Could anyone of any reason disagree with former intelligence director James Clapper's assessment of Trump's Phoenix tirade? It was "downright scary and disturbing." Or with his assessment of Trump? "I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office." Is there reasonable disagreement with Republican-operative Rick Wilson's remark that "this was a Castro-esque speech in length, an astounding chain of lies … by a man who is obviously mentally unstable." Was CNN host Don Lemon, to whom the preceding comments were addressed, in any way wrong when he opened his post-speech coverage by observing, "What we have witnessed is a total eclipse of the facts"; Trump is "unhinged," he's "embarrassing,” "there was no sanity" in his rabble-rousing eruption of hate.
That there is a madman in the White House was rendered clinically undeniable last night by the madman himself. His on-stage frothings reminded me of the historical debate about Hitler: Was he a madman, or a demonic genius? Opinion is divided about Adolf, but informed opinion of the Donald must surely be that this miserable little buffoon is simply nuts. If he is endowed with what some might call genius, it lies only in his recognition that millions of Americans are similarly insane. His willingness to exploit that recognition, however, is more accurately a manifestation of soullessness than genius.
In Phoenix we saw a vastly unpresidential loudmouth raging against the "crooked media" and their "deceptions" — "They’re very dishonest people" — while defending himself through rank dishonesty and deception. At length he reviewed his post-Charlottesville remarks to the nation, meticulously omitting his references to "many sides" having been responsible for the city's violence, and that there were "very fine people on both sides." The rabble roared in approval, of course, of Trump's selective revisionism. Lunatics hang together in their tribal hallucinations.
We also witnessed a "law and order" demagogue who effectively promised the lawlessness of a reprehensible pardon. "I’ll make a prediction: I think [convicted criminal Joe Arpaio is] going to be just fine," said Trump. "But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy." The slime of sarcasm and insincerity positively oozed off the stage. Trump considered both to be clever.
This gross obscenity of a demented blowhard further justified a costly government shutdown if his big worthless wall of inhumanity goes unfunded; he essentially and casually announced the brutal end of NAFTA, which will disrupt the financial security of millions; he belittled one of Arizona's U.S. senators — "Nobody knows who the hell [Jeff Flake] is," while castigating the other (John McCain), who is deathly ill; and he delivered a confused, disjointed diatribe against "obstructionist Democrats" who never deployed a healthcare filibuster, which he blamed for Republican inaction.
I opened this post with the distressed observations by a former director of national intelligence: that Trump is "downright scary," "disturbing," and unfit for office. The erstwhile DNI added that Trump's mad behavior is so freely offered, perhaps it's a sign that he is merely "looking for a way out" — a please-impeach-me-before-I-kill kind of behavior. Clapper's speculation on Trump's "motivation" may have some merit; I can't say. I can say with no doubt whatsoever that Congress should assume its merit; it should kick this madman back to Trump Tower, where he can await either institutionalization or criminal indictment.