Trump: Is the president ‘unraveling’?
When Sen. Bob Corker likened the Trump White House to an “adult day-care center” last week, he was merely echoing what people close to the president are privately telling journalists, said Gabriel Sherman in VanityFair.com. Ten months into his chaotic presidency, White House insiders describe Trump as “increasingly unfocused” and “unraveling,” and say his top aides wage a daily battle to restrain his worst impulses. Growing public criticism of Trump’s behavior, tweets, and other public comments—including the embarrassing revelation that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him a “f---ing moron”—has left Trump “consumed by dark moods.” When Trump is heading down a particularly dangerous or vindictive path, Chief of Staff John Kelly and other Cabinet officials will try to soothe his temper with flattery, said Ashley Parker in The Washington Post. Failing that, they will try to “delay his final verdict” by offering to study the issue, “hoping he may reconsider after having time to calm down.” The president “chafes at the impression that his aides coddle him or treat him like a wayward teenager,” and resents that Kelly limits his access to sycophantic friends and family members. “I hate everyone in the White House!” Trump recently complained.
This is getting scary, said Andrew Sullivan in NYMag.com. Trump’s public behavior lately has shown “a sharp decline even from his previously unhinged and malevolent incoherence.” His “executive sabotage” of the health-care system, his undermining of his own diplomats on Iran and North Korea, and his threats to punish TV networks and newspapers for stories he doesn’t like (see Talking Points) are no longer part of any discernible “agenda.” He seems now to be a grouchy, “71-year-old Fox News viewer” lashing out at the world in a fit of “mindless nihilism.” The time for “whispered criticism and quiet snickering is over,” said Michael Gerson in WashingtonPost.com. It’s time for Republican leaders and even Trump’s loyal minders to address out loud the question on everyone’s mind: Is Donald Trump “psychologically and morally equipped to be president?”
Trump’s critics need new material, said Mollie Hemingway in TheFederalist.com. The wailing of liberals and Republican “Never Trumpers” about his mental state “has about as much resonance in 2017 as it did in 2016,” when voters chose Trump as their next president. The haters’ latest fantasy is that they’ll persuade Trump’s Cabinet, or supermajorities in Congress, to invoke the 25th Amendment, declare him incapable of performing his duties, and remove him from office. Dream on. The Republican base still supports Trump, who is succeeding in promoting religious freedom, curtailing burdensome regulation, and pursuing a conservative agenda. There is more “method to his madness than his enemies understand,” said Howard Fineman in HuffingtonPost.com. While Trump’s critics focus on the chaos, his administration is working steadily to fill the judiciary with conservatives, dismantle President Obama’s legacy, and lay the groundwork for his re-election.
Trump may or may not be unraveling, said Michael Cohen in The Boston Globe, but the rest of us surely are. It’s simply “impossible to keep up” with the daily torrent of outrages, threats, lies, and policy reversals emanating from this White House. For millions of Americans, the “emotional toll of Trumpism” is mounting, with people reporting “increased anxiety,” depression, insomnia, weight gain, and “a debilitating sense of hopelessness.” Many worry that this “unhinged” man will start a nuclear war. “Trump has become an unbearable, infuriating, enraging, and draining presence in our national life.” Could this possibly go on for three more years? ■