Perhaps the signal accomplishment of the Pence presidency will be the loss of a unifying figure for this country’s bigots to rally behind. With the departure of Donald J. Trump, Republicans – the party of Lincoln? – might find the gumption distance themselves from ignorant, frightened, klanazi haters. Wait, you say. What Pence presidency?
The one necessitated by Trump’s final and total mental collapse. I know. People of my ilk have called him crazy for years. Last year, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, in which 27 mental health experts concluded the president’s mental state renders him “dangerously mad,” according to the E. R. Hamilton Book Co. catalog listing.
Columnist Kerry Eleveld, probably as trained in psychology as I am (not), suggests Trump “projects” his own insecurities and shortcomings onto others so he can denounce his failings without addressing them. I’m not talking about that, his incapacity to recognize or speak the truth or his inability to learn facts that disturb his egoistic world view – as revealed by former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson last week.
No, I mean the ultimate failure of his mental faculties – even the crazy ones. His condition is so worrisome that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson says he doesn’t think our president is “capable of sustained focus.” Not unwilling, incapable. Fox News, mind you.
In France to commemorate the end of WWI, the trans-Atlantic trip rendered him unable to take part in some of the ceremonies. He was sequestered out of the public eye. It was during the return flight, that his third wife – evidently a foreign affairs expert from modeling across Europe – convinced him to reassign a deputy national security advisor out of the White House. That whirlwind trip left him mostly silent from his tweeting for the next several days, missing the Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, as he recovered what passes for his equilibrium.
During a Nov. 7 press conference, Trump was asked about rapper Lil Jon’s assertion that Trump had called him an “Uncle Tom.” Trump said he didn’t know who Lil Jon is. A pesky reporter reminded him that the rapper had been on “The Apprentice,” the unreality TV show that preceded this unreal presidency.
“I don’t know. Oh, he was? OK, I see. I don’t know,” Trump said, according to Huffington Post.
Well, old guys (and gals) tend to forget things. Long-term memory loss.
Prior to leaving for France, Trump talked to reporters about the Russian investigation and his illegal appointment of acting-attorney general Matthew Whittaker. “I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker about it.” Trump said. “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” according to Jordan Fabian of The Hill. In an Oct. 11 interview with Fox News (again), Trump said “I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”
Short-term memory loss. Not much memory left.
The president’s embarrassing shambling around the stage at the Buenos Aires meetings reveals another sign of descending mental fog. Saving Exhibit A for last. Let’s talk tariffs.
On Oct. 24, Trump gave an interview with the Wall Street Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire which also includes White House publicists Fox News. Trumpistas would be hard-pressed to find a more sympathetic forum. At a time when he had placed more than $300 million in tariffs on foreign goods, our president said, “But I didn’t put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere. I read that today: We’re worried about the tariffs.”
No memory whatsoever. And very little coherence.
Catching Trump speaking contradictions is too easy to be considered sport, but one feels duty bound to point out on July 24 NBC News reported: “This morning, President Trump declared, ‘Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that — and everybody’s talking!’” Everybody’s talking all right. But not all publicity is good publicity – especially when it demonstrates such obvious mental failings.
Last week, the issue became even more bizarre when our president – perhaps fixated on Margot Robbie’s talk show tour with its inevitable mention of her comic book heroine Harley Quinn – tweeted himself to be Tariff Man: “China is supposed to start buying Agricultural products and more immediately. President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember, I am Tariff Man.”
By putting little Tariff Man to bed, the adults might keep him out of prison.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)