New Orleans This is what we’ve come to now. A little less than one year into the Trump term, we have the President of the United States claiming he is “stable” and a “genius.” It is unimaginable that we have a sitting president who feels forced to have to publicly defend himself from the popular perception that he is both crazy and intellectually out of his depth in the office. Oh, mercy, what is to become of us!
Trump of course has made gossip reporter, Michael Wolff’s book, a top of the heap, sure-fire best seller and a topic of constant, unrelenting conversation. Pundits are having a field day. They both get to tut-tut and raise their eyebrows about Wolff’s reputation as a bit loose with the truth, while also underlining how much of what he is writing is common knowledge.
Trump of course in a not-so-smart move despite his protests, guaranteed the book would be huge by preemptively cutting the cord to his former drum major, Stephen Bannon, because of his caustic comments about Trump’s family, thereby bringing even more attention to the remarks. He then ham-handedly had his legal attack dogs threaten the publisher, Henry Holt, to prevent publication, and to course this being business, not a reality show, the publisher than published the book even sooner. Trump not being a student of politics or interested in the experience of any other folks who even visited the Oval Office is oblivious to Senator Huey Long’s dicta that there is “no adequate defense to a public attack.”
All of this is the usual drama-rama that surrounds him. Mostly his comments were the equivalent of his efforts to light a brush fire to redirect a total conflagration. The most troubling reports were the ones that everyone seems to agree were totally factual and that was the observation that 100% of the White House and West Wing staff are convinced that the president is so out of his depth that they pursue their jobs single-mindedly trying to prevent the country from careening into even worse catastrophes. Conservative columnist, Ross Douthat of the Times, drew on historical precedents citing a “petticoat government,” under Woodrow Wilson and other strains, but worse pointed out that President Trump’s lack of capacity, rather than any specific incapacity, was a hold-your-breath moment for the country for another three years.
Trump’s claims of his stability and mental firepower are his feeble efforts to combat what has become an everyday popular understanding about his incapacity, his disinterest in reading, his television habit, his tweeting, and his constant and dangerous sense of personal grievance, narcissism, and insecurity. While we have to worry about the fate of the country and our democracy, Trump’s enablers are tearing apart the fabric behind his smokescreen and taking credit for preventing the nation from even worse problems in the name of their self-servicing claim of patriotism.