Trump doubles down on anti-Cruz JFK assassination slander

Donald Trump almost had me.  After giving a riveting and conservative-leaning acceptance speech, I was willing to hold my nose, heed the advice of my peers, and in the name of the Supreme Court, if nothing else, vote for the man who is not Hillary Clinton.  But then he proved to be a sore winner, doubling down on his repetition of a slanderous article in the National Enquirer linking Ted Cruz's father to Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Sen. Ted Cruz was roundly condemned for not endorsing Trump in his convention speech.  But if it is true that the Texas firebrand doomed his political future, then Trump would have been wise to heed the advice of the Chinese military leader Sun Tzu, who said never to disturb your enemy when he is destroying himself.  Instead, Trump proved to be a sore winner and showed why Ted Cruz was right in withholding his endorsement.  There are few among us who, if someone slandered their fathers in a similar way, would not simply deck the miscreant.

Methinks Trump protested his innocence too much even as he defamed his opponent's father.  As Politico reports:

A day after accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump rehashed a conspiracy theory that claims the man who killed President John F. Kennedy once cavorted with Ted Cruz's father.

"I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy," Trump said at a morning-after rally in Cleveland. "All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast."

A day after accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump rehashed a conspiracy theory that claims the man who killed President John F. Kennedy once cavorted with Ted Cruz's father.

"I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy," Trump said at a morning-after rally in Cleveland. "All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast." ...

"This was a magazine that, in many respects, should be well respected," Trump said. "I mean if that was The New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting."

Trump could have said nothing when asked about Cruz.  He could have let his opponent twist in the wind.  Instead, he doubles down on a supermarket tabloid's unsubstantiated innuendo and suggests that it is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.  This suggests a lack of judgment and presidential temperament that is at the very least troubling.

Trump said Ted Cruz never denied that it was his father in the picture or that there was some sinister link to the JFK assassination.  This is completely false.  Ted Cruz denied in the most emphatic way, and tried to warn the party that it might be nominating another Captain Queeg looking for missing strawberries:

I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won't go.

These smears are completely false, they're offensive to Heidi and me, they're offensive to our daughters, and they're offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack. Donald Trump's consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

Is Donald Trump serious?  Is he this petulant and small-minded, or is he setting the stage for blaming the likes of Cruz, Bush, and Kasich for a defeat to be caused by his own loose lips and disregard for the truth?

The  pathology of Donald Trump is now being questioned by clinical psychologists who have observed his petulant, sometimes profane, and arguably paranoid rhetoric.  In the November 11 edition of Vanity Fair, Henry Alford quotes a number of clinicians who think Trump's behavior is indicative of what is called "narcissistic personality disorder":

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

There is what is called the "Goldwater rule," named after the 1964 Fact Magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president.  The American Psychiatric Association considers it normally unethical to make and express psychological evaluations from afar and without the person's consent.  But we are not talking about a candidate's political views, but rather his publicly displayed personality.  As the article notes:

Mr. Trump's bullying nature – taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy" – is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

Ted Cruz was right not to endorse Donald Trump.  Donald Trump was wrong not to apologize the first time and to double down when he had a chance to apologize or just let it drop.  Trump says he is leading a movement.  It is beginning to look like more of a cult of personality – a personality that raises troubling questions.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Donald Trump almost had me.  After giving a riveting and conservative-leaning acceptance speech, I was willing to hold my nose, heed the advice of my peers, and in the name of the Supreme Court, if nothing else, vote for the man who is not Hillary Clinton.  But then he proved to be a sore winner, doubling down on his repetition of a slanderous article in the National Enquirer linking Ted Cruz's father to Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Sen. Ted Cruz was roundly condemned for not endorsing Trump in his convention speech.  But if it is true that the Texas firebrand doomed his political future, then Trump would have been wise to heed the advice of the Chinese military leader Sun Tzu, who said never to disturb your enemy when he is destroying himself.  Instead, Trump proved to be a sore winner and showed why Ted Cruz was right in withholding his endorsement.  There are few among us who, if someone slandered their fathers in a similar way, would not simply deck the miscreant.

Methinks Trump protested his innocence too much even as he defamed his opponent's father.  As Politico reports:

A day after accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump rehashed a conspiracy theory that claims the man who killed President John F. Kennedy once cavorted with Ted Cruz's father.

"I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy," Trump said at a morning-after rally in Cleveland. "All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast."

A day after accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump rehashed a conspiracy theory that claims the man who killed President John F. Kennedy once cavorted with Ted Cruz's father.

"I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy," Trump said at a morning-after rally in Cleveland. "All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast." ...

"This was a magazine that, in many respects, should be well respected," Trump said. "I mean if that was The New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting."

Trump could have said nothing when asked about Cruz.  He could have let his opponent twist in the wind.  Instead, he doubles down on a supermarket tabloid's unsubstantiated innuendo and suggests that it is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.  This suggests a lack of judgment and presidential temperament that is at the very least troubling.

Trump said Ted Cruz never denied that it was his father in the picture or that there was some sinister link to the JFK assassination.  This is completely false.  Ted Cruz denied in the most emphatic way, and tried to warn the party that it might be nominating another Captain Queeg looking for missing strawberries:

I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won't go.

These smears are completely false, they're offensive to Heidi and me, they're offensive to our daughters, and they're offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack. Donald Trump's consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

Is Donald Trump serious?  Is he this petulant and small-minded, or is he setting the stage for blaming the likes of Cruz, Bush, and Kasich for a defeat to be caused by his own loose lips and disregard for the truth?

The  pathology of Donald Trump is now being questioned by clinical psychologists who have observed his petulant, sometimes profane, and arguably paranoid rhetoric.  In the November 11 edition of Vanity Fair, Henry Alford quotes a number of clinicians who think Trump's behavior is indicative of what is called "narcissistic personality disorder":

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

There is what is called the "Goldwater rule," named after the 1964 Fact Magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president.  The American Psychiatric Association considers it normally unethical to make and express psychological evaluations from afar and without the person's consent.  But we are not talking about a candidate's political views, but rather his publicly displayed personality.  As the article notes:

Mr. Trump's bullying nature – taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy" – is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

Ted Cruz was right not to endorse Donald Trump.  Donald Trump was wrong not to apologize the first time and to double down when he had a chance to apologize or just let it drop.  Trump says he is leading a movement.  It is beginning to look like more of a cult of personality – a personality that raises troubling questions.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.