Like a schoolboy beset by the titillation of puppy-love, President Donald Trump's highly-juvenile heartthrobs have come with predictable regularity. First, it was his darling Putin, and Trumpty Dumpty fell hard. It hadn't taken much. After all, Putin had shoe-horned him into the presidency but, most important, he'd expressed a warm admiration for his American asset.
It was an almost-orgasmic connection, and Trump, for perhaps the first time in his life, had experienced what it means to swoon. For days, Trump doodled Vlad's name in his spiral notebook, trying hard to do his very best cursive, and sketching arrow-pierced hearts on the backs of congressional bills awaiting his signature. His White House gym locker—with its never-worn athletic shoes—was plastered with Putin's pics. Trump particularly liked the bare-chested one and secretly envied Putin's image as a ruthless, iron-handed ruler. (He loved the Russian's buff, muscular frame, but most of all, he loved Putin's long arms, able to eliminate enemies who'd escaped.) Each time Trump looked at Putin in his pinup pose, there was a faint hint of salivation, and, when no one was looking, Trump stood in front of his own mirror, grunting, flexing, and turning red in his attempt to emulate the object of his affection.
The reality is that Trump's puppy love will endure only as long as Putin "keeps the cards and letters coming." (It's also dependent on Putin keeping "their little secret"—the denial that Russia engineered Trump's election.) A narcissist's love, after all, is pathetically shallow, working on the simple premise, "Tell me what I want to hear, stroke my ego, and I will remain smitten."
Enter: another love. (A narcissist can't have too many worshippers.) It wasn't long ago that Trump's locker-room talk included words like chinks and gooks. His low opinion of the "slitty-eyed" Asians was no secret, and his disdain peaked as Kim Jong-un ramped up North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Trump hated Rocket Man, even threatening annihilating the entire North Korean people. Their first face-to-face meeting changed it all.
By his own description, Trump simply "fell in love" with the man, and suddenly there were Kim doodles—some with rich Florentine embellishments—flooding his notebook. (He was particularly taken by Kim's brazen murders of his half-brother and uncle.) Daytime fantasies merged with nighttime dreams, and Trump had a hard time giving Melania even the perfunctory kisses required by the press. (After all, she did not treat him like he was God.)
Trump had a hard time figuring out what qualities he loved most about Kim. As the show commenced, the rest of the world understood; Kim's cooperative and, in retrospect, fleeting response to the notion of nuclear disarmament made Trump look like a hero. Cupid's arrows had struck again. Trump beamed after their first meeting, looking into his mirror and repeating, "He loves me; he loves me, and together we will create a new and lasting peace in the Koreas. I will be heralded as the greatest president in American history."
For days, Trump quietly, sweetly repeated Kim's name, and visualized the two of them walking into the sunset under a rainbow of peace. And, oh yes, Trump picked a daisy from the White House garden, peering wistfully at the flower and systematically removing the petals one by one. Almost inaudibly, he'd repeat, over and over, "He loves me; he loves me not," and the last petal confirmed that the affection was mutual.
But, wait a minute, narcissists cannot have enough admirers. Enter: yet another love. Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had such a lovely smile, and Trump secretly wished that he too could grow a fine beard, even fantasizing about having his hairdresser change the orange color of his hair. But looks were only part of it. It was essentially the bad-boy attraction that so frequently sweeps school kids off their feet.
Trump daydreamed continuously about Bin Salman's cold savagery, fantasizing about being one of the prince's 18 meat-saw-carrying-tourist-assassins, and visualizing Jamal Khashoggi's terror. Each time the Lyin' King thought about the prince's masterful, flawless planning, he reveled at the perfection of the murder. "Oh," Trump mused, "I wonder if those guys would like to vacation in California? Kamala, Nancy ... they'd be history." And just a bit of saliva dripped on his tie when he considered the sheer genius of how Bin Salman dealt with dissidents. As he drifted off to sleep each evening, Trump visualized Bin Salman's rosy-cheeked mask, secretly wishing that his own look was just a bit less anemic and that his lips were fuller. Most of all, POTUS imagined how nice it would be to have a harem of subjects who welcomed pussy-grabbing, and wouldn't file lawsuits for sexual harassment.
The list of Trump's infatuations goes on. His fantasies that the world's worst tyrants love him have created the puppy-love ties to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro and others. His true loves are totally predictable. He's a grade-schooler who, much like a Labrador retriever, bases his love strictly on who will feed him. Those who actually believe he's capable of any semblance of mature affection are simply in La-La-Land. Americans should be damned worried that a pathological narcissistic child sits on the D.C. throne.
The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org