During the run-up to the election, when so many people just didn’t believe they would ever have to say the words “President Trump”, many agonized over Tweety’s comments about the election being rigged, that there was massive voter fraud, that he may not accept the results, and so on. It was clear that his millions of followers were breathlessly awaiting his every Tweet, and eager to show their support for whatever he wanted them to do.
The legitimate fear throughout the land was that when he lost, he would rally the worst of them to violence in the streets. After the shocking election result, some took bitter consolation in thinking that at least this scenario was averted. It was also a given that impeachment proceedings would have immediately begun against President Crooked Hillary Clinton. Benghazi! Emails! So we were also spared that protracted convulsion.
What no one ever dreamed of was that even if he won, Tweety would continue to provoke violence in the streets. The Tweety era is proving to be far worse than we ever thought it would be, and we thought it would be pretty bad.
It’s very hard to understand Trump’s motives and behavior at this point, except if you embrace the notion that he is, in fact, deranged. He seems determined to fight with everyone, including loyalists, allies, and friends. He seems completely disinterested in the job of President. He seems to think his current role is an extension of his TV show, the ultimate purpose of which was to attract as many eyeballs as possible to publicize the brand and increase revenues.
During the campaign, Trump’s posture as provocateur and outsider help distinguish him from a large field of aspirants. When the nomination was apparently in hand, all talk turned to when Trump would “pivot” from the vulgar flame-thrower to the serious candidate for office – when would he start to show he could be “presidential”? It seemed clear to everyone that his antics were inappropriate once he was the official standard-bearer of the Republican party.
Tweety himself often repeated the promise that he could be very presidential, “more presidential than anybody”, the most presidential except Lincoln.
Although he assured us of this capability repeatedly, he never acted on it during the campaign as he cruised to the nomination. He equated being presidential with being boring, and he isn’t boring.
It turned out he was on to something. The crazy-pants chaos candidate never wavered and actually won the election. It was stunning. Then all the talk turned to what would happen next – it was one thing to be so crazy before becoming the nominee, another to be so crazy before the election, and yet another to be so crazy while president! Something had to change. Obviously.
Many of us took comfort in President Obama’s serene assurances that the power of the Oval Office itself had a way of exerting itself on whoever sat there. Once in the job, any president would immediately be moved by the awesome responsibility and weight of the surroundings, and the reality that every word and gesture would now reverberate throughout the world, perhaps with terrible consequences. Obama said January 20, 2017 would be the day of a wake-up call for Trump.
But just as Trump refused to be presidential as a primary candidate, and just as he refused to be presidential as the nominee, and just as he refused to be presidential as President-elect, he has also refused to be presidential as President.
In fact, it isn’t a question of “refusing” to do it. He simply can’t be presidential. This is because he is and always has been manifestly unsuited to the role and because he can not rise to the challenge. The fact that he cannot “fake it”, which would be easy enough to do by simply surrounding yourself with professionals and keeping your mouth shut, speaks to his mental state.
He is who he is. There is nothing to be done about changing that. Only the 25th Amendment can help us now, and that is the longest of long-shots.
Section 4: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Too much would have to happen that almost certainly won’t, starting with a Mike Pence mutiny. I don’t think so.
And it is not completely clear that we can ever go back to “normal” again when Trump is finally gone. The damage done by this man may well be permanent.