The Washington Post ran a feature Saturday that extensively profiled a female Trump supporter who recently spent time in a hospital for mental issues.
The piece used one of the woman’s quotes as its headline: “Finally. Someone who thinks like me.” The implication is clear: that a woman who recently went through a tough time and is recovering from mental health issues is the prototype for the millions of Americans supporting Donald Trump.
The Post sent its “national enterprise reporter” Stephanie McCrummen, 2015 winner of the Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Coverage by the Media, into “a living room in western Pennsylvania” to watch the Republican National Convention with the woman and her boyfriend, presumably with the couple’s consent.
The woman disputes the idea that she needed to be hospitalized in the first place. McCrummen reports:
The first time she had seen him, at a rally in June, she was just beginning to realize how many people saw the world the way she did, that she was one among millions. At the time, her hips were still sore from a series of injections intended to calm her. She had gotten them in February, during a difficult time in her life, when she had been involuntarily hospitalized for several weeks after what she called a “rant,” a series of online postings that included one saying that Obama should be hanged and the White House fumigated and burned to the ground. On her discharge papers, in a box labeled “medical problem,” a doctor had typed “homicidal ideation.”
Melanie thought the whole thing was outrageous. She wasn’t a person with homicidal ideation. She was anxious, sure. Enraged, definitely. But certainly not homicidal, and certainly not in need of a hospital stay.
“It never crossed my mind that I’m losing it,” she said several months after her release, and a big reason for this conviction was the rise of Donald Trump, who had talked about so many of the things she had come to believe — from Obama being a founder of the terrorist group ISIS, to Hillary Clinton being a co-founder, to the idea that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered in a White House plot involving a prostitute and a pillow.
The woman’s enthusiasm for Trump is recorded in detail:
“Here comes Big Daddy,” she said, clapping. “The Donald. Big Daddy.”
Kevin was snoring.
“Here he is, babe,” she said. “Donald’s here, babe.”
Trump walked onto the stage, chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
“That’s right, Donald — USA, baby,” Melanie said to the Republican nominee for president, who began his speech by marveling at all the Americans who had gotten him here.
“Who would have believed that when we started this journey on June 16th of last year we — and I say we, because we are a team — would have received almost 14 million votes?” Trump said, looking out on the cheering crowd.
“I would,” Melanie said to the TV. “I would, Donald.”
The article closes with a very clear implication about the woman’s “head.”
“You winning?” she said, but Kevin was drifting off again, and as Trump went on about “how the system is rigged,” and “wounded American families” and “our own struggling citizens,” Melanie said yes, yes, yes, over and over again, until Trump reached the final three words of his speech.
“I love you,” he said.
“He really does love us,” Melanie said, and soon, the balloons were dropping, Trump was waving to the crowd, and she was switching off the television. She didn’t need to hear any more.
“It’s finished,” she said of the 2016 presidential election, in which she was sure Trump would triumph and more and more people across the country would at last see the truth. “In my head, anyway.”