Morning Briefing: The President Has Lost His Goddamn Mind
Things are scary right now, folks, and not to sound too alarmist, but it sounds like our country is a Humvee careening down the highway and the driver is drunk and in the backseat and his Chief of Staff is actually trying to keep him in the backseat because driving off the road and into a ditch is better than the alternative, which is NUCLEAR WAR.
The other day, when Bob Corker said that Donald Trump’s recklessness is putting us in danger of World War III, he was not speaking in hyperbole. From the reporting that has come out since, it sounds like Corker was trying to sound an alarm bell, and now people inside The White House are trying to ring that bell, too.
Vanity Fair reported, based on sources close to the President, that he is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.” Trump “seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods,” the report said.
“I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” he reportedly told his longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller, before Schiller quit because he’d been isolated from the President by General Kelly. Steven Bannon himself thinks that there’s only a 30 percent chance that Trump finishes out his term because, as he told the President, the threat to his Presidency isn’t impeachment but the 25th Amendment. Bannon also apparently thinks that Jared Kushner is tied up in Russian collusion.
This paragraph is particularly alarming:
One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior.
Let’s combine that reporting with this:
.@gabrielsherman tells MSNBC that people who've spoken to Trump on the phone say he repeats himself over and over again, rambles in convos.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 12, 2017
And here is a conversation that former Labor Secretary Robert Reich had with a former Republican Congressman (via Facebook):
This morning I phoned my old friend, a Republican former member of Congress. Me: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump? He: All I know is they’re simmering over there. Me: Flake and McCain have come pretty close. He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous. Me: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they? He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others. Me: So they’re pissed off? He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally. Me: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war? He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why Bob spoke up. Me: So what could they do? I mean, even if the whole Republican leadership was willing to say publicly he’s unfit to serve, what then? He: Bingo! The emperor has no clothes. It’s a signal to everyone they can bail. Have to bail to save their skins. I mean, Trump could be the end of the whole goddam Republican party. Me: If he starts a nuclear war, that could be the end of everything. He: Yeah, right. So when they start bailing on him, the stage is set. Me: For what? He: Impeachment. 25th amendment. Me: You think Republicans would go that far? He: Not yet. Here’s the thing. They really want to get this tax bill through. That’s all they have going for them. They don’t want to face voters in ‘18 or ‘20 without something to show for it. They’re just praying Trump doesn’t do something really, really stupid before the tax bill. Me: Like a nuclear war? He: Look, all I can tell you is many of the people I talk with are getting freaked out. It’s not as if there’s any careful strategizing going on. Not like, well, do we balance the tax bill against nuclear war? No, no. They’re worried as hell. They’re also worried about Trump crazies, all the ignoramuses he’s stirred up. I mean, Roy Moore? How many more of them do you need to destroy the party? Me: So what’s gonna happen? He: You got me. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And he’s getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re in shit up to our eyeballs with this guy.
… well, OK. I will note that Reich is a very intelligent man, but he is known for fits of hysteria. Then again, warnings he makes during those fits of hysteria have a tendency to be warranted weeks or months later. I mean, lookit: This is how the national security apparatus is being forced to run the country:
NBC: To get Trump to accept the current deployment of U.S. forces worldwide, NatSec leaders chose to show how positions benefited Trump Org.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 12, 2017
Is it dire? Yeah, it’s fucking dire. And he’s not afraid of nuclear war because he thinks we can win a nuclear war.
The media reporting that Trump is unraveling. Meanwhile, Trump is suggesting that the networks have their licenses revoked because of that reporting (that’s not how it works):
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
It’s not a credible threat, but he’s still got the Radio Television Digital News Association up in arms:
RTDNA: Trump's NBC tweets are "dangerous to the American people's right to access responsible journalism". https://t.co/yNK39Jq6gN— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 12, 2017
Trump’s assault against the First Amendment has even got Republican Senator Ben Sasse asking Trump if he’s recanting his oath to the Constitution:
Mr. President:— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
So, yeah. Things are going swell! To make matters worse, this morning he basically tweeted that he was considering completely abandoning the recovery effort in Puerto Rico, where at least 45 people have died now, and where 90 percent of the country still does not have electricity.
"Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making." says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
…accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Those are American citizens, and the President of the United States is basically saying, “Fuck ‘em.”
He’s lost it. I really do think the country may be in a race between the 25th Amendment and Nuclear war.