I would recommend this conversation for anyone who may still be on the fence about whether Mr. Trump is fit for office. The recent long, detailed George Conway article takes a good bit of reading to get through. The recent affable conversation between Preet Bharara, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and corporate lawyer George Conway is snappy. Check it out here. The transcript of their conversation, thankfully, is here.
A few nice moments from that transcript (I was ready to transcribe this myself):
Calling it what it actually is:
George Conway: In fact, one of the descriptive terms in the psychological literature for narcissistic sociopaths such as Trump, narcissistic sociopaths who have elements of paranoia and sadism, there’s a term called malignant narcissism, and that was a term coined by a psychoanalyst named Erich Fromm, who was a Holocaust survivor. And he spent a lot of time writing and thinking and writing about what explains these tyrants like Hitler. What is it about their personality traits that is common?
George Conway: The point is that, if there was a psychological designation for evil, it would be malignant narcissism. It coincides with moral failings. So there’s nothing, in any of these psychological terms, even if you had a full-out actual diagnosis of the parallels, what I wrote in the article, that would not excuse his moral failings. Not at all. Not for a moment.
Part of The Case for Impeachment:
George Conway: You don’t want to impeach somebody for one isolated incident that wasn’t so bad. I think particularly when you’ve got an election coming up, and there’s a bit of judgment involved in weighing the seriousness of what I call a breach of fiduciary duty that amounts to a high crime and misdemeanor. Part of that is looking to patterns of behavior. And in the case of Trump, there is a pattern of behavior. He does tend to use his office for personal gain in many respects.
George Conway: I mean, you can point to his threats to Amazon and you can point to his apparent determination to have the next G7 summit at Trump Doral. I mean there are so many different things, I list many of them in the article, his vendettas against ambassadors and allies and so on. I mean, you can point to so many things, areas and ways in which he puts himself before the country. Not all of those things individually would amount to an impeachable offense, but they do fit a pattern. The reason why they fit a pattern is because that’s who he is, and the reason why that’s who he is is because of these personality disorders.
On Trump/White House Counsel’s double down obstruction letter to Congress about the” illegitimate, unconstitutional impeachment inquiry”:
Preet Bharara: I don’t understand this on a strategic level, forget about moral and character-
George Conway: Because Trump’s, his theory is never to give ground on anything and he never shows remorse for anything.
Preet Bharara: Is that part of his personality disorder or is that just, he’s a tactical genius?
George Conway: It’s part of his personality disorder, and it relates to both his narcissism and his sociopathy. As a narcissist, he completely lacks empathy. He can’t see the world the way other people see it. It’s not just, “I feel your pain,” kind of empathy, but it’s also he can’t put himself in the position of how other people see him or see the world. Then there’s the complete lack of remorse. He’s not capable of remorse in any way. You don’t see him apologize or feel guilty about anything. The only time you ever saw him apologize was for the Billy Bush tape.
Preet Bharara: The Access Hollywood, right.
George Conway: Right. And that was within weeks, he was telling people, according to Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, he was telling people that the thing was doctored. Which is completely-
Preet Bharara: After he had admitted it was [inaudible 00:40:07]. (him talking)
George Conway: After he admitted it was [inaudible 00:40:08] (him talking) and there was no evidence of doctoring and he was telling the United States senators that the thing was doctored, which is just completely insane.
Preet Bharara: So the polls have been shifting a little bit.
George Conway: Right. A lot, actually.
Preet Bharara: What is the significance and what weight should be put on public sentiment in connection with impeachment?
George Conway: Well, I think it’s … it is very significant and I think a bunch of different things are going on here. One is obviously there’s movement because I think some people are following Nancy Pelosi’s lead, but I also think people are influenced by the brazenness of the conduct that they see, that he engaged in with respect to Zelensky. I also think the bizarreness and the extremeness of his response has triggered a reaction, particularly with those press conferences, with the Finnish prime minister or president or whatever.
Preet Bharara: I always feel bad for those guys.
George Conway: It’s just incredible. I mean, I guess … I hope they get a warning before they go in there. And then finally I think, and I don’t think … I think you can’t underestimate this, there’s an exhaustion factor that’s starting to set in among the marginal Trump supporters, I think. That like, “When is this going to end? What is it with this guy? He continually does this. It’s just, I can’t take it anymore. It’s like the volume’s up at 11 all the time.” He keeps digging himself in… It’s not the fake news. He did this to himself. He does it to himself. He’s his own worst enemy.
Preet Bharara: It’s even worse because you’re like, “Oh God, I just want some light entertainment. Maybe I can watch Dancing with the Stars. Oh my God, there’s Sean Spicer.”
George Conway: And I think that the other thing to understand about it, too is, I mean, first of all, you have the independent voters, some of whom I think are probably former Republicans, he needed in 2016, remember, he … I mean, the two most important numbers in American politics today are 20, which is the number of Republican senators it would take to remove him from office, and the other number is 77,744, which is the aggregate number of votes by which he won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.