(Trump said that Khizir Khan, who spoke movingly last week at the Democratic Convention about his son's sacrifice and his family's love for America, seemed "very emotional" and probably had his words written "by Hilary Clinton's scriptwriters"; asked specifically about Mr. Khan's remark that Trump had never made a similar sacrifice, Trump boasted, "I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs. . . . I think my popularity with the vets is through the roof.")
That Trump felt compelled to make those remarks, however, shows the deeper behavioral malady that grips his psyche — namely, his apparently uncontrollable need to justify himself and establish his superiority over any who dare to oppose or criticize him. "Setting the Record Straight" was the title Trump placed atop the statement he released yesterday — in which he allowed for the first time that the Khans deserved sympathy for the loss of their son but in the same sentence woundedly complained that Mr. Khan "has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution."
Today he kept at it, refusing to let go of the idea that it was Donald Trump who was being treated so unfairly in all of this. "I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention," Trump tweeted. "Am I not allowed to respond?"
This is not an idle point. It is a symptom of a profound mental and behavioral disorder that everything for the man is a contest of personal one-upsmanship, that no criticism can be left unanswered, that no fault can ever be acknowledged, that no apology can ever be uttered, that no one else's accomplishments or hardships can ever equal his own, that no one else is so misunderstood, so much the victim of lies and wounding untruths, yet no one else more truly loved, than is Donald J. Trump.
Someone else served in the military, and Donald Trump didn't? Well, "I felt that I was in the military in the true sense," Trump responded, since he had attended a military-themed prep school, for a year.
Someone else lost a son fighting as a soldier serving the United States? Well, having dodged the draft, received a million bucks from his father, and run a sleazy real estate business, Donald Trump must have made just as great a sacrifice to the nation.
Incidents like this speak for themselves. But the normal reporting of political campaigns fails to capture the fact that Trump's words and speech patterns, day in and day out, are just as astonishingly those of a seriously unbalanced man. One of the few media outlets that is doing the hard work of following and reporting in detail the words Trump utters at his rallies is Talking Points Memo, and here is just a sample of some of the bizarre, incoherent, defensive, obsessively repetitive, disassociative, and paranoid ravings that regularly proceed from his mouth. Both examples come from the rally he held in Colorado on Friday.
Regarding Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic convention:
"I was curious to see whether she'd do a class act and not mention my name. Or mention it with respect, like, say, 'I'd like to congratulate my Republican opponent for having done something that nobody has ever done in the history of politics in this nation.' Every time I mention her, everyone screams 'lock her up, lock her up.' And you know what I do? I've been nice. But after watching that performance last night, such lies, I don't have to be so nice anymore. I'm taking the gloves off, right? Yes? Take the gloves off. Take the gloves off. Right? Taking the gloves off. Just remember this, Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice guy."