Opinion: What about Trump’s incoherent ramblings?

photo by: Contributed

Robert Reich

A few weeks ago, at a rally in Nevada, Trump told his followers that boat manufacturers are now required to use electric engines. He claimed that someone at a boat company in South Carolina told him, “It’s a problem, sir. They want us to make all-electric boats.” (There is no such requirement.)

Trump then said the South Carolinian warned him “the boat is so heavy it can’t float. Also, it can’t go fast because of the weight.”

Trump continued:

“So I said, ‘Let me ask you a question,’ and [the South Carolinian] said, ‘Nobody ever asked this question,’ and it must be because of MIT, my relationship to MIT — very smart. He goes, I say, ‘What would happen if the boat sank from its weight? And you’re in the boat and you have this tremendously powerful battery and the battery is now underwater and there’s a shark that’s approximately 10 yards over there?’

“By the way, a lot of shark attacks lately, do you notice that, a lot of sharks? I watched some guys justifying it today. ‘Well, they weren’t really that angry. They bit off the young lady’s leg because of the fact that they were, they were not hungry, but they misunderstood what who she was.’

“These people are crazy. He said there’s no problem with sharks. ‘They just didn’t really understand a young woman swimming now.’ It really got decimated and other people do a lot of shark attacks.

“So I said, ‘So there’s a shark 10 yards away from the boat, 10 yards or here, do I get electrocuted if the boat is sinking? Water goes over the battery, the boat is sinking. Do I stay on top of the boat and get electrocuted, or do I jump over by the shark and not get electrocuted?’

“Because I will tell you, he didn’t know the answer. He said, ‘You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question.’ I said, ‘I think it’s a good question.’ I think there’s a lot of electric current coming through that water.

“But you know what I’d do if there was a shark or you get electrocuted? I’ll take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark. So we’re going to end that.”

I ask you: Is this the speech of a rational human being?

But how much attention did this incoherent ramble attract in the media? Very little, especially in comparison with the nonstop media assessment of Biden’s verbal stumbles during the debate.

Trump is showing growing signs of dementia, but isn’t facing nearly the same scrutiny as is Joe Biden.

In April, Trump spoke to a rally in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, about the famed Civil War battle at Gettysburg. Trump told the audience:

“Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle that was. It was so much, and so interesting, and so vicious and horrible, and so beautiful in so many different ways — it represented such a big portion of the success of this country.”

Trump then began talking about Confederate General Robert E. Lee and how Lee was now “out of favor.” Trump said that Lee told his troops,”Never fight uphill, me boys!” (Historians deny Lee ever said such a thing.)

Trump continued, “Gettysburg, wow — I go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to look and to watch.”

These are not isolated examples of Trump’s incoherence. During the last several months of Republican primaries, Trump repeatedly claimed that his opponent Nikki Haley was in charge of Capitol security on Jan. 6. (Haley never had any connection to Capitol security.)

He has repeatedly confused who he ran against in the past, such as stating, “With Obama, we won an election that everyone said couldn’t be won.” (Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016.)

Trump has confused Biden with Obama so often that he’s had to put out a statement that the slips have been intentional.

Last September, Trump suggested that the way to prevent wildfires in California’s forest lands is to keep them damp. Here are his words:

“They say that there’s so much water up north that I want to have the overflow areas go into your forests and dampen your forests, because if you dampen your forests you’re not gonna have these forest fires that are burning at levels that nobody’s ever seen.”

In October, Trump warned his supporters that Biden will lead America into World War Two.

True, Biden has occasional difficulty keeping his train of thought, as we witnessed during the debate. But Biden has gotten major bills passed. He’s been negotiating with world leaders. In terms of running the government, Biden has been functioning as well if not better than most presidents.

And what of Trump? As president, he accomplished nothing except dividing the country with his paranoid bloviation, and since then has mounted an attempted coup against the United States.

It’s Trump — who has a family history of dementia — who’s increasingly unhinged.

Trump has said that under his administration, “If you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store.”

Trump has claimed that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, is “very smart.” That whales are being killed by windmills. That he won all 50 states in 2020. That the outgoing chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be executed.

The most telling evidence of Trump’s growing dementia is found in his paranoid thirst for revenge, on which he is centering his entire presidential campaign.

On Nov. 11, he pledged to a crowd of supporters in Claremont, New Hampshire, that:

“We will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country, that lie and steal and cheat on elections and will do anything possible — they’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.”

Are these the words of a sane person? Or of an aging paranoid megalomaniac?

Even if it’s unclear to which category Trump belongs, shouldn’t this question be central to the coverage of his campaign for reelection?

I’m no physician, and I have no idea whether Biden or Trump is suffering from early dementia. But the weight of the evidence suggests Trump is. So why isn’t the media covering this?

When I’ve asked members of the media, they say Trump’s malfunctioning brain is “old news.”

After all, in 2017, 27 psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals concluded in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” that Trump’s mental health posed a “clear and present danger” to the nation.

Members of Trump’s own Cabinet — horrified by the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the Capitol and Trump’s lack of urgency in stopping it — discussed whether to invoke the the 25th Amendment to remove him from office due to mental incompetence.

But just because Trump has shown mental instability in the past doesn’t make his mental problems any less relevant now that he is seeking reelection. They’re more relevant. He appears even more delusional than before.

If Biden’s difficulties are fair game, why isn’t Trump’s apparent mental decline front and center?

Biden may appear frail, but he’s rational. The growing evidence of Trump’s dementia and paranoia, on the other hand, poses a clear potential danger to the future of America — if he’s reelected.

At the least, the media should be investigating and reporting on it. Right?

— Robert B. Reich is a columnist with Tribune Content Agency.


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