Trump not men­tally well

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Froma Har­rop Froma Har­rop is syn­di­cated by Ca­gle Car­toons.

Who “won” the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate? Skip that ques­tion. Who lost it? Easy an­swer. The Amer­i­can peo­ple and the rep­u­ta­tion of their na­tion.

This was no “he thinks this, she be­lieves that” kind of con­ver­sa­tion. Like her or not (and I like her), Hil­lary Clin­ton came to the de­bate — and pres­i­den­tial race — pre­pared to talk about what she wants to see hap­pen in this coun­try. Trump was, and re­mains, about main­tain­ing his delu­sions of busi­ness prow­ess and an­i­mal at­trac­tion to women. What many early on thought was an act turns out to be his per­son. And that per­son is not well in the head.

Horse race pun­dits con­cluded Trump stead­ied him­self in the sec­ond de­bate, by which they meant he did not ex­plode on­stage. So numbed are they by this out­landish cam­paign, they set aside his ref­er­ence to Clin­ton as the devil and threat to put her in jail.

Think­ing Amer­i­cans have given up on ex­pect­ing Trump to speak co­her­ently on his vi­sion for the fu­ture. And why should they, see­ing as he never both­ered to ac­quaint him­self with the present?

The na­tional tragedy is that so many Amer­i­cans don’t care that he doesn’t know any­thing. And they don’t know any­thing. Many of Trump’s strug­gling sup­port­ers ex­pect to be pro­tected in an Amer­i­can pros­per­ity bub­ble as­saulted by a world that’s rapidly ed­u­cat­ing. Their prospects for eco­nomic safety would be a lot higher un­der Clin­ton, but they don’t know that, ei­ther.

Set aside Trump’s ha­bit­ual smear­ing of Lati­nos, the crude birther lies about Pres­i­dent Obama, the at­tacks on the par­ents of a dead hero-sol­dier. Set aside that he didn’t an­swer the de­bate ques­tion about Aleppo, in­stead blurt­ing out the word “Mo­sul,” while ob­vi­ously not up on what is hap­pen­ing there.

He doesn’t know what the nu­clear triad is, for heaven’s sake. Why would he know about this? Trump doesn’t read books. He doesn’t seem to read news­pa­per ar­ti­cles un­less they’re about him.

Re­gard­ing the tape where Trump brags about be­ing able to sex­u­ally as­sault women, the most stun­ning rev­e­la­tion was that a man with a shot at the pres­i­dency is so cracked.

Not un­like a court­room lawyer, mod­er­a­tor An­der­son Cooper sought to de­ter­mine Trump’s abil­ity to men­tally process the charges against him: “You de­scribed kiss­ing women with­out con­sent, grab­bing their gen­i­tals. You bragged that you have sex­u­ally as­saulted women. Do you un­der­stand that?”

His­to­ri­ans decades hence will hail the courage of Repub­li­can politi­cians who early on re­fused to en­dorse Trump at the risk of an­ger­ing their base. As for Repub­li­cans who with­drew their sup­port only after the emer­gence of the drool­ing tape and ev­i­dence Trump was cra­ter­ing in the polls: You are ze­ros.

Even his sup­port­ers don’t ar­gue Trump is in­tel­lec­tu­ally ad­e­quate to serve as U.S. pres­i­dent. (They say his ad­vis­ers would make the big de­ci­sions.) That Trump is morally un­fit to hold the high­est of­fice in the land is pretty much agreed on, as well.

Left on the ta­ble is the most trou­bling ques­tion: whether Trump is men­tally sta­ble. Ev­i­dence over­flows that he is not.

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