I recently finished reading Mary Trump’s book “Too Much and Never Enough,” in which the author portrays a family consumed by an almost unbelievable degree of selfishness. She explains that her aunts and uncles learned selfishness as a mechanism for coping with dysfunctional parents, but none learned it as well as Donald Trump, with strong encouragement from his father.

As a result, we now have a president who is unable to think of anyone but himself. He is in constant need of being surrounded by sycophants who praise his “genius.” In the face of the worst pandemic in a century, Trump is unable to muster an ounce of empathy for the victims of his incompetence.

Tragically, millions of Americans are following the example of the egotist in chief. We see people assaulting store employees who ask them to wear face coverings, trashing our national parks, committing hate crimes at rates not seen in generations, and insisting on holding church services, concerts and other large events during a pandemic, all asserting their right to behave irresponsibly by calling it “freedom.”

Not that long ago we had a president who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Now, as Paul Krugman observes, “many on the right are outraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account.”

America survived two world wars by pulling together. Now we have a president determined to pull us apart and blind us to the welfare of others, as that’s the only thing he knows how to do. As Krugman points out, “what the coronavirus has revealed is the power of America’s cult of selfishness. And this cult is killing us.”

Blair Bateman, Provo