Even in the best of times, Donald Trump is mercurial and unstable. More and more stories are coming out from former White House aides depicting just how impulsive and erratic his Presidential decision-making was. (Of course, these same people, at the time, assured us that Trump had a firm grasp of the issues and was making decisions that were best for America. Those were all lies.)
If people were classified like the Table of Periodic Elements, Trump would be Francium – which is apparently even more unstable than uranium or plutonium. It would be fitting to rename the most unstable element Trumpium. He always wants things named after him, and it would be appropriate for him to go down in history – and in science — as the butt of a big joke.
As Palmer Report has previously observed, these are far from the best of times for Trump. In addition to the stream of “Tell Enough to Make Myself Look Not So Culpable” books coming out from former Trump Administration officials that paint him in an increasingly bad light, prosecutors from Manhattan and the State of New York are closing in on the Trump Organization, his colleagues, family, and Trump himself. So he is under enormous pressure. Suffice it to say that he is not handling it well. Unlike a lump of coal in Superman’s hands, the intense pressure is not producing diamonds for Trump. Instead, as everything around him is crumbling – so is he.
This brings us to Trump’s recent rantings, at his disastrous rally in Ohio and the increasingly shrill written statements he’s issued from his lair. These are not the pronouncements of a person in control of his faculties — or anything else. As an aside, however, there is certainly a bit of schadenfreude in seeing Trump viciously lash out at Mitch McConnell and Bill Barr, two cold, calculating bastards who have done as much as anybody this side of Trump to undermine our American institutions and democracy
Trump’s recent statements reveal his continuing delusional view of the world, an unwillingness – or inability – to distinguish reality from his fantasies. He continues to harp on the election, which he clearly lost. He grasps at fantastical scenarios presented by the likes of Sydney Powell, Lin Wood, and the Arizona legislature, as if wishing them to come true would make it so. He fosters hope that he will be “reinstated” as President. These are the ravings of a lunatic.
Could it be that Trump and his attorneys are laying the groundwork for a defense that he is not competent to stand trial? His delusional rants dovetail with the grounds for being found incompetent to stand trial, an inability to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him (“[This prosecution] is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.”) and an inability to assist properly in his defense (“Radical Left New York City and State Prosecutors . . . are rude, nasty, and totally biased in the way they are treating lawyers, representatives, and some of the wonderful long-term employees within the Trump Organization . . . and will do anything to frighten people into making up the stories or lies that they want, but have been totally unable to get.”)
Another striking feature of Trump’s is that he clearly cannot – or will not – distinguish between right and wrong. This is no doubt a part of his appeal to his horrible “base,” as it demonstrates that there is a prominent “leader” who shares – and shapes – the same warped “values” they do.
In the legal realm, one of the bases for finding someone not guilty by reason of insanity is that they couldn’t distinguish between right and wrong at the time they committed the crime. Unlike the delusional defense, which relates to a defendant’s current incompetence to stand trial, Trump may be able to show that he hasn’t been able to distinguish between right and wrong for decades, including at the time he committed the crimes in question.
The thing is, whatever countervailing factors may be in play, Trump’s enormous ego will never let him allow his lawyers argue that he is incompetent, no matter how clever that may be as a legal strategy. In fact, he’s more likely to claim that he is the most competent defendant ever! Thus, it is likely that, rather than a clever long game to avoid prison, Trump’s erratic behavior is simply an indication that he is, indeed, cracking under the pressure.