I abhor those five words– “If I had only known.” It signals that the person saying them has been unaware of readily available knowledge. In some cases that can be benign as in the case of a person not knowing that there no eggs in the refrigerator. In some cases, it’s more serious – “Honest officer, if I had only known it was a school zone I would have slowed down.” And in other cases, it can be deadly and catastrophic. In the case of Donald Trump and COVID-19, it is the last.
I don’t know if it’s true that all narcissists must personally experience something to understand its importance, but I fully expect that Trump will soon have an epiphany about the seriousness of COVID-19 now that he has it.
While hundreds of thousands of Americans have died, Trump stood idly by at a time when decisive measures could have blunted the virus’s impact in the United States. Instead, we heard mutterings like totally under control, a bad cold, go away like magic, very little problem, pretty soon at only five people, we’ve done a great job, Wall Street is looking good, herd mentality, and I want an early T time today.
As much as I dread hearing Trump say, “If I had only known,” I fear more that his base will forgive his intellectual ambivalence and absence of empathy during the pandemic. I can almost hear them say: “After all, if he had only known this was as serious as it is, he would have shown more leadership when it could have made a difference. Now, after having COVID-19 himself, he can be even better at making America great again. There’s no way I won’t vote to make sure he stays in office so he can finish his job of beating this China virus.”
God help us all if America reelects a Narcissist in Chief instead of a Commander in Chief.