Paul Slansky
4 min readApr 7, 2022

Only one life matters to him

Man here’s got blood on his hands

“I think he wanted to be able to kill whoever spoke out against him … He loved the dictators, he loved the people who could kill anyone, including the press.” — Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, explaining that Trump admires Putin for his ability to kill whoever he wants to

Finally, we get to the nub of it. It’s not like he ever tried to hide it. He came right out and told us that his idea of loyalty was people sticking with him even if he shot someone. Some of us have known all along that this is not just a man to be laughed at (though he is surely that) but also one to be feared. For all of the probably millions of words I’ve written or said on the subject, this excerpt from a six-year-old piece I wrote for The Huffington Post boils it all down to its essence:

Donald Trump has the soul of a killer. Look at him. Listen to him. He wants you to know it. “I love the old days,” he waxes nostalgic, assuming, as one of history’s hugest narcissists would, that everyone he’s talking to is exactly like him and we all live to inflict pain. “You know what they used to do to guys like that [a protester] when they were in a place like this [a political rally]? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks. It’s true. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.” … Fondly recalling an incident in which several of his droogs descended on another protester, he gushes, “It was a beautiful thing.” He can’t stop telling us how much he wants to hurt people. The great paradox about this depraved man is that, despite his pathological desperation to be loved, the main thing he needs us to know about him is that he despises everyone who isn’t him (and himself most of all).”

Trump’s vulgar thuggery has always announced itself in his every word, every motion, every thought. One could not have been a sentient New Yorker in the ’80s exposed to Trump’s entitled lout persona and his smug snirk (sneer meets smirk) and not have viscerally loathed him. This was obviously a very bad man, but of course one could have had no idea then how unfathomably bad he was, or how deep would be the damage he could do to the world. Local buffoon to global menace wasn’t a common arc.