Trump’s astounding ignorance of everything

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In a speech full of bombast and ignorance before the National Rifle Association in Dallas on Saturday, Donald Trump once again betrayed his shocking ignorance of American history. “You know,” Trump said, “FDR 16 years, almost 16 years, he was four terms. I don’t know, are we going to be considered three-term? Or two-term?”

Setting aside how astoundingly (and typically) inarticulate that particular Trump quote is, it should be noted that FDR emphatically did NOT serve anywhere near “almost 16 years” as President. Roosevelt was inaugurated for his 4th term on January 20, 1945, ten days before his 63rd birthday. He died less than three months later, on April 12, 1945. Therefore he served just a little more than 12 years as President. Nowhere near 16 years.

This may seem like a small point, but it’s part of a larger pattern. Trump’s ignorance of history in general and American history in specific is well known. Trump thinks there were airports during the American Revolution. When visiting the site of the Japanese attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Trump turned to his chief of staff John Kelly and said, “Hey, John, what’s this all about? What’s this a tour of?”

Trump once announced that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, adding that “not many people” know that. Most people know that. I learned it when I was ten years old. Remember, this guy used to be president of the United States.

Trump’s ignorance isn’t limited to American history, either. He is ignorant of a broad range of topics. During a meeting Trump once told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.”

If you forget about Trump’s recent and alarming deterioration for a moment — which is considerable — it remains true that with or without encroaching dementia Donald Trump is an appallingly stupid man. Many of Trump’s own people who worked with him in the Oval Office said as much. It isn’t even enough to refer to him as a mere mediocrity. He is equally incompetent in his chosen field. As a businessman his failures are legion. He is an idiot who was born into a rich family. He was handed 400 million dollars that he parlayed into a two billion dollar loss.

Trump fails at everything he does. He’s a failure as a husband, failure as a father, failure as a businessman, spectacular failure as a president. Historians judge him as history’s worst president. He is a stupid, disloyal man who is given loyalty by equally stupid, disloyal people because he’s famous and allegedly rich and, in many cases, because he’s a bigot who has made bigotry a safe haven for other bigots. Many people like that, too. Despite all this, every election after Trump has been a disaster for Republicans.

So why have so many Republican politicians sold their souls to a man as stupid and bad for the Republican Party as Trump? It’s because a lot of cultish idiots worship Trump, and those cultish idiots vote. It used to be true that if Trump lost enough of his followers, much of MAGA in government would evaporate.

But MAGA is becoming endemic in government to the point that it no longer needs Trump. In the same speech where Trump got Roosevelt’s term of office wrong, he also absurdly boasted that he’s a “better physical specimen” than Barack Obama. Not only is that immediately and obviously wrong, he appears to be dying.

So I don’t think MAGA really needs Trump any longer. MAGA looks like it’s here to stay, for a while at least. That’s why we don’t merely need to defeat Trump, we need to get rid of MAGA the way Germany got rid of the Nazis. America’s democracy and the survival of our species on earth may depend on it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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