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Letters to the Editor - The New York Times

Category: Art & Culture,Books

What Trump Hath Wrought

To the Editor:

In his review of Michiko Kakutani’s “The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump” (July 29), Chris Hayes repeats a frequently encountered misapprehension about Donald Trump when he states that “his behavior, like the woodpecker, feels instinctual and feral: a deeply broken man who hammers away moment to moment trying to repair his own brokenness, and leaving nothing but a hole.” For a psychiatrist like myself, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of someone with a personality that privileges destructiveness and revels in the destruction of others and their ideals, whether they be refugees seeking asylum or carefully constructed policies that recognize the danger of Russian aggression.

There is nothing broken about our president and he certainly isn’t “trying to repair his own brokenness.” Rather he is an intact individual who feels triumphant when he successfully destroys the goodness of others. If he leaves “nothing but a hole,” that hole is in us and in our constitutional democracy. When Hayes identifies insecurity or vulnerability as part of what motivates President Trump, this fails to acknowledge the greater danger he poses because his destructiveness comes from a very intact self rather than from one that is broken.


To the Editor:

I always thought that a book review was supposed to be primarily about the book being reviewed and not a platform for the political views of the reviewer. I found Chris Hayes’s review of Michiko Kakutani’s “The Death of Truth” to be primarily a vehicle for Hayes to deliver a personal, gratuitous and venomous attack on the president of the United States. Hayes is entitled to his views, but there are other more appropriate sections of The New York Times in which to air them.

Alan H. Siegel
New York


To the Editor:

The concluding sentence of Anthony Julius’s review of Steven J. Zipperstein’s “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History” (July 29) lacks the historical specificity the Jewish victims he refers to deserve. “How long,” he asks, “would they be the victims of history?” Jews have not been the victims of history. They have been the victims of anti-Semites: Christian, German, French, Russian and now Muslim. Just as the victims deserve eternal reverence, the killers deserve eternal damnation. Such eternal damnation is ignored by calling the Jews merely “victims of history.”


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