order. He was virtually the worst possible person to become president because everything about him is antithetical to our nation's principles and ideals. Being president is so much more than being rich. Personal character, love of democracy and love of country are far more compelling attributes.

Trump is a cataclysmic problem that will be solved soon. He will be booted out, or simply leave. Social media platforms have banned him. Companies are halting their financial contributions to his party and his supporters. The PGA has pulled its 2022 championship tournament from his New Jersey golf course. More and more Americans are rejecting him by the day. His mantra as a traitor is beginning to take hold. Ultimately, it will be set in stone.

Millions of supporters followed Trump for four years as if he were the pied piper. They did not realize or understand that he is a con man who thrives on hoodwinking and exploiting others. He lies every time he opens his mouth, and uses conspiracy theories and fear-mongering to seduce the allegiance of citizens who believe in him for various largely irrational reasons. Trump is no public servant, no brilliant businessman, no rich savant and no political leader. He is a fraud, a failure and a coward who ran for president in the first place to enhance his brand and make money off the public. Once in office, he became enthralled with power, adulation and grifting. He realized that being an authoritarian leader would allow him to express his sadistic and cruel tendencies — and that being a dictator would allow his racist and xenophobic and misogynistic impulses to run wild, without oversight or accountability. In the end, Trump decided that he wanted to remain in office so that he could establish an endless regime of Trumpism — all in his psychopathic image.

Americans should have realized back in 2016 that Trump was a bad actor who had nefarious and cruel intentions. He did not want to protect and serve the people. The oath of office was a bunch of isolated words that had no meaning to him. It was all a big lie and a big con from the beginning. Trump believed he could pull it off because he had spent his entire life promulgating a kind of alternate universe, with the help of enablers and a host of lawyers.

Trump's lies, conspiracy theories, magical thinking and corruption rapidly became normalized in our country, such that millions of Americans were radicalized. Fantasy and blather became more important than truth. Trump's alternate universe seemed to replace the real one. Our Constitution and the rule of law were corrupted. Our democracy was threatened. A psychopath was threatening democracy, and the media pretended not to notice. The opinions of mental health experts were rejected.

Ultimately, the judicial system and our Constitution stood tall throughout this presidency. Elected Republican officials did not. They either drank the Kool-aid or saw loyalty to Trump as a vehicle for personal political advancement. Either way, the Republican Party has been complicit and anti-democratic. Some of its members, perhaps most of them, want to carry on the mantle of Trumpism despite its malicious and destructive impact on our democracy. They will face their reckoning in due time.

Many of Trump's supporters will have a rude awakening when they realize that their esteemed cult leader was nothing more than a fraud. Once they see him prosecuted for his many crimes, they will understand his destructiveness to them and to our democracy. Truth will again become important. We will all be able to agree on observable facts. Negotiation and compromise will once again be central to our politics. Tribalism will gradually melt away as our interest in unity and cohesiveness expands.

Yet in many ways Trump has been a symptom rather than the sole cause of major divisions in our country. Racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, misogyny and other extreme forms of hate have been simmering in this country long before Trump. But these harmful and demoralizing issues will be easier to grapple with without a national leader who is psychopathic, anti-democratic and anti-American in his mental DNA.

ALAN D. BLOTCKY

Alan D. Blotcky, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Alabama.

The dangerous mind of Donald Trump has been exposed

The disturbing events and images from Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, will live forever in infamy. It was on that day that insurrectionists attacked the sacred halls of the U.S. Capitol after being provoked, encouraged and fueled by President Donald Trump. It was Trump's last-ditch effort to overturn our democratic election because he is afraid of facing the criminal charges that may well await him. In his twisted and contorted mind, Trump must have believed that this mob attack on the Capitol would somehow allow him to hang onto power. This was the conniving and manipulative plan of a psychopath. In this attack we see Trump's conspiracy theories, dishonesty, victimhood, paranoia, desperation and cruelty. He is a sick man whose megalomania and violence have finally crossed the red line.

Donald Trump has proven that he must be stopped now. A psychopath lacks the ability for self-control, self-examination and self-correction. At the core is a total lack of conscience and shame. Trump is a criminal who will stop at nothing to achieve his personal wishes. Clearly, he was an accomplice to the violent acts of insurrection yesterday.

