If you have not obtained a copy of Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — it has sold out everywhere because of Trump’s attempts to ban publication of the book in violation of the First Amendment, which only makes people want to read it all the more — Wolff has provided an extracted column from his book at the Hollywood Reporter to hold you over. “You Can’t Make This S— Up”: My Year Inside Trump’s Insane White House.
This passage struck a particular nerve with Dear Leader:
There was, after the abrupt Scaramucci meltdown, hardly any effort inside the West Wing to disguise the sense of ludicrousness and anger felt by every member of the senior staff toward Trump’s family and Trump himself. It became almost a kind of competition to demystify Trump. For Rex Tillerson, he was a moron. For Gary Cohn, he was dumb as shit. For H.R. McMaster, he was a hopeless idiot. For Steve Bannon, he had lost his mind.
Wolff said in television interviews about his book, everyone around the president “questions [Trump’s] intelligence and fitness for office.” ‘Everyone’ in White House Says ‘He’s Like a Child’:
“Let me put a marker in the sand her,” Wolff said. “100 percent of the people around him” question his fitness.
“I will tell you the one description that everyone gave, everyone has common. They all say, he is like a child,” Wolff said. “And what they mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him…He just has to be satisfied in the moment.”
As you have come to expect, our always insecure egomaniacal man-child Twitter-troll-in-chief went ballistic in an early morning tweetstorm on Saturday. We have officially gone down the rabbit hole after this: Trump boasts that he’s ‘like, really smart’ and a ‘very stable genius’ amid questions over his mental fitness:
In a tweetstorm Saturday morning ahead of [his] news conference, the president called himself a “very stable genius” and called being “really smart” one of his greatest assets. Trump cited his career in business and reality television and his victory in last year’s election as evidence of his mental prowess.
Try not to hurt yourself while belly laughing at this. When you defend your mental stability and intelligence with self-reassuring self-aggrandizement, you have already lost the argument.
During a brief news conference at Camp David where he was meeting with Republican leaders to plot the GOP agenda for 2018, President Trump lashed out again at a new book that suggests top White House aides fear that he is unfit for the job, calling the book “a work of fiction” and declaring that libel laws are too weak.
“It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” Trump said of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by New York media writer Michael Wolff. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.”
So Trump will continue his assault on the First Amendment, the news media, and truth itself with his alternate reality fake news, and ridiculous stunts like this: Trump says he’ll give ‘Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards’ next week. These “Trumpies” should go to Dear Leader himself, his press aides Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Spicer, his minister of propaganda Sean Hannity, and “Trump’s brain” Fox & Friends, for starters. Just sayin’.
The Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin writes, The ‘stable genius’ isn’t even functioning as president:
Like clockwork, on Saturday around 7 a.m., no doubt feeling the sting of widespread discussion that he is — as his own advisers described to Michael Wolff for his book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — a dope, a moron, a man-child, a semi-illiterate, President Trump confirmed it all with a tweet. How perfect. A tweet. “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.” Later in the day he railed at the notion of free speech. “It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” he said at a brief news conference at Camp David. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.” Both his desire to prevent criticism and his ridiculous “cease and desist” letters sent by his lawyers to Wolff and his publisher betray his contempt for the First Amendment and his inability to take himself out of the equation and recognize the pillars of democracy, a democracy he took an oath to defend.
Trump’s emotional and mental limitations should debunk a number of rationalizations from his devoted cultists, who insisted he was the best choice in 2016, cheered his first year in office and continue to pretend he’s fit for office. He’s sounding presidential. No, he’s reading off a teleprompter, likely with very little comprehension. He’s playing four-dimensional chess with Kim Jong Un. No, he’s impulsively lashing out, with the risk of provoking a deadly clash. He’s a master manipulator when he shifts from position to position, sometimes in the same sentence. No, he likely doesn’t realize what contradicts what or remember what he originally said. His use of alternative facts is a brilliant scheme to control the press narrative. No, he’s incapable of processing real information and driven by an insatiable need for praise and reaffirmation.
Seen in the context of his intellectual and emotional limitations, some decisions should set off alarm bells. Take the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Bad. Obama’s deal. Worst ever. Get rid of it. People will love me if I get rid of it.” That is very likely the sum total of his “thinking” on the subject. He’s not considering the next step, the reaction of allies, the implication for America’s standing in the world, the available evidence of Iranian compliance or any other data point that would go into a rational consideration of United States’ policy. Policy isn’t being made or even understood by the president. What comes from his fears and impulses is whatever aides are able to piece together that might satisfy his emotional spasm of the moment without endangering the country. (The compromise was to “decertify” the deal, freaking out our allies but leaving the deal in place — for now.)
Anyone who listens to him speak off the cuff about health care or tax legislation knows he will not raise any specifics or make a logical argument for this or that provision. It’s all “great,” “fabulous,” “the biggest,” etc. It’s not a sophisticated marketing ploy; it’s evidence of a total lack of understanding or concern about what is in any given piece of legislation. There is serious question whether he knows what is in the Affordable Care Act, how Medicaid works or specifically how the GOP health-care bills would have worked.
Unfortunately, interviewers tend to shy away from asking questions that will provoke a dreaded word salad. (In the case of Fox News, its Trump enablers know to stay away from anything hard that could prompt him to humiliate himself.) Recall that he told the New York Times: “We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people.” Too bad he wasn’t asked to explain in coherent sentences what all that free word association meant.
To defend his continued occupancy of the office or to insist he’s “better than Hillary” is to reject the notion of democracy. We cannot accept, let alone applaud, courtiers scurrying around to create the appearance of a functioning government. He, not they, is the chief executive and commander-in-chief. We have a vice president elected specifically to take over if the president is incapable of serving; the 25th Amendment does not say “but in a pinch, let the secretaries of defense and treasury run the show.” What we have is a type of coup in which the great leader is disabled. He is propped up, sent out to read lines written by others and kept safely away from disastrous situations. This is not how our system works, however.
We’re playing with fire, counting on the ability of others to restrain him from, say, launching a nuclear war and, nearly as bad, jettisoning our representative democracy. Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and Congress have a moral and constitutional obligation to bring this to a stop.
On Rubin’s last point, POLITICO reported this past week, Washington’s growing obsession: The 25th Amendment:
Lawmakers concerned about President Donald Trump’s mental state summoned Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee to Capitol Hill last month for two days of briefings about his recent behavior.
In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Lee briefed lawmakers — all Democrats except for one Republican senator, whom Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”
In an interview, she pointed to Trump “going back to conspiracy theories, denying things he has admitted before, his being drawn to violent videos.” Lee also warned, “We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.”
Lee, editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” which includes testimonials from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts assessing the president’s level of “dangerousness,” said that she was surprised by the interest in her findings during her two days in Washington. “Their level of concern about the president’s dangerousness was surprisingly high.”
The conversation about Trump’s fitness to serve is ongoing and is only gaining steam after Trump’s insane tweetstorms over the past couple of weeks, and the release of Michael Wolff’s new book.