|GETTY / TOM PENNINGTON / SHUTTERSTOCK / SALON|
Let me make a statement that on its face seems farfetched but on closer inspection is the godawful truth: Donald Trump remains secure as president because Republicans have normalized his craziness in their own minds and would like you and I to do the same although the assault on American democracy by he and his family is beyond the pale.
The question of whether Trump is mentally ill is such well trod ground by now that the answer is beyond obvious. Of course he is. What may be less obvious, especially to the Make America Great sycophancy, is the reality that the pathologies that make him so dangerously unsuitable to be president -- chief among them a malignant narcissism and inability to separate reality from fantasy -- are manifestations of that craziness.
Trying to normalize Trump's aberrant behavior has become something of a cottage industry, sometimes even among pundits and reporters who should know better, and nowhere more so than portraying his tweeting as merely pushbacks from a fighter who dishes out more than he gets as opposed to what they really are: Windows into a manifestly sick soul.
According to one point of view with fairly wide if misplaced currency, the media should stop covering Trump's tweets -- whether they be bloody attacks on Mika Brzezinski or clownish efforts to blame Barack Obama for Russia's interference in the 2016 election -- because they distract from even more horrible things like Trumpcare 3.0, the demolition of environmental regulations and misanthropy of the president's billionaire sell-out-the-country Cabinet, or the specter of blundering into an accidental-on-purpose war because the commander in chief is himself a national security threat.
Then there is the violent CNN wrestling tweet, which is about as crazy as they come, and Trump's compulsion to incessantly replay the 2016 election, which he understands he actually lost, bringing to mind a drunk Richard Nixon talking to the pictures on the White House walls during the final days of his presidency.
We should ignore that?
Trump's grip on reality is not tenuous, it is nonexistent. His trip to Europe for the G20 summit is a case in point because he declared it "a great success for the United States." In a tweet, of course.
By all accounts outside of the right-wing echo chamber, the trip was a disaster. For Trump, who has become an international pariah and was shunted to the margins in a group photo of world leaders. And for America, which contrary to the Trump sycophancy's view that the U.S. is being snubbed by the world, is in reality snubbing even its most loyal allies.
As conservative-leaning Australian Broadcasting Corporation commentator Chris Uhlmann put it:
Donald Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. Some will cheer the decline of America, but I think we'll miss it when it's gone -- and that's the biggest threat to the values of the West, which he claims to hold dear.
And liberal running dog Charles Pierce at Esquire:
The government of the United States is in shambles. An incompetent administration headed by an unqualified buffoon is now descending into criminal comedy and maladroit backstabbing. It is an administration that not only self destructs, but glories in the process.
Under "normal" circumstances, the logical question is "What was Trump thinking" in portraying Vladimir Putin as a partner is fighting cybercrime, viewing climate change as an anti-capitalist hoax, and that the problems of a growing global economy are for chumps to deal with. The answer is that he wasn't thinking at all.
A consequence -- and perhaps the consequence in the longer term -- is that those nice European allies who always have been mindful of the U.S.'s crucial role in their defense even if we Yanks occasionally have felt the need to rename French fries, are no longer playing Monsieur Nice Guy and are going to go it alone, or more likely with Japan.
|THE NEW YORK TIMES|
How extraordinarily yummy that Trump came home to the newest staggering development of a presidency filled with them, or "the mother of all tipping points," as one pundit described Donald Trump Jr.'s newly revealed antics.
This is his elder son's staggering admission that while he was yet another right-wing schlunk trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, he had the poor judgment to seek it from the Russians running the cyber pogrom to elect his father. Left unmentioned is that the appropriate response would have been to contact the FBI stat, not invite the rest of the campaign brain trust -- fellow grifters Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort -- who are now implicated as well for collusion, conspiracy, perjury and perhaps even treason, to join in devouring the roadkill.
(Oh, and by the way, when is Kushner's security clearance going to be yanked?)
Betcha Daddy knew, as well, because two days before the brain trust's meeting with a woman who turned out to be a Putin pal power lawyer he promised "big news" on Clinton's "crimes" in a forthcoming speech.
"I love it," Donald Jr. enthused during a seismic email exchange before the meeting that makes it obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt that denials by the president and his family that top members of Team Trump met with Russian government thugs in the expectation they'd help them take down Clinton and get Daddy elected are utter bullshit. And speaking of love, you gotta love that it was emails that Clinton stumbled on and it is emails that could cook the Trumps' goose.
Daddy, meanwhile, has been hidden from public view but tweeted on Wednesday morning that Donald Jr. "was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!"
|THE WASHINGTON POST|
It was not that long ago, although it seems like an eternity, that I derived a schadenfreude-ish satisfaction from watching the Republican Party elites confront the horrifying reality that the very people they had repeatedly stiffed while coddling Wall Street and the super rich weren't going to take it anymore and would support a reality TV star gadzillionaire because he was going to "shake things up" in Washington. We're talking cowards of historic proportion like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
The McConnells and Ryans had become victims of their own hubris, but no matter, they rolled over and invited Trump to become their nominee while he diddled them like pimply-assed extras in a bad porn flick. And now nearly 200 days into Mr. Faux Populist's deeply dysfunctional presidency, the jalopy of an agenda Republicans assumed he would lubricate not only is stuck in a ditch by the side of the legislative road, it will remain there as the Russia scandal -- yeah, the one they still pretend doesn't exist as it erupts into flames, never mind their president's ongoing fandango with a kleptocrat who happens to be America's greatest foe -- undermines their every effort to get the old crate running again.
The paralysis at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- from the long knives in the West Wing to the long faces on Capitol Hill -- is taking a toll and is symbolic of a deeper sickness in our society where wealth, politics and entertainment have become so blurred as to distort any real sense of reality. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm scared. For my country, my family and myself.
The question is when or whether the Republican Congress will understand that there no longer is any option but to undertake impeachment proceedings or implore the vice president and Cabinet sotto voce to invoke the 25th Amendment.
That depends on when or whether Republicans will stop normalizing Trump's craziness.