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I just made this point in the comments, then realized I should make it explicitly. I know we have Trump supporters on Ricochet. We also have people who think that he’s not their first choice, but might not be a total disaster. I’ve made it clear that I think he’d be an unparalleled disaster, but perhaps haven’t made my argument as clearly as I could.
So I’ll give it my best. I have more arguments where this came from, but to me, this is definitive.
The moment that most clearly demonstrates that he’s nuts — and nuts in a way different in kind from any previous president in the nuclear era and from any of the other candidates for the presidency — was when he said George W. Bush knowingly misled the world about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. “I will tell you. They lied. And they said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
It’s not absolutely clear who “they” are in this sentence, but by any plausible, common-sense reading, he means George W. Bush and his administration.
The assertion that Bush knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, as opposed to having been wrong about it, is extremely implausible and requires a belief in hundreds of conspirators, not just George W. Bush. It’s so implausible that it qualifies, to my mind, as a clinically paranoiac belief. People who hold this kind of belief tend to be people who’d also believe aliens abducted them and probed their orifices with laser beams. They are not capable of forming reasonable judgments about serious things.
It’s not clear to me whether Trump truly believes George W. Bush knowingly lied to the American people about the Iraq war. But if so, how does his mental universe work? What, in his view, motivated Bush and those around him to do this? How does he account for the most obvious objection to this theory, namely, that any administration prepared to go to war on premises they knew to be false would have had both the disposition and the motivation to plant the weapons they had told the world would be found?
What does he imagine motivated all of Bush’s intimates, as well as the House and Senate, to lie like that, but fail to cover up the lie? Why does he think no one has since come forward to offer evidence of this conspiracy? Why does he discount all the evidence that this was a catastrophic intelligence failure?
If he said this cynically, knowing it makes no sense, it’s a different order of malice than a standard political lie or exaggeration. If he believes it, it suggests mental disorder (I use the word “disorder” deliberately — as in, “not orderly, not logical”) of a more disturbing kind than any previous holder of that office in the nuclear era. Not just degree, but kind.
I have many other objections to him, but I think this one is — as George Tenet might say — a slam dunk.* You can’t put people who believe things like that in the White House. It’s too dangerous.
*I also think Tenet’s ultimately responsible for the worst intelligence failure in American history, but that’s another story.Published in