Trump has been allowed to be incompetent, cruel and corrupt for four years by his Cabinet, close associates, congressional Republicans, compliant right-wing media and millions of supporters. They have been complicit in enabling him. Mental health experts have tried to explain that psychopaths do not change their psyche and behavior unless they suffer consequences and face firm limits. Trump has suffered no real consequences and he has had few or no limits. He has been allowed to run wild. He has been allowed to kill people. He has been allowed to attack our democratic way of life.

Finally, limits were placed on him by the judicial system and by some state election officials who showed they possessed honor and spine. The judicial system provided the guardrails to contain this pathological president — if they had not, he would have disassembled our democracy by now. He would have stolen the election and assumed nearly absolute authority, with no semblance of oversight or accountability. His greed would be uncontrollable, and his cruelty toward the American people would cause even more deaths.

There is a natural tendency for the American people to admire and even adore our presidents. It is almost inconceivable that we would have elected a psychiatrically disordered monster to the highest office in the land. But that is exactly what we did.

Trump is a menace. It is an undeniable and unquestioned fact that his mental disorder is of such severe malignancy that it renders him dangerous and unfit. The red line has been crossed.

What other evidence do you need? What else must happen to convince his sycophants and followers that he is a con man and a madman all together in one?

This is not about policy or political ideology. This is about refusing to tolerate a psychopathic leader whose latest action is so anti-democratic and anti-American that he must be stopped in his tracks. He is clearly capable of causing more destruction and heartache in his final 13 days in office. Psychopaths do not cease on their own.

Trump must be stopped today. A small group of congressional Republican and Democratic leaders must tell him to cease all tweets, speeches, videos and actions during his last days. He must be totally absent from the people. He must be on house confinement. His days as an active president are over. And he must be told that the 25th Amendment will be invoked if he does not comply with this set of instructions. Impeachment is on the table as well.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, have both called for Trump to be removed via the 25th Amendment. Others will follow suit as the damn of denial breaks.

Donald Trump's mental desperation has reached its explosion point. Thirteen days is a long time for an aggrieved and violent madman to be allowed to hold any kind of power, let alone the awesome power of the American presidency.

Trump's pathology is serious business. It is intractable and incurable. He is not going to suddenly find shame and self-control and empathy. He is not going to apologize for his actions and ask for forgiveness. That would require an inner soul and heart.

We must stop this president today. He has earned our disdain and our ire by his actions. He is the aggressor — we are his victims. We must stop serving in that role.

The red line has been crossed. Swift and decisive action is needed. No rationalizations and no excuses are acceptable.

If 356,000 preventable deaths from the coronavirus pandemic are not enough, perhaps the events and images from Wednesday at the heart of American democracy will convince you that Donald Trump is a malicious criminal who does not give a damn about anyone or anything, except his own ego and his bank account.

We must make clear that our nation deserves better than this, and that we can't wait.

This could have been prevented: Mental health experts were silenced for telling the truth about Trump

There is an unambiguous reason why mental health experts have not been seen or heard or read in the national media during the past four years. The mainstream media has intentionally blocked these experts from speaking out about Donald Trump's mental pathology and its dangerous impact on the public's safety and welfare. The professionals who understand Trump the best have been gagged and muzzled. The media has been a major enabler of Trump — and that continues to this day.

Mental health experts could have helped to prevent Trump's election in 2016, minimized his destructiveness from 2016 to 2020, and/or thwarted his re-election chances in 2020. Their collective voices could have been loud, compelling and impactful. History will show that the mainstream media has been as complicit with Donald Trump as any other group of enablers, including congressional Republicans, cabinet members, close associates and his millions of supporters.

The role of the free press is vital in a representative democracy such as ours. It is protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The overarching purpose of the press is to be a watchdog of government and of our elected officials. The press is our indispensable friend. We depend on it to expose, inform, explain, interpret and, yes, warn. The free press is the foundation of our democratic way of life. It is what separates us from authoritarian regimes and third world countries.

