UPDATE: Trump just tweeted this ridiculous message to the wrong Theresa May (a woman with a protected account who has 6 followers) in what is further proof that he needs to be removed from office immediately. The tweet now appears to have been deleted:
It is true that the left has been somewhat guilty in jumping on anything Donald Trump says or does to score political points. At the Banter, we make efforts not to do this because the net effect is to further tribalize politics and minimize the truly abhorrent actions of the president. If you are mad at Trump all the time, it is hard to prioritize what the real crimes are and discern what can effectively be done about them. Of course this is incredibly difficult to do given Trump does something unforgivably horrible on a daily basis and it is almost impossible not to be perpetually outraged.
However, there are several things worth noting about the president’s behavior recently that point to something incredibly disturbing — and that it is rapidly declining mental state. This has been going on for some time, but in recent days Trump’s grip on reality appears to have taken an even more serious turn for the worse.
Take a look at this “riff” Trump went on today when talking about his ridiculous tax reform plan:
President Trump makes Kim Jong Un reference during tax reform speech: "These massive tax cuts will be rocket fuel — little Rocket Man — rocket fuel for the American economy. He is a sick puppy." pic.twitter.com/CpLJKcy0Re
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 29, 2017
“These massive tax cuts will be rocket fuel — little Rocket Man — rocket fuel for the American economy. He is a sick puppy.”
On its own, this doesn’t mean all that much. But it does reveal how Trump’s mind works. He is now incapable of using anything other than basic words (“tremendous!”), or staying on message for more than a few seconds at a time. The word “rocket” appears to have distracted him to the point of changing the topic from tax reform to Kim Jong Un — a bizarre sidetrack even for Trump. When you look at the bigger picture, the trend is extremely worrying. As Jonathan Chait noted today, Trump may well be “in the grip of a mental-health issue,” that appears to be causing him to believe his own preposterous lies:
The Washington Post and New York Times have accounts from insiders suggesting Trump habitually insists upon the impossible in private. He does not merely tell lies in order to gull the public or to manipulate allies. He tells lies in private that he has no reason to tell. He still questions the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birthplace, despite the birth certificate. He insists voter fraud may have denied him a popular-vote triumph. He tells people Robert Mueller will wrap up his investigation, with a total vindication of the president, by the end of the year.
He questions whether the Access Hollywood tape, on which he was recorded boasting of sexual assault, is even him. (Both the Post and the Times report Trump repeatedly has denied the validity of the tape in private, “stunning his advisers,” as the Times puts it.)
Late at night, Trump has also been retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a notorious British fascist — a move so politically stupid it is hard to imagine he isn’t trying to sabotage his own presidency. Coupled with his completely insane twitter announcement that he thought there was no point in negotiating with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hours before a planned meeting with them to discuss year-end legislative agenda, it is abundantly clear that Trump exists in a world of his own and is now unable to see outside of it or interact with anyone not politically wedded to him.
This can and will go on as long as those around him continue to allow it to. While Republicans are reportedly besides themselves with anguish as to what to do about their madman president, there is no meaningful movement within the party to do anything about it. This is likely because Congress is less popular than Trump — a truly astonishing feat that has rendered the party apparatus incapable of doing anything about their insane Commander in Chief.
At some point, this will have to end and Trump will be carted off to one of his golf courses to prevent further damage to the once great republic. In the mean time, we have to watch this train wreck live and pray he doesn’t instigate a nuclear holocaust because someone said something bad about him on Twitter.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.