Donald Trump’s arm doesn’t work right. He’s struggling to walk. He looks startlingly frail. He can barely give a speech off a teleprompter anymore. It’s raising all kinds of questions about whether he’s suffering from a stroke or a neurological disorder – and it almost has to be something along those general lines. There’s another question we’re going to have to consider: what if Trump’s collapsing health finishes him off before voters can?
I’m not saying Trump is going to croak before the election. Because he’s gone to such severe lengths to cover up his health, we don’t even know specifically what’s wrong with him, or what the prognosis is. All we know, from observing him during his public appearances, is that it’s severe and it’s getting worse.
Trump has never been a particularly functional president at any point. He’s always done the bare minimum. On some level he’s always faked being president. But if he keeps declining like this, there will come a point where he and his babysitters won’t be able to fake it anymore. Trump is already polling so badly, he’s on track to cost the Republicans the Senate. How much worse will his numbers get if he keeps coming off as senile and dying in public?
Mitch McConnell surely has a threshold at which he’ll decide to pressure Donald Trump into not seeking reelection. Mike Pence surely has a threshold at which he’ll decide to pull the plug with the 25th Amendment. We don’t have any way of knowing if either of those thresholds will be reached before election day. But if Trump keeps behaving like this in public, we just might find out.
Even as we continue to work hard to finish Donald Trump off in November, we now have to consider at least the remote possibility that Trump’s collapsing health will have taken him out of the 2020 race by then, and that we’ll be facing Pence or some other Republican in November. It’s too early to start game planning for that scenario just yet. But it’s something to keep in the backs of our minds if Trump keeps coming off a like senile dying man in public.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report