I think it’s entirely fair to say that over the course of 2017, we’ve all built up an immunity to outrageous social media posts by the leader of the free world. What was shocking 11 months ago is now just par for Bedminster.
On Friday, for instance, the President of the United States called the Post Office “dumb” and “poor” on the way to publicly deriding one of the most successful companies in American history. It wouldn’t be entirely fair to say that no one batted an eye because Amazon’s stock did decline on the day, but Trump’s Twitter tantrums have lost of some of their shock value for a public that’s resigned itself to the fact that the highest office in the land is now occupied by a social media troll with the temperament of a 10-year-old.
I’d say this is dangerous to the extent it represents a kind of begrudging acquiescence to a surreal authoritarian reality in which it’s now considered “acceptable” for the President to berate the FBI and the Justice Department in 140-characters, but the interview Trump granted to the New York Times this week seemed to support our long-held contention that Trump is an accidental authoritarian. The interview (here) betrayed the extent to which the President’s mental acuity is clearly in terminal decline. Consider this passage, for instance:
Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.
Obviously, that’s indicative of someone who is detached from reality and we say that sincerely. As in, when we say “detached from reality” we don’t mean in the sense that Trump has always been detached from reality by virtue of his deep-seated narcissism. Rather, we mean that in the sense that he’s literally losing touch with the real world, as all of us are prone to do with age.
And that’s not a cherry-picked quote. Here’s the transcript of the discussion on collusion from the same interview:
See what I mean? There’s no point in picking that apart for evidence of “lying” because frankly, that would probably be unfair at this point. That’s just an incoherent ramble. It doesn’t make any sense. He’s just grasping at straws – reaching out for any phrases he can remember that sound familiar to him. It’s not him commenting on collusion. It’s just him trying in vain to respond to a question about collusion. There’s nothing to be divined there at all.
So when you think about Trump’s tweets in 2017, it’s important to keep in mind that they emanate from someone who appears to be losing his mind – literally. That doesn’t excuse them, but it does put them in context.
With that, here are Trump’s most liked tweets of 2017:
It probably says something about the state of civil discourse when the two most popular tweets (by a country mile) are Trump calling another world leader “short and fat” and Trump clotheslining a CNN logo in a wrestling match.
His followers appear to like peaceful protests and warm wishes for the Vegas victims a whole lot less than they do the prospect of nuclear war and attacks on the free press.
That says more about America than it does about Trump.