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Monday, January 08, 2018


Trump's "problem" is already worse than Reagan's "problem" at its worst.

by digby

I wrote a long form piece about Trump, Reagan and the 25th Amendment for DAME Magazine today.
Here's the opening:

Michael Wolff’s new book about the Trump administration Fire and Fury has been the talk of the nation for days now. And there’s a good reason for it beyond the colorful gossip and palace intrigue. It is the first long-form look at the Trump White House to confirm that the crude, inept, unqualified president we see with our own eyes and ears is even worse behind the scenes. It’s not that we ever really doubted his persona is authentic, but it was always possible that the administration was functioning on some basic level of professional competence simply because well … it’s the presidency of the United States. By pulling back the curtain, this book leaves no doubt that there is something very wrong with Donald Trump. What Wolff does not do is give us any clue about what might be done about it.

The book makes clear that the people who work closest with Trump believe he is incompetent and temperamentally unfit. He is routinely referred to by people who work in the West Wing and know him well as a “crazy,” “idiot,” “moron” who has the attention span of a small child and is totally incapable of processing information or conducting a serious conversation.

And according to this piece in Politico by Susan Glasser, foreign leaders are equally scathing in their assessment of the capabilities of the American president. The words they use to describe him are slightly different than those used by the people close to Trump, but only because for them the stakes are so high: “catastrophic,” “terrifying,” “incompetent,” and “dangerous.”

Over their year of living dangerously with Trump, foreign leaders and diplomats have learned this much: The U.S. president is ignorant, at times massively so, about the rudiments of the international system and America’s place in it, and in general about other countries. He seems to respond well to flattery and the lavish laying out of red carpets; he’s averse to conflict in person but more or less immovable from strongly held preconceptions. And given the chance, he responds well to anything that seems to offer him the opportunity to flout or overturn the policies endorsed by his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Or, as his close associates in the United States would put it, “He’s like a child.”

Whether Trump’s behavior is attributable to intellectual, personality, and character defects or is a sign of a serious clinical illness is unknown. But we do know that just since the first of the year he has taunted North Korea’s unstable leader and called for his defeated political opponents to be jailed. He threatened to use a “military option” in Venezuela. He has picked a Twitter fight with nuclear-armed Pakistan for reasons that are completely obscure. He gave an interview to The New York Times just before the first of the year that was so unhinged it sounded as though he might be drunk and he does not drink. He is getting worse.

Please click over and read the rest at DAME. I don't know if you know the real story of Reagan and the reasons they talked about invoking the 25th but if not you may find this interesting. There was a lot more to it than is popularly known. And the GOP covered it up as usual.