Possibly, the most important principle motivating the president is that Donald Trump cannot lose. This is so much a guiding law of his life that once he believes something — anything, no matter how absurd, unfactual or free-floating, a critic has to be wrong. The critic must be attacked and defeated vindictively — with as much demeaning as possible.

Once this imaginative instinct of Donald Trump comes to believe something as true, he cannot back down — lest it mean he was losing. This character trait drives them to require loyalty — or else — to be defiant and leave law behind. The trait allows him to get away with nepotism, to pursue profit indirectly while in office, to throw any kind of opponent or questioner under the bus, attack the media and pursue his own pleasure, no matter the cost.

Donald Trump does not lie. Lying means you know you are speaking falsely. He just lives in his alternate universe which he believes in completely, to the exclusion of facts. Long since having abandoned conscience, he has substituted his instincts, his ego and his absolute superiority. He allows no ethics — much less God, religion or faith — to guide him in his decisions. Almost certainly, he will continue to hide his tax returns precisely because they reveal some kind of loss or defeat.

Unfortunately, leading Republicans who dance to his tune do not yet appreciate the swamp — the capricious god — into which his lack of a moral compass or conscience has led them.

Joris John Heise, Bloomington

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