Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: The Pathology of Trump-Itis

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: The Pathology of Trump-Itis

Article excerpt

Surely he's finally gone and done it now.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Donald Trump made many feel nostalgic for the merely obnoxious Trump when he mocked a reporter with a physical disability.

Trump denies doing what he plainly did. Flailing his arms and hooking his hand into a claw, Trump appeared to be doing an impression of Serge Kovaleski's uncontrollable arm movements, which are caused by a congenital joint condition.

Trump's display was reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh's mockery of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease. Limbaugh accused the actor of exaggerating his symptoms for effect. Trump has argued Kovaleski, who writes for The New York Times, is using his affliction to grandstand.

Though their critics may revile them in private, few are willing to call either of them out for their callousness. Trump and Limbaugh have legions of fans who, if you're a political candidate, must not be offended.

It is hard to fathom Trump's success as a presidential candidate. What sort of people abide a man with such a gargantuan ego whose sole accomplishment is having made a bundle of money, with lots of help from bankruptcies and a lavish loan from his father?

At first it was a show. Most non-fans assumed he'd fizzle or eventually get bored. A cynic might have wondered if Trump wasn't trying to get himself fired by blurting ever-more-outrageous statements. But the worse he got, the more some people liked him.

When I wrote recently that a cursing, meandering Trump had veered into a ditch after he more or less insinuated to an Iowa audience that Iowans are stupid, his fan club got in touch. Apparently, any negative media commentary is a gift to Trump followers, who'd rather ignore, or, in some cases, cheer the taunting of a disabled reporter than recognize what would otherwise be repugnant. …

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