On Thursday, The Washington Post reported (Jan. 11) that during a bipartisan discussion with lawmakers about immigrants coming from African countries, Haiti, and El Salvador, Trump, once again, showed both his ignorance, and racist views when he asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” According to some at the meeting, Trump insisted that the deal could not include immigrants from Haiti, adding, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out!”
Since the release of Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the question of Trump’s mental and psychological fitness for president has resurfaced.
In response, Trump took to Twitter to point out the obvious to anyone who does not already know:
“…my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. …I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star… to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!” – Donald J. Trump, January 6, 2018
As we have witnessed – too many times to count – this is a man who not only needs to personally defend himself against the slings and arrows of the media, (and the list is too long to repeat here), but feed his compulsive need to be the center of attention every… single… WEEK.
Forget about the tens of thousands of U.S. citizens still struggling with no power in Puerto Rico four months after hurricane Maria. Forget engaging Congress about the looming government shutdown if an agreement on a budget isn’t reached.
Trump continues his counter-punch policy regime: “Anybody who hits me, we’re going to hit 10 times harder.”
All of this comes a mere 4 days after he’s threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with nuclear annihilation:
“…I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” – Donald J. Trump, January 2, 2018
Is it any wonder that people question this man’s state of mind?
While New York Times columnist Charles Blow (Jan. 8), acknowledges at the beginning of his commentary that he’s not a clinician, nevertheless, he writes, “But mental instability — whether a diagnosable disorder or just a combination of crippling character traits — is a problem of another magnitude. That goes to basic competence and substantially raises the stakes.
“We have a person occupying the presidency who is impetuous, fragile, hostile, irrational, intentionally uninformed, information-averse and semiliterate.”
Whether you believe the reports in Wolff’s book or not, too many of Trump’s traits — endlessly watching television, not reading, becoming bored with policy papers — have been reported by other credible sources over the past year.
However, Blow asks a serious, ethical question aimed at “…elected officials protecting this president, and indeed to all those being paid a taxpayer-funded salary and then concealing, distorting or denying the truth to make this man look competent: Don’t you have an obligation, either moral, ethical, patriotic or otherwise, to level with America that you, too, are concerned by Trump’s erratic behavior?
“At the very least, don’t the members of the House and Senate, who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, have an obligation to rebuke this president for his attacks on the press and free speech, both protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution?”
After an attack by White Supremacists in Charlottesville which left one woman dead and several injured, Trump called it an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.”
Here’s what long-time Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said about Trump’s Charlottesville statement:
“We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.” – OGH, August 12, 2017
However, after the passage of the tax bill, Hatch now calls Trump “one of the best [presidents] I’ve served under,” … not only in generations, but maybe ever.”
Jesse Hatch is rolling over in his grave.
Lindsay Graham was another senator who forcefully spoke out regarding Trump’s erratic behavior, but listen to what he now tells Meet the Press host Chuck Todd (Jan. 7):
TODD: The president sort of joked with you the other day and he said, “Boy, Lindsey used to be a great enemy of mine, and now he’s a great friend of mine.” …A lot of your friends have been asking me… “Hey, ask the senator why he’s suddenly cozying up to President Trump.” What would you say to them?
GRAHAM: Because he’s president of the United States, he’s going to make a decision about immigration, I’ve been working on for a decade. He’s president of the United States, going to make a decision about North Korea, which is one of the biggest threats to the world at large. … I don’t think he’s crazy.
So, for Senators Graham and Hatch, it’s all about quid pro quo. You do something for me and I won’t call you “crazy.”
Currently, the only Republican Senators who continue to speak out about Trump’s behavior are Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, both of whom have announced their retirement at the end of their terms.
Political courage for Republicans in Washington appears dead.
Forty-six years ago, it was House and Senate Republicans who stood up to President Nixon and forced him to resign after tapes revealed that everything Counsel to the President John Dean said — about Nixon knowing and participating in the cover-up of the break-in at Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate hotel — was true.
With rumors around Washington about Nixon’s mental fitness, it was Republican Senator Barry Goldwater who wrote, in a private note, according to historian Richard Reeves, “I have reason to suspect that all might not be well mentally in the White House.”
It was Goldwater along with Republican Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott and Republican House Minority Leader John Rhodes who told Nixon that “support in Congress had all but disappeared,” forcing Nixon to resign.
Those Republicans took the high road, placing the country before party politics.
Will current Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan call this president out for his latest racist comment? Will Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell?
The vast majority of current Republicans abdicated their principles in favor of Trump no matter the cost. What that cost will ultimately be is yet to be determined.