I was on a panel on China Global Television Network’s “The Heat” on Oct. 7, 2020, talking with host Mike Walter about President Trump’s return to the White House after his hospital treatment for COVID-19, in the context of my book Patriots of Two Nations.
Spencer Critchley: I think he’s in very serious trouble, and we’re watching his presidency imploding before our eyes, and we’re watching his behavior become increasingly frantic as he tries to figure out what story he could possibly spin to get himself out of this trouble, which is really his only tactic, as essentially a lifelong con man. And, I would say, a very seriously damaged human being.
I actually feel some compassion for him, wondering what the pain must have been like of his childhood, to turn him into a person who’s grown up to be apparently incapable of imagining the lives of others and seeing everything as a projection of himself.
I think this is also, as terrible as it is, if I could be forgiven for using the word, it’s the perfect crisis for his presidency because, as I found in researching my book, the division we’re experiencing now didn’t start with Trump, and in fact, it goes all the way back to the founding of the country. And he really represents a worldview that’s different from the Founders’ worldview. But it’s one that’s always been there, and it’s one that actually rejects the Enlightenment legacy of reason in favor of faith, tradition, loyalty to the leader, ties to the native land, and ethnic identity.
And I think that’s one reason why it feels like we’re living in different realities when we talk to Trump supporters. But what’s happening now is Trump’s reality is actually colliding with the reality that kills more more than 210,000 Americans, or destroys our reputation, or blows up the economy. It has these real world impacts that cannot, as I say, be spun away with a story.
Mike Walter: And does that shatter that — that kind of mythology for his followers?
Spencer Critchley: Yes, I would have predicted, and I do predict this in the book. I describe what would shake this absolute loyalty of his followers, which we should think of, I would say, in pre-Enlightenment terms, as if we’re in the Middle Ages or the Dark ages. If you imagine knights, loyal to their king on the battlefield, and nothing will shake their oath of loyalty because his authority is embodied in him — except failure, and that’s what we’re seeing here.