That Donald Trump in incompetent and ignorant and his behavior is erratic goes without saying. The only consistent theme in is his self-centeredness and his willingness to be vindictive towards anyone whom he sees as not sufficiently fawning over him. And yet there seems to be hard core of his supporters, including pretty much the entire Republican party establishment, that is willing to follow him into whatever swamp he chooses to wade into. It is tempting to think that he is just a shrewd judge of certain kinds of people and that he behaves in this way because he knows that is what they want.
But David Masciotra argues that we may be giving him too much credit and that the evidence that Trump is suffering from serious mental degeneration is so clear that it is obvious even to lay people and that it is only our reticence to level such a charge at a president that enables society to pretend otherwise. It is always dangerous for even mental health professionals to diagnose insanity without closely examining the patient but Masciotra thinks that in Trump’s case, the indicators are so obvious that that caution can be dispensed with.
It becomes increasingly evident, with Trump’s every social media post, public utterance and policy directive, that our president suffers from a severe form of mental illness. His insanity threatens millions of lives, and has become particularly dangerous during the most devastating public health crisis in the last 100 years.
The reality that is too painful and frightening for many Americans to confront is that the wealthiest and most militarily powerful country in the world, during a pandemic, is under the leadership of someone who is certifiably nuts.
In December of 2019, 350 mental health professionals co-signed a letter to Congress stating that Donald Trump’s “deteriorating mental health” constituted a “threat to the safety of our nation.” It was merely a month later that Trump would begin to ignore multiple warnings regarding the coming COVID-19 epidemic, repeatedly announcing at rallies and on Twitter that media coverage of the virus amounted to a “hoax,” and making bizarre, unscientific statements that the potential pandemic would “go away like a miracle.”
In their cowardice, weakness and lack of imagination, the White House correspondents, the networks and publications they represent, and most Democratic officials offer a hideous illustration of “malignant normality.”
Most journalists, adhering to an institutional decorum that might have been appropriate during the Carter administration, ask Trump a question and then dutifully take notes while he blusters through an illiterate response.
Lenore Taylor, an editor with Guardian Australia, offered a reasonable perspective on Trump last year that still eludes her American peers. After attending a White House press conference, she wrote that she realized “how much the reporting of Trump necessarily edits and parses his words, to force it into sequential paragraphs or impose meaning where it is difficult to detect,” and concluded that most of journalism “masks and normalizes his full and alarming incoherence.”
A recent profile in the New Yorker of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quoted a staffer as claiming that behind closed doors McConnell has described Trump as “nuts.” Democrats should demand to know if the Republican Senate mastermind truly believes that the president is impaired, and force McConnell to choose between yet more lies and the future of his country.
Democrats should also get over their concerns about angering Trump supporters. Anyone who continues to applaud Trump’s weird and reckless disregard for humanity at this point is beyond the limit of rational persuasion. Trump supporters live in a hallucinatory dreamscape under the authority of a maniac. Let them have their anti-social distancing rallies, and allow them to believe that Barack Obama invented COVID-19 shortly after he was born in Kenya.
Rational Americans need to stop enabling this abusive and deranged presidency. Declare Donald Trump insane and, at long last, bring an end to our era of malignant normality.
Trump’s lies are so brazen that it is now common for politicians and the media to talk about him lying, a word that would not have been used in days gone by but replaced by euphemisms. Is it only a matter of time before they start openly questioning his sanity instead of just whispering it behind closed doors?