In my last column I offhandedly referred to our current president as a “crazy man,” and I predictably received a few irate responses from some of Donald Trump’s loyal admirers who didn’t appreciate the comment. The responses I get when I say anything critical about “The Donald” typically go something like this:
“You are obviously a liberal snowflake who can’t stand the fact that a true patriot now leads the country. Trump will make America great again and be reelected in a landslide in 2020!”
There are usually some four-letter words sprinkled into the rant to liven things up, but you get the idea.
Such a response reflects a common mental defense mechanism people use to dismiss attacks on people they idolize. They simply assume that anyone offering such criticism is motivated by partisan rancor and therefore the criticism can be dismissed without consideration.
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The problem with that defense is that my concerns with Trump have little to do with his policies or political ideology (both of which are hard to nail down in any case). If he were to become a raging liberal tomorrow (something that does not seem beyond the realm of possibility) it wouldn’t change the fact that he seems to live in a fantasy world where he is never wrong despite the fact that he knows virtually nothing about the office he holds or the effect his off-the-cuff words and actions have on our country and the rest of the world.
It became obvious very quickly when Trump was a candidate that there was something very wrong with his mental state. He would make bizarre, grandiose claims that he and he alone could fix everything that was wrong with the country because he was just that much smarter than anyone else who had ever tried. It didn’t seem to matter that he had no grasp of how our government works or what a president can and cannot do, legally.
There was some hope that he would calm down and behave more like a responsible adult when he actually assumed office, but getting elected has only seemed to feed his narcissistic tendencies. So we are left to wonder just how bad things might get given the great harm an unstable person could wreak when they hold as much power as Trump does.
It’s not surprising then that for the first time in history there are serious discussions about whether the 25th amendment might be invoked to remove Trump from office. The amendment was passed in 1967 after the Kennedy assassination to provide a way for a president to be replaced if he should become incapacitated by illness or injury.
The process requires the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove the president from power. If the president has the wherewithal to object to his removal, a vote must then be taken in Congress, and two-thirds of each body has to vote in favor of his removal in order for it to stick.
The chances of that coming to pass are remote to say the least. Trump does have a way of alienating the people who work for him and he certainly has a testy relationship with some members of his own party in Congress, but forcibly removing him would shake the government to its foundations and enrage the millions of Americans who continue to adore Trump regardless of the endless stream of nonsense that flow from his lips and fingertips. He would have to do something monumentally stupid in order for that to be a possibility, and frankly I don’t even want to speculate on what that might be.
Even if it was feasible I don’t think invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump would be the right thing to do. I do think he is mentally unstable and unfit for office, but his malignant narcissism is nothing new. It was fully on display as he campaigned for the office and he won the election anyway.
He was the people’s choice and yes, I accept that, even though I think it was a historically terrible choice.
Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.