Peter Wehner worked in the Reagan administration as a young man, as well as in the administrations of both Bush presidents. He remembers Reagan as a man who exuded hope and optimism. Whether or not you liked his policies, he was relentlessly cheerful and friendly.

Trump, on the other hand, is filled with self-pity and rage. Look at almost any photograph of him, and he is a portrait of an angry man. It is as though life has cheated him, people betray him, he is never “treated fairly.” Everyone is against him. He wallows in self-pity.

Wehner doesn’t understand why the man who is in the White House is so angry. He is “a psychologically broken, embittered, and deeply unhappy man.”

He lives to exact revenge, to watch his opponents suffer, to inflict pain on those who don’t bend before him. Even former war heroes who have died can’t escape his wrath.

So Donald Trump is a vindictive man who also happens to be commander in chief and head of the executive branch, which includes the Justice Department, and there is no one around the president who will stand up to him. He has surrounded himself with lapdogs.

He has utterly reshaped the Republican Party, bending it to his will.

There were certainly ugly elements on the American right during the Reagan presidency, and Reagan himself was not without flaws. But as president, he set the tone, and the tone was optimism, courtliness and elegance, joie de vivre.

He has since been replaced by the crudest and cruelest man ever to be president. But not just that. One senses in Donald Trump no joy, no delight, no laughter. All the emotions that drive him are negative. There is something repugnant about Trump, yes, but there is also something quite sad about the man. He is a damaged soul.

In another time, in a different circumstance, there would perhaps be room to pity such a person. But for now, it is best for the pity to wait. There are other things to which to attend. The American public faces one great and morally urgent task above all others between now and November: to do everything in its power to remove from the presidency a self-pitying man who is shattering the nation and doesn’t even care.