Dear Dr. Phil –

I am sorely disappointed.

Last night I called to see how my mother was doing, and she said she couldn’t stay on the phone because you were about to interview her beloved Donald Trump. As I hung up the phone, I had a moment of hope. Surely Dr. Phil, I thought, known for exposing people’s real selves, will make her see the former president in a different light.

She loves you. I just bought her your new book for Mother’s Day. You see, since my father died of COVID three years ago, it has become a regular thing to hear Mom speak of you and your latest shows. It soothes her to watch you and I have been grateful for anything that makes her feel better these days.

So, yes, I thought you of all people could bring some desperately needed truth to people like Mom. I quickly Googled to find the right channel and tuned in just as the show started.

Right out of the gate – boom! What an awful feeling, seeing you feed Trump’s twisted persecution narrative from the jump. You told him people have been out to get him since 2015 with no mention that much of that is normal in politics. You failed to question his own behavior, skipping over moral and criminal misdeeds that you’d never let a person on your longstanding show get away with (I know because I used to watch you back in the day).

Pandering doesn’t begin to cover what you did. You made a fool of yourself.

Why oh why had I tuned in?

Well, let me psychoanalyze myself for a moment. I suppose somewhere deep in my core I had still been harboring hope that my 87-year-old mother would see how badly she’s been duped by a criminal mad man. I hadn’t realized it until that moment, that deep-seated wish. Yearning, even. She used to get her news from The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. Sigh.

I love her dearly. And I suppose on some level that love needs to include the knowledge that she probably slept better after watching your conversation with Trump. I won’t call it an interview because, sir, you didn’t bring any form of your professional self to that experience, only your inner diehard MAGA soul.

I have never agreed with my mother politically, so this isn’t about expecting her to be aligned with my stances on things. It’s about reality vs. fantasy. Trump has spun a fairy tale inside a red, white and blue cocoon of delusion. And you, Dr. Phil, are eagerly burrowing inside, absorbing the fanciful lies and shutting out the documents, social media posts, court decisions, former Trump staffers (generals!) who have shared horror stories, etc.

Even if you lean MAGA, you could have challenged him or held him to account on something, anything. CNN’s Abby Phillip later rightly corrected you about your claim that accomplice witnesses never testify (hello, mob trials); you said you disagreed with her, but you don’t get to disagree with provable facts. You had cited your expertise in working with juries, the very same expertise I thought might prove beneficial in exposing some of the Trump victim fallacies.

Shockingly, you went the other way and validated those. Not even your work as a psychologist came through. I think you honestly believe Donald Trump is thick-skinned. I mean, holy cow, I think you were being earnest.

My mind = blown.

Sir, you were out of your depth here. You may as well have just said you want to have your friend on your show and called it a campaign stop. You suggested he not lean into revenge and retribution and you told Phillip you will continue to advocate for that. I say with full sincerity:

Good luck with that. I’ll be rooting for you.

[Editorial Note: This is my 11th installment in a series I began in order to give my writing some flow after being in a healing phase from knee surgeries for a year (2023-24).]

[This post was originally published on Facebook on June 7, 2024.]