Trump: Is he unfit for office?
After a series of shocking revelations engulfed Donald Trump’s presidency this week, said David Brooks in The New York Times, there can no longer be any doubt: Our nation is being “led by a child.” The common thread linking Trump’s sharing of highly classified intelligence with Russia and his firing of FBI Director James Comey is the president’s impulsiveness and sheer “immaturity.” Trump reportedly blabbed topsecret information to the Russian officials visiting the Oval Office not for strategic reasons, but just to impress them, like a “7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.” He fired Comey because, as he admitted in an interview, he got tired of seeing that “showboat” on TV, talking about the Russia investigation. “None of these disastrous decisions was part of a deliberate plan,” said Anne Applebaum in WashingtonPost.com. “Each one was made because of the president’s willful ignorance, impulsiveness, and inexperience.” But can anyone really be surprised? Last August, 50 Republican national security experts warned that the ill-informed, thin-skinned Trump “lacks the character, values, and experience” to lead the nation. Nearly four months into this disastrous experiment, it’s clear they were right.
“There is clearly something wrong with Trump,” said David Roberts in Vox.com. His chaotic, scandal-plagued few months in office have exposed him as an “extreme narcissist” haunted by “a gnawing sense of inadequacy” and driven by his hunger for “adulation, admiration, and reinforcement for his hypersensitive ego.” Denied it, he becomes “incredibly vengeful.” Trump has no real agenda or core beliefs, except a hunger to dominate others; no one can trust him. “He is a raging fire of need, shaped by a lifetime of entitlement, with the emotional maturity and attention span of a 6-year-old.” To put it more simply, said Andrew Sullivan in NYMag.com, the president is flat-out “off his rocker.”
Pay no attention to the “armchair diagnosers,” said Cullen Herout in TheFederalist.com. It’s no coincidence that those now speculating aloud about various psychiatric conditions afflicting President Trump—from “malignant narcissism” to Alzheimer’s disease— also loathe him on ideological grounds. Their concern about his mental health “rings hollow.” As for the speculation that Trump is showing signs of age-related decline, said Tony Schwartz in The Washington Post, I see no difference between the Trump of today and of 30 years ago, when I wrote The Art of the Deal for him. Then as now, he was a desperately needy guy who saw every human encounter “as a contest he had to win” by any means necessary, and “damn the consequences.”
Whatever the state of Trump’s mental health, said Ross Douthat in NYTimes.com, he just isn’t up to the job. Even his inner circle now report a constant struggle to keep him focused on the task at hand, and to curb his self-destructive impulses, as if they were “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.” The 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides a mechanism for removing a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” and it’s time for Congress to apply that remedy. I agree that Trump is unfit for the presidency, said Charles Cooke in NationalReview.com, but for Washington elites to depose him on such “nebulous grounds” would enrage the tens of millions of Americans who voted Trump into office. They’d see it, not without justification, as a coup, and the result would be rage and turmoil “the likes of which we have not seen in a while.” ■