A duty to warn the public is a central component of the role of the watchdog press. Politicians are under the microscope because they are our elected officials and must be held to account. That is the specific task of the press. When a politician is malicious or engages in nefarious activities, it is the responsibility of the free press to expose and warn — all for the greater good of the people.

It seems clear that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) informed prominent decision-makers in the mainstream media that its "Goldwater rule" prohibited psychiatrists — and perhaps others in the mental health field — from speaking out publicly about Donald Trump's mental health. The Goldwater rule is an ethical guideline advanced by the APA in 1973 that no one cared about until Trump became president. It asserts that psychiatrists should not comment on political figures because they have not interviewed them personally.

Far too many people in the media bought into the APA's narrative about the Goldwater rule. All mental health professionals were blocked from speaking out because it was deemed unethical. From that point on, any experts who chose to speak out anyway were to be seen as reckless and opportunistic.

The exact motives of the APA will never be known. One working theory is that the APA did not want to anger this president since that might have directly threatened the organization's federal funding and its scope of influence. After all, Trump responds with intense vindictiveness when he detects even slight disloyalty. The APA buckled, deciding that it needed to safeguard its own viability and sustainability. Its leading members did not want to rock the boat, and did not want any other members to do anything that might interfere with their organization's stature.

In fact, mental health experts are compelled to speak out when they see dangerousness or unfitness in a political figure. They have a social and ethical responsibility to voice their opinions and to inform the public. The public's safety and welfare are paramount. Experts who speak out are noble and good citizens and should be applauded, not ridiculed.

Almost immediately after Trump's election in 2016, mental health professionals were faced with an ethical dilemma imposed by the Goldwater rule. How could experts speak out in their duty to warn the public when they were supposedly prohibited from doing so by an ethical restraint?

Their conundrum was compounded by the media's decision to honor the Goldwater rule, and generally not allow mental health experts to voice their opinions.

In 2017, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a psychiatrist, edited a bestselling book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump." The chapters were written by mental health professionals who described Trump's mental pathology and dangerous qualities in detail. But that cutting-edge book did not open the floodgates for appearances by mental health experts in the media. In fact, they were blocked at every turn, and the Goldwater rule was often cited.

The Goldwater rule is outdated. Its relevance has passed. Today, mental health professionals have access to thousands of audios, videos, tweets, interviews, speeches, books, collateral interviews and more by politicians. A personal interview would be helpful, but it is not sufficient or comprehensive. Behavioral information over time is much more revealing, instructive and diagnostic.

Beyond that, mental health experts do not need to be shackled. They are highly trained. They have a wealth of knowledge. They are ethical. They do not discuss matters outside their area of expertise. They are fair and balanced. They acknowledge their limitations. Their political leanings are excluded in their well-reasoned opinions.

To add insult to injury, the media has had no qualms in publishing any number of articles by journalists about Trump's apparent pathology, while mental health experts themselves have been silenced. Furthermore, there is ample precedent for reporters, editors or producers to seek out experts in other medical specialties. For example, if Trump had a heart attack, cardiologists — who had not examined him — would be invited to share their expertise. The same should be true for mental health professionals.

As Trump's mental pathology became more malignant, it was hoped that leaders in the media would wake up, accept their vital role as watchdog, and actively encourage mental health experts to express their collective voices. Nothing of the kind happened. Many in the media dug in their heels, allowing Donald Trump to continue his mission of destruction without inviting the input of mental health experts. Their abdication of responsibility to warn the public has been glaring. Their lack of courage has been disappointing.

Trump's mental pathology has been a national emergency of historic proportions. But that stark reality has been largely undermined by the media — and the public is paying a devastating price: lies, gaslighting, pandemic deaths, economic woes, tribalism, racism, xenophobia, terrorism, cruelty, corruption, subversion and so much more.

Trump has been devilishly adept at undermining the media's credibility with the public. He has called the free press "the enemy of the people." When he does not like a story, he calls it "fake news." Millions of Americans now view the mainstream corporate media as hopelessly biased, liberal, and unfair in their coverage of the president. Trump's attacks served the purpose of putting the media on its heels. It became passive and reactive. It cowered, apologized, fired back weakly. Many in the media have treated Trump with kid gloves, hoping that perhaps his barrage of attacks on them would lessen or cease.

