Trump has shown classic narcissistic behavior once again by punishing those who have not fed his ego enough or those who have called out his lack of action in the SARS-CoV-2 crisis.
While giving a press briefing, Trump said of governors, “I want them to be appreciative.” Trump then said he instructed Vice President Pence, the appointed head of the SARS-CoV-2 task force, to not contact the governors of Michigan and Washington. The reason? Their governors called Trump out on lack of tests, aid, and holding back on invoking the Defense Production Act to produce ventilators. As a narcissist, Trump saw this as an attack on his ego, instead of what the governors’ concerns truly are — a call for Trump to take action.
Trump added, “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”
This is a brazen and startling admission, even for a president who has shown immense amounts of narcissistic behavior. The fact that Trump is openly admitting that he is punishing states where the governors have not praised him is beyond alarming. His behavior also demonstrates that he feels confident no one will stop him from continuing to punish those who he perceives to be “disloyal.” This brazenness speaks to this administration and the Senate condoning Trump’s behavior, and therefore, endorsing it.
Michigan Governor (and Democrat) Gretchen Whitmer waited for an answer to her request for a declaration of disaster. This declaration would allow Michigan to receive federal aid. For each hospital in Michigan, the federal allotment of personal protective equipment is 747 face masks, 204 gowns, 4, 467 gloves, and 64 face shields. Governor Whitmer stated that except for the gloves, the amount allotted to her state “is barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital. It’s not even a full day’s worth of shifts.”
On March 26th, Trump said that he was still considering Whitmer’s request. He said to Sean Hannity, “We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor…from Michigan.” Note that Trump feels the need to point out that the governor of Michigan is female. Her gender, and her age for that matter, have nothing to do with the fact that she is the leader of a state. It reflects on Trump’s history of responding very poorly to women who set boundaries or criticize his actions. When women speak out against Trump’s behavior, his narcissistic rage is even more out of control than when men speak out against him.
On March 28th, it was announced that Trump finally approved Whitmer’s disaster declaration days after it was requested. Whitmer said that Trump’s behavior and withholding of federal aid was “very distressing,” adding that many governors have criticized Trump’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, but that “I’ve been uniquely singled out despite my voice not being the only one…”
As per Trump’s history of behavior, when he feels slighted by a person or entity, he reacts as many narcissists do — he burns his perceived adversary to the ground. This “scorched earth” policy is well-known to victims of narcissists. A narcissist will stop at nothing to see that you are adequately “punished” for your “transgression” against them. As has been said many times about the Trump administration policies and behavior, “The cruelty is the point.”
Trump’s “payback” to others he perceives as “disloyal” is well-known by now. Political consultant and author Rick Wilson tweeted, “Looks like Governor Whitmer is about to go through some things.” Trump’s punishment towards Whitmer, as seen from his past behavior, will most likely go beyond postponing aid to Michigan, in this case, days after Whitmer’s request. Trump withheld aid to a state because he didn’t like that the governor criticized his lack of action. Using a “quid pro quo” for lifesaving aid and withholding that aid unless a state’s governor plays by a narcissist’s rules is right in line with this pathological personality type. The fact that Republicans are silent about it speaks volumes.