You wouldn’t think it could, but it gets worse day by day. He’s like the most egregious nutjob on your Facebook feed, only you can’t “unfriend” him.
And good luck ignoring him. The crazy SOB is everywhere.
If he were your grandfather, it would be time to take his car keys away before he blunders into a disaster.
Is it even necessary to name him? Take last week’s El Paso photo op, for example. There he stood with Melania, she holding a 2-month-old infant orphaned by a mad killer who’d meant to repel a Mexican “invasion” Trump had warned against by shooting up a Walmart near the border.
Thankfully, Melania left the “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” jacket in Washington. (El Paso’s awfully hot in August. Also, she never wears anything twice.) But while the first lady’s smile seemed incongruous, the president posed grinning like a chimpanzee and giving a triumphal two thumbs up like somebody who’d just won the Powerball lottery.
Exactly what was he celebrating, do you suppose?
Frankly, if you didn’t wonder what was wrong with him, dear reader, then there must be something wrong with you. An orphaned baby!
Incapable of empathy, sociopaths often reveal themselves when faced with unfamiliar circumstances where they can’t guess how to act. The formal term is “narcissistic personality disorder.” According to the Mayo Clinic, along with ruthless exploitation of others, narcissists exhibit an “exaggerated sense of self-importance.” They require “constant, excessive admiration.” When criticized, they “react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior.”
Or so Anthony Scaramucci, “The Mooch,” found out this week.
Anyway, next came the death of fellow party animal Jeffrey Epstein in a federal prison run by Trump’s Department of Justice. For inexplicable reasons, the celebrity child molester had been removed from the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s “suicide watch” six days after he first tried to hang himself and 12 days before he succeeded.
The president of the United States, who long championed the “birther” conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was a foreign-born impostor and later charged Sen. Ted Cruz’s father with assassinating John F. Kennedy, knew who to blame. He retweeted an obscure comedian’s insinuation that Bill and Hillary Clinton had Epstein murdered.
Trump also knew that millions of gullible dimwits would believe him. After all, #ClintonBodyCount lists have been circulating on the crackpot right since the 1993 suicide of White House aide Vince Foster. I once had the opportunity to interview the late Rev. Jerry Falwell about “The Clinton Chronicles,” a preposterous video dramatizing every nut-ball rumor concocted by the president’s Arkansas enemies.
Local journalists had trouble finding a single allegation that was remotely factual. Had Gov. Clinton failed to balance the state’s budget even once? Impossible. State law requires it. Had he pardoned a wealthy cocaine dealer? Also impossible. The guy pleaded guilty in federal court. And so on.
Nevertheless, Falwell made plenty of money peddling the fool thing on his TV program. So I asked him if the commandment against bearing false witness was more or less important than the one forbidding adultery. To his credit, Falwell acknowledged that they were the same. But he didn’t appear happy about it.
I doubt Trump could list more than three of the Ten Commandments at gunpoint. But that’s not the issue. To believe anything in #ClintonBodyCount, you have to believe that Kenneth Starr, who spent years probing a half-dozen furtive sex acts, gave the Clintons a pass on murder.
Why not try growing the hell up instead?
Alas, it’s too late for Trump, age 73. Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum summarizes in The Atlantic: “Accusing a former U.S. president of murder? It’s incredible, it’s appalling, it’s humiliating ... but, yes, he is the president all the same.”
And yes, Epstein’s death requires the most rigorous possible investigation. Not that he was ever going to testify. No competent defense lawyer would let him, and no federal judge would agree to a plea bargain regardless of who he ratted out. At age 66, he was going to die in prison either way. Rather than face his victims in court, he took the coward’s way out.
But who can be trusted to conduct such a probe? Certainly not Attorney General William Barr, who heads the agency that failed to keep Epstein alive for trial. Even if we hadn’t watched Barr turn the Mueller Report inside out and upside down to protect the president, he has a serious conflict of interest.
This is the ultimate goal of Putinism, you see. And of Trumpism too: discouraging people from believing that there can even be such a thing as a disinterested probe. Denying that facts exist independent of power. Demoralizing voters into settling for the outward shell of self-government, while keeping them diverted with spectacles and outrages.
Stick with the strong man. He’ll protect you.