Analysis |

Trump's Nasty Tweets on Puerto Rico Highlight Masochistic Side of His Narcissistic Personality

Island residents, more desperado than despacito, could trump Trump by migrating to America by the millions

Chemi Shalev
Chemi Shalev
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks to Marine One to depart the White House, Washington, September 29, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks to Marine One to depart the White House, Washington, September 29, 2017.Credit: Alex Brandon/AP
Chemi Shalev
Chemi Shalev

Some psychiatrists describe the existence of a narcissistic-masochistic personality disorder. The narcissist-masochist sees the hatred and resentment that he or she arouses in others as confirmation of their own greatness. Perhaps this can provide an explanation for Donald Trump’s seemingly inexplicable conduct in recent days in connection with the destruction sown by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In his racist-sounding rants against Puerto Ricans and with his unworthy attacks on San Juan mayor Carmen Cruz, who begged for more federal help, Trump has sparked widespread public disgust. Through the distorted prism of his problematic personality, perhaps he views this as proof that he is the greatest.

Trump actually benefited from his administration’s well-regarded responses to the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida last month, but Puerto Rico is a different story. Not only is the damage heavy, the geography challenging, the local government less functioning and the local economy more desperate, Trump at first preferred to tackle protesting NFL players rather than lead a vigorous rescue effort for the demolished island. When criticism and complaints surfaced about failing federal operations, he reacted – as usual – with a spate of personal insults and aggressive, racially tinged tweets. “They want everything to be done for them,” he wrote of Puerto Ricans, evoking a classic dog-whistle line that racists – as well as their victims – identified all too well.

Trump’s offensive tweets emphasized once again his inability to deal with criticism, his tendency to make every conflict personal, his inability to grasp the essentials of leadership or to act “presidential.” Trump’s Puerto Rico tweets reinforced his image as a white racist who harbors special hostility toward Hispanics, which he exhibited from day one of his presidential run when he described Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers. Puerto Ricans, it seems, are worth just a little bit less than Texans or Floridians or other “authentic” Americans.

Hurricane Maria shattered the illusion of Puerto Rico as a sensual paradise of sexy dancing and beautiful women enhanced in recent months by the astounding success of the song "Despacito" and its music video, which is the most watched in history. Instead of despacito, Puerto Rico turned desperado. Since Spain was compelled to cede the island to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War 120 years ago, Puerto Ricans have had to fight natural disasters, failed government and the indifference and sometimes outright racism of its managers in Washington. In this regard, Trump may be breaking new ground in his attitude, but not in actual policy. The failed recovery effort of Herbert Hoover’s Republican administration at the end of the 1920’s to three deadly hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico and destroyed its mainstay coffee and sugar industries contributed directly to the rise of resistance and independence movements. Their struggle included, among other things, an armed attack on Congress and a failed attempt to assassinate President Harry Truman.

The response this time might be different. Puerto Rican residents may not be able to vote directly for representation in Washington but they are nonetheless eligible for the U.S. citizenship that was given to them exactly 100 years ago. As such, they have the right to leave the island whenever they want and to live in America wherever they wish, an option that has already been used by the parents and grandparents of the estimated five million Puerto Ricans who live on the mainland. In recent years, the island has been losing population at a faster rate than ever, decreasing by over 10 percent in comparison to 2004. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the combination of the damage caused by Maria, the prospects of a protracted recovery and the sense that they are being targeted and vilified by their president could now persuade many more Puerto Ricans to leave the island and to join their compatriots in New York, Florida and other locales.

Such a development would highlight the irony of history. Trump, who based his campaign on incitement against Hispanics and on his pledge to keep them out, will oversee a tremendous Hispanic migration – and he won't be able to stop it. And since most Hispanics, especially Puerto Ricans, especially now, will be voting for Democrats, Trump will be delivering yet another harsh blow – one of many – to the party that sent him to the White House. Republicans might hate him for it, but Trump will be that much happier, convinced he has shown everyone just what a genius he is.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage