Trump’s Breakdown

by Bob Schwartz

Crazy, I just cannot bear
I’m living with something’ that just isn’t fair

Mental wounds not healing
Who and what’s to blame?

I’m going off the rails on a crazy train
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy Train

Trump has broken down.

The first week after the midterm elections provided clear and convincing evidence. It is admittedly hard to tell with someone so publicly erratic and eccentric in the first place. “Trump is just being Trump, just a little more so” is an easy if uncomforting excuse.

But this is different. And not at all surprising. Whatever his preexisting psychological disorders, there are realities and pressures that even his walls of denial are struggling to contain.

One of the many signs this past week is his disappearance at events that even he knew were appearances he was expected to make and could have used as opportunities for his usual grandstanding. Not once but twice he missed high-profile events honoring American veterans. And two high-level Asian conferences that he was scheduled to attend will now see Mike Pence instead.

His immediate firing of Jeff Sessions and his attempt at appointing a loyal lackey as Attorney General is the first step in what will be a sea change in his inner circle. He feels more personally besieged than ever. He is demanding complete and utter loyalty, no questions asked, no internal resistance allowed. One could look at this as simply strategic in the face of great difficulties. But one could also look at it as the workings of a troubled and paranoid leader who believes the world is against him, and no counter attack is too extreme. This is war, and he needs a war cabinet around him.

If Trump has already broken down, or is in the process, there may be little we as citizens can do about it. He has a world-class powerful bureaucracy at his personal command. Congress, even with the upcoming Democratic House, can do little, even if there was bipartisan will, which there isn’t. Removal from office through impeachment requires two-thirds of the Senate to convict, which won’t happen. The 25th Amendment disability procedure is even more unlikely, since that provision begins with his Vice President and Cabinet. That won’t happen either.

The only “better” possibility is if Trump goes so far over the edge and over the top that even Republican Senators, and Pence and the new Cabinet, face the fact that psychologically, Trump can no longer be trusted with the office, having reached the point where “Trump being Trump” is no longer acceptable. Do we want to wait for that? Do we have a choice?

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