The New Yorker has rendered its solemn judgment: “After a month in office, Donald Trump has already proved himself unable to discharge his duties.” The magazine recommends his removal from office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides the procedure for replacing an impaired president. Donald Trump is described as dangerously unfit.
“The disability isn’t laziness or inattention,” the editorial explained. “It expresses itself in paranoid rants, non-stop feuds carried on in public, and impulsive acts that can only damage his government and himself.”
I thought at first this was a highbrow tease—a left-wing send-up of the alarm over Trump’s bizarre behavior. His right-wing followers chanted “Lock her up!” when Hillary Clinton was their opponent. Democrats might take up the “Throw him out!” chant now that President Trump is acting like the Mad King George. Only the magazine isn’t kidding. In his address to Congress, Trump tried to sound like a sober grown-up; maybe The New Yorker’s call for his removal made him nervous.
Here is my advice to New Yorker writers and readers. Take a couple of Xanax. Drink a cup of warm cocoa. The American Republic has survived a lot worse than Donald Trump. People should have a little more faith in the common sense of ordinary folks. It’s true that Trump has chosen some scary right-wing goofballs as his intimate advisers. They want him to restart the Christian Crusades against the Muslims (along with many other awful ideas).
But Trump has also surrounded himself with battle-tested generals who have already been to war in the Middle East. They did not come home victorious. One assumes the generals understand that Trump’s most challenging foreign-policy problem is not about starting another new long war. It’s about how he might get us out of the old ones.
Trump’s freakish behavior and obsessive lying (not to mention the foul racist slurs) have captured the public’s fascination, like watching a scary picture show. Every day the news is Trump, Trump, Trump. People argue endlessly over how it’s going to end. Some on the hysterical left insist the country is on the brink of fascism, but I know some old hands in Washington’s permanent governing class who have a calmer perspective. They assume that Trump’s people can do a lot of damage but will ultimately fail on the big stuff, because they don’t understand the intimate politics of governing, and every day they do one thing or another to undercut their own power and influence with Congress and lobbyists. Watching the Trump presidency stumble is like slowing down on the highway to get a better look at the wreck on the roadside.