What Republican Senators Are Thinking

Cracks may be developing in Congress’s support for the president. Fred Kaplan of Slate writes about the silence of Republican senators regarding recent statements by fellow Republicans to the effect that the president needs round-the-clock supervision and isn’t playing with a full deck:

It is a hair-raising fact that though few Republicans have seconded [Senator Corker’s] or [Secretary of State Tillerson’s] appraisals of Trump, still fewer have spoken out in their president’s defense. The day after Corker’s interview in the Times, CNN staffers phoned all 52 Republican senators to see if any of them would come on Wolf Blitzer’s show to discuss politics that day. Not one assented.

They chose not to protest that one of the party’s leaders in the Senate likened Trump to a patient in an “adult day care center.” They don’t seem to mind that the nation’s top diplomat called Trump a “fucking moron.” And no one has as yet rebutted the latest report on Trump’s appalling cluelessness about nuclear weapons. The Republicans don’t deny any of these indictments, yet they do nothing about them; they do nothing to address the clear and present danger.

Elsewhere, Robert Reich, an economist who was the Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and now teaches at Berkeley, posted this on Facebook. I can’t vouch for its accuracy, of course, but it does give one hope:

This morning I phoned my old friend, a Republican former member of Congress.

RR: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump?

He: All I know is they’re simmering over there.

RR: [Senators] Flake and McCain have come pretty close.

He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous.

RR: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they?

He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. [Attorney General Sessions] was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on [Majority Leader McConnell] for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others.

RR: So they’re pissed off?

He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally.

RR: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war?

He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why [Corker] spoke up.

RR: So what could they do? I mean, even if the whole Republican leadership was willing to say publicly he’s unfit to serve, what then?

He: Bingo! The emperor has no clothes. It’s a signal to everyone they can bail. Have to bail to save their skins. I mean, Trump could be the end of the whole goddam Republican party.

RR: If he starts a nuclear war, that could be the end of everything.

He: Yeah, right. So when they start bailing on him, the stage is set.

RR: For what?

He: Impeachment. 25th amendment.

RR: You think Republicans would go that far?

He: Not yet. Here’s the thing. They really want to get this tax bill through. That’s all they have going for them. They don’t want to face voters in ’18 or ’20 without something to show for it. They’re just praying Trump doesn’t do something really, really stupid before the tax bill.

RR: Like a nuclear war?

He: Look, all I can tell you is many of the people I talk with are getting freaked out. It’s not as if there’s any careful strategizing going on. Not like, well, do we balance the tax bill against nuclear war? No, no. They’re worried as hell. They’re also worried about Trump crazies, all the ignoramuses he’s stirred up. I mean, Roy Moore? How many more of them do you need to destroy the party?

RR: So what’s gonna happen?

He: You got me. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And he’s getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re in shit up to our eyeballs with this guy.

Will Congressional Republicans stick with this monster to the bitter end? If only they were brave enough and clever enough to get rid of him and put Vice President Pence in the Oval Office. They have to be looking for an excuse to dump Trump, since their lives would be so much easier with President Mike Pence. Before Pence became governor of Indiana, he served in Congress for 12 years. He’s a standard right-wing religious fanatic they could work with!

Good News: The 25th Amendment Can Be Invoked in 23 Days

Bad news: A man with a serious personality disorder will be sworn in as President on January 20th, only 23 days from now.

But as noted above, the new President will immediately become subject to the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. That’s the amendment that allows the Vice-President to become President when the President dies or becomes “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” (unfortunately, of course, it’s still “his”).

Here’s the first paragraph of Section 4:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

There is more to it than that, because the President can object to the Vice-President’s declaration. Congress would then decide the issue.

Granted, given the fact that the new President is being extremely careful to appoint people he trusts to his cabinet, it might be difficult for Vice President Pence to get the necessary signatures right away. He’d probably need to wait until at least one of the President’s appointments had been confirmed, but I’m sure the details could be worked out.

Next question: Will the new President be unable to perform his duties as required? That’s an easy one. The man is clearly suffering from a severe psychological disorder. (I mean, seriously.)

It didn’t get much attention, but three professors of psychiatry sent a letter to President Obama last month. They called for the next President to undergo “a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation” in order to see if he suffers from an incurable (!) illness called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. Professional ethics demand that psychiatrists not diagnose patients from afar, but is there any doubt that the President-elect is not a well person? From their letter:

Here … are the 9 criteria for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. If an individual has 5 out of the 9 they have a confirmed diagnosis of this illness…

“Summary : A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believe that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration

5. Has a sense of entitlement

6. Is interpersonally exploitative

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”

Opinions may vary, but I give him roughly nine out of nine. 

The professors continue:

1. People with NPD are extremely sensitive and insecure. They psychologically require constant compliments and acknowledgement because they do not have their own internal self-esteem. They need to get it from others.

2. If someone does criticize them, … it triggers this deep and painful lack of self-esteem and they MUST lash out to relieve the pain of the criticism.

3. They have only two modes: They are either fully your friend and love you or you are their enemy and they will do everything to discredit you or humiliate you. They can’t help it. The pain of having someone in their circle who does not approve of them or acknowledge them, almost constantly, is too great.

4. There are only two ways to deal with someone with NPD, and they are both dangerous. There is no healthy way of interacting with someone with this affliction. If you criticize them they will lash out at you and if they have a great deal of power, that can be consequential. If you compliment them it only acts to increase the delusional and grandiose reality the sufferer has created, causing him to be even more reliant on constant and endless compliments and unwavering support.

5. Because they crave the attention and approval of others they develop great capacity to engage and entertain and can be quite charismatic, even to the point of developing a cult-like following.

6. Someone with NPD will NEVER get along with any member of the press or any media outlet that criticizes him.

7. Someone with NPD will NEVER hire (and will fire) anyone who criticizes him. Therefore, and because they believe they know better than almost everyone else, they have a very hard time listening and taking any advice.

In other words, the President of the United States will be psychologically armed and extremely dangerous as of high noon on January 20th. That’s when the Vice-President of the United States needs to begin the process of saving us from the Electoral College. Never put off until tomorrow what needs to be done today.

PS:

Bad news: Mike Pence, a rock-ribbed Republican jerk, would become President.

Good news: We’ve survived bastards like him before.

More good news: If Pence doesn’t immediately get the 25th Amendment rolling, see Article 2, Section 4, Impeachment. Even Congressional Republicans do their jobs sometimes.