By not allowing experts to speak out, the media has contributed to the normalization of Trump's mental pathology — also known as malignant normality. Let us be clear: Donald Trump is a psychopath. He is in a class all to himself. Look at how he has created unprecedented havoc in the country since his election defeat. His desire to subvert our democracy is a reflection of the severity of his psychopathy. He is drunk with power, adulation, greed and corruption. He has utter contempt for the will of the people. His recorded conversation last Saturday with the Georgia secretary of state shows his potentially illegal attempt to overturn the election results in that state. Trump is a menace to the safety and welfare of the public.

Mental health experts should have been front and center in warning about Trump's pathology all along. But their voices have been silenced. And the public has been profoundly ill-informed about this president. Decisive information about his dangerousness, his unfitness, his cruelty and his corruption has been suppressed. His psychopathy has been allowed to flourish.

But here is the ultimate irony. The media and mental health experts have the exact same mission: to serve the public. They are not adversaries. They do not have conflicting goals. Duty to warn the public is the cornerstone for both. They should be working together in lockstep.

Trump could have been stopped years earlier had the media taken their duty seriously and provided the platform for mental health experts to speak out. Instead, they shirked their responsibility. They ran and hid. This silencing of mental health experts is a terrible untold story. This purposeful subversion of the duty to warn the public has had — and is still having — catastrophic consequences in our country.

The darkness and heartache of Donald Trump's last days in office make that only too clear.

How fear of Trump and the 'Goldwater rule' silenced mental health experts

There is an unambiguous reason why mental health experts have not been seen or heard or read in the national media during the past four years. The mainstream media has intentionally blocked these experts from speaking out about Donald Trump's mental pathology and its dangerous impact on the public's safety and welfare. The professionals who understand Trump the best have been gagged and muzzled. The media has been a major enabler of Trump — and that continues to this day.

Mental health experts could have helped to prevent Trump's election in 2016, minimized his destructiveness from 2016 to 2020, and/or thwarted his re-election chances in 2020. Their collective voices could have been loud, compelling and impactful. History will show that the mainstream media has been as complicit with Donald Trump as any other group of enablers, including congressional Republicans, cabinet members, close associates and his millions of supporters.

The role of the free press is vital in a representative democracy such as ours. It is protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The overarching purpose of the press is to be a watchdog of government and of our elected officials. The press is our indispensable friend. We depend on it to expose, inform, explain, interpret and, yes, warn. The free press is the foundation of our democratic way of life. It is what separates us from authoritarian regimes and third world countries.

A duty to warn the public is a central component of the role of the watchdog press. Politicians are under the microscope because they are our elected officials and must be held to account. That is the specific task of the press. When a politician is malicious or engages in nefarious activities, it is the responsibility of the free press to expose and warn — all for the greater good of the people.

It seems clear that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) informed prominent decision-makers in the mainstream media that its "Goldwater rule" prohibited psychiatrists — and perhaps others in the mental health field — from speaking out publicly about Donald Trump's mental health. The Goldwater rule is an ethical guideline advanced by the APA in 1973 that no one cared about until Trump became president. It asserts that psychiatrists should not comment on political figures because they have not interviewed them personally.

Far too many people in the media bought into the APA's narrative about the Goldwater rule. All mental health professionals were blocked from speaking out because it was deemed unethical. From that point on, any experts who chose to speak out anyway were to be seen as reckless and opportunistic.

The exact motives of the APA will never be known. One working theory is that the APA did not want to anger this president since that might have directly threatened the organization's federal funding and its scope of influence. After all, Trump responds with intense vindictiveness when he detects even slight disloyalty. The APA buckled, deciding that it needed to safeguard its own viability and sustainability. Its leading members did not want to rock the boat, and did not want any other members to do anything that might interfere with their organization's stature.

In fact, mental health experts are compelled to speak out when they see dangerousness or unfitness in a political figure. They have a social and ethical responsibility to voice their opinions and to inform the public. The public's safety and welfare are paramount. Experts who speak out are noble and good citizens and should be applauded, not ridiculed.

