Trump’s de­cline and likely fall

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

A re­cent es­say in The Wall Street Jour­nal de­scribed Don­ald Trump thusly: “Rather like the crazy-boy em­per­ors af­ter the fall of the Ro­man Re­pub­lic, he may have prob­lems with im­pulse con­trol — and an un­con­trolled, ill-formed, per­pet­u­ally frag­mented mind.”

That this ob­ser­va­tion ap­peared un­der the head­line “The Gath­er­ing Nuclear Storm” — and was writ­ten by a con­ser­va­tive jour­nal­ist, Mark Hel­prin — should give us pause.

The rub­ber bands Trump’s ad­vis­ers had wrapped around his brain to hold it to­gether dur­ing the de­bate with Hil­lary Clin­ton ap­par­ently snapped af­ter about the first half-hour. Freed from the re­straints, Trump went on to rant against a for­mer Miss Uni­verse’s weight gain and a fe­male co­me­dian “who’s been very vi­cious” to him.

Cen­turies hence, his­to­ri­ans will pore over the de­bate manuscript and at­tempt to an­swer the ques­tion, “Who was Rosie O’Donnell?” They will try to ex­plain the civ­i­liza­tional im­port of Sean Han­nity, whose name Trump evoked seven times as a kind of de­fender.

But let us move on to the “big stuff”: na­tional se­cu­rity.

Trump had this to say at the de­bate: “But when you look at NATO — I was asked on a ma­jor show, ‘What do you think of NATO?’ And you have to un­der­stand, I’m a busi­nessper­son. I did re­ally well. But I have com­mon sense. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO. But two things .... ’” Not hav­ing given lots of thought to NATO didn’t de­ter the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee from talk­ing out loud about ditch­ing U.S. obli­ga­tions un­der the 67-year-old North At­lantic Treaty Or­ga­ni­za­tion — rat­tling our Euro­pean al­lies and pleas­ing Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Trump went on: “I said, and very strongly, NATO could be ob­so­lete be­cause — and I was very strong on this, and it was ac­tu­ally cov­ered very ac­cu­rately in The New York Times, which is un­usual for The New York Times, to be hon­est — but I said, ‘They do not fo­cus on ter­ror.’ And I was very strong. And I said it nu­mer­ous times.”

Dur­ing a tele­vised Repub­li­can pri­mary de­bate last year, con­ser­va­tive talk show host Hugh He­witt asked Trump, “What’s your pri­or­ity among our nuclear triad?” Trump tossed one of his in­co­her­ent word sal­ads, show­ing he hadn’t the fog­gi­est idea what the triad was.

In March, Trump sug­gested let­ting Ja­pan and South Korea pos­si­bly de­velop their own nuclear weapons, set­ting off fears in Asia of an out-of-con­trol re­gional arms race.

Then there was Trump’s ex­tra­or­di­nary act of invit­ing a for­eign ad­ver­sary, Putin’s Russia, to hack Clin­ton’s email. Wil­liam In­bo­den, who served in the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil dur­ing the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, char­ac­ter­ized Trump’s com­ments as “tan­ta­mount to trea­son.”

To­ward the end of the de­bate, Trump — look­ing de­flated and ex­hausted — thought it wise to bring up the ques­tion of Clin­ton’s “stamina.”

Sens­ing things had not gone well for him, the boy em­peror lashed out the next day at his en­e­mies — the mi­cro­phone, the mod­er­a­tor and the beauty queen.

“For 90 min­utes, I watched [Clin­ton] very care­fully,” Trump bel­lowed. “And I was also hold­ing back. I didn’t want to do any­thing to em­bar­rass her.”

You’ve got to hand him this: He didn’t em­bar­rass her.

Froma Har­rop is syn­di­cated by Cre­ators Syn­di­cate.

Froma Har­rop

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.