Donald Trump is the 13th president in the lives of the oldest members of our baby boomer generation (born in 1946). He is also, without question, the most controversial. As BoomerCafé co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs writes from Colorado, the first week of the new year shows, for better or for worse, what gives him that indubitable distinction.
“That Was the Week That Was” was a political satire on TV back in the 1960s, when we were just kids (some were very little kids). But after the week just behind us now, viewers in the ‘60s didn’t know the half of it.
In the one dangerously dicey week that launched this new year, at a pace I wouldn’t have thought possible, the president came back to wintry Washington from the warmth of Florida and spread the chill to us all.
On his first working day alone, a savage storm of 16 tweets. He blasted Pakistan for its “lies & deceit,” which is true because Pakistan is a two-faced friend. But it’s also an ally which does share intelligence with us and despite its otherwise ambiguous attitude, also helps us fight terrorism. Now, maybe not so much. Already, China is moving into the void.
He blasted the Palestinians, complaining that “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED (sic) OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.” True too, but does he actually believe that by insulting them before the world, they’re going to become more amenable to America’s role as an even-handed Middle East peace negotiator rather than less? All he did was shoot another bullet in our own back … and, by the way, in his son-in-law’s back, Jared Kushner, whose mandate is to close that “toughest deal of all.”
And of course Trump went big button to bigger button with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, as if daring a madman to push his button first is an act of sanity.
It’s not. None of those rash reckless tweets made us stronger. Or safer. And that’s just one week overseas.
Here at home, the president again threatened to corrupt the independence of the Department of Justice (no surprise after asserting, “I have the absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department”), first tweeting about “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid (sic),” Huma Abedin: “Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act?” Then later in the week we learned that although the FBI had previously closed the Clinton Foundation investigation for lack of evidence, at Trump’s insistence, they’re back at it.
And he prepared to publicize his vindictive picks for “Dishonesty & Bad Reporting” awards. As Libertarian Denver Post columnist Krista Kafer pointed out, he’s attempting to marginalize the people trying to hold him accountable. “This can’t be good,” she writes, “for democracy.”
Unabashedly in another tweet Trump even claimed credit for a fatality-free year in commercial American air travel: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation.” Preposterous, because the safe streak dates back to 2013. Which inspired some amusing tweets in response, like, “We had no gas explosions in our house this year. Thank you, Mr. President for your hands-on leadership …”
Maybe the most striking news last week though wasn’t from Trump, but about him. At the request of some members of Congress who are worried about his mental state, a Yale psychiatrist went to Washington and briefed them about Trump’s fitness to be president. Of course his press secretary called questions about the president’s mental health “disgraceful and laughable.”
But a lot of us aren’t laughing. A local psychiatrist talked to me recently — at his behest, not mine — and told me that while officially people in his profession can’t diagnose someone from afar, in the case of Donald Trump and his very public behavior, they know more about him than they know about some of their own patients. His self-loving weekend tweet that he is “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius” notwithstanding, the diagnosis that many mental health professionals have reached (and written about) is not just narcissism, which is about self-absorption and self-obsession (which any fool can see), but delusional thought disorder, which means he can’t distinguish his own delusions and fantasies from reality.
Which brings us, of course, to The Book, contents of which were released in the midst of all the other inanities of this one wild week. Like, Trump hasn’t read the Constitution. And barely reads anything at all. So let’s say just half of what’s reported in the book is true … or even a quarter … or, what the heck, let’s say just ten percent. Even that would be enough to disqualify this man from working in the Oval Office. My guess — and yes, I’m biased against this president — is that the accuracy quotient is higher than that, because every little tidbit merely affirms what anonymous aides have been quoted saying about their bombastic boss for the past year.
Note to Mr. Trump: this was the first tell-all book but it won’t be the last. Note to the rest of us: this was the first mortifying week of 2018. It won’t be the last.