Almost immediately after Trump's election in 2016, mental health professionals were faced with an ethical dilemma imposed by the Goldwater rule. How could experts speak out in their duty to warn the public when they were supposedly prohibited from doing so by an ethical restraint?

Their conundrum was compounded by the media's decision to honor the Goldwater rule, and generally not allow mental health experts to voice their opinions.

In 2017, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a psychiatrist, edited a bestselling book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump." The chapters were written by mental health professionals who described Trump's mental pathology and dangerous qualities in detail. But that cutting-edge book did not open the floodgates for appearances by mental health experts in the media. In fact, they were blocked at every turn, and the Goldwater rule was often cited.

The Goldwater rule is outdated. Its relevance has passed. Today, mental health professionals have access to thousands of audios, videos, tweets, interviews, speeches, books, collateral interviews and more by politicians. A personal interview would be helpful, but it is not sufficient or comprehensive. Behavioral information over time is much more revealing, instructive and diagnostic.

Beyond that, mental health experts do not need to be shackled. They are highly trained. They have a wealth of knowledge. They are ethical. They do not discuss matters outside their area of expertise. They are fair and balanced. They acknowledge their limitations. Their political leanings are excluded in their well-reasoned opinions.

To add insult to injury, the media has had no qualms in publishing any number of articles by journalists about Trump's apparent pathology, while mental health experts themselves have been silenced. Furthermore, there is ample precedent for reporters, editors or producers to seek out experts in other medical specialties. For example, if Trump had a heart attack, cardiologists — who had not examined him — would be invited to share their expertise. The same should be true for mental health professionals.

As Trump's mental pathology became more malignant, it was hoped that leaders in the media would wake up, accept their vital role as watchdog, and actively encourage mental health experts to express their collective voices. Nothing of the kind happened. Many in the media dug in their heels, allowing Donald Trump to continue his mission of destruction without inviting the input of mental health experts. Their abdication of responsibility to warn the public has been glaring. Their lack of courage has been disappointing.

Trump's mental pathology has been a national emergency of historic proportions. But that stark reality has been largely undermined by the media — and the public is paying a devastating price: lies, gaslighting, pandemic deaths, economic woes, tribalism, racism, xenophobia, terrorism, cruelty, corruption, subversion and so much more.

Trump has been devilishly adept at undermining the media's credibility with the public. He has called the free press "the enemy of the people." When he does not like a story, he calls it "fake news." Millions of Americans now view the mainstream corporate media as hopelessly biased, liberal, and unfair in their coverage of the president. Trump's attacks served the purpose of putting the media on its heels. It became passive and reactive. It cowered, apologized, fired back weakly. Many in the media have treated Trump with kid gloves, hoping that perhaps his barrage of attacks on them would lessen or cease.

By not allowing experts to speak out, the media has contributed to the normalization of Trump's mental pathology — also known as malignant normality. Let us be clear: Donald Trump is a psychopath. He is in a class all to himself. Look at how he has created unprecedented havoc in the country since his election defeat. His desire to subvert our democracy is a reflection of the severity of his psychopathy. He is drunk with power, adulation, greed and corruption. He has utter contempt for the will of the people. His recorded conversation last Saturday with the Georgia secretary of state shows his potentially illegal attempt to overturn the election results in that state. Trump is a menace to the safety and welfare of the public.

Mental health experts should have been front and center in warning about Trump's pathology all along. But their voices have been silenced. And the public has been profoundly ill-informed about this president. Decisive information about his dangerousness, his unfitness, his cruelty and his corruption has been suppressed. His psychopathy has been allowed to flourish.

But here is the ultimate irony. The media and mental health experts have the exact same mission: to serve the public. They are not adversaries. They do not have conflicting goals. Duty to warn the public is the cornerstone for both. They should be working together in lockstep.

Trump could have been stopped years earlier had the media taken their duty seriously and provided the platform for mental health experts to speak out. Instead, they shirked their responsibility. They ran and hid. This silencing of mental health experts is a terrible untold story. This purposeful subversion of the duty to warn the public has had — and is still having — catastrophic consequences in our country.

The darkness and heartache of Donald Trump's last days in office make that only too clear.

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