President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of the US Donald Trump during the joint news conference following their meeting in Helsinki July 16, 2018. Photo: AFP / Sergey Guneev / Sputnik

Most of 2020’s first US presidential debate in Cleveland was shown split screen with Trump on the left and Biden on the right. Within minutes, Trump was tense and red faced. Biden smiled with confidence and ease a number of times

Trump began to sweat and his forehead muscles never eased; he appeared intimidated by Biden.

Bullying is a way of compensating for some inadequacy that the bully has always tried to hide. Trump was probably a dyslexic who had a difficult time retaining what he read. (I did too.)

He compensated for that with his dad’s money. But Trump has always tried to avoid in-depth policy discussions and that was more the reason he tried to make the debate into a huge distraction.

When you are dyslexic, people begin to doubt your intelligence. Trump probably got a lot of that and rebelled, which may be why his parents sent him to a military school.

And this may be one reason he likes to brag about how smart he is. “Don’t talk to me about being smart,” Trump snapped at Biden at one point.

If Trump had struggled with dyslexia, Biden had struggled with stuttering. Sometimes even now Biden needs to collect his thoughts and mouth the words one by one carefully. But through sheer will power, Biden won his struggle.

It was not easy, it was hard – and that is where his empathy with others who struggle is genuine.

Trump knew he had been faking it all his life and now he was facing a man who was genuine. Trump knew it; that is why he was tense, red faced and trying to reduce things to a mud fight.

But consider this: Trump was most likely intimidated by Putin, too. Look at Trump’s face in Helsinki: tense, red faced, struggling.

For some reason, Trump did not choose to reduce Helsinki to a mud fight. Maybe it was because Trump needed money from Putin. We now know that the Trump Organization had not been earning much profit for one to two decades after declaring a number of bankruptcies.

A low-level civil servant in such a financial bind would never get security clearance for a toilet key at Langley.

A retired Tokyo-based analyst for a major US investment bank, Matt Aizawa now crunches numbers beside a lake north of the city.