In one of the Batman movies, a big city mobster, who knows he’s going to prison for his crimes, tries a coerce a corrupt doctor into helping him create an insanity defense so he won’t have to stand trial. That movie scene, in which the doctor turned into a super villain instead of helping the mobster, doesn’t give us much real world guidance. But thanks to Donald Trump, it’s at least remotely possible we’re about to find out whether it would have worked.
Over the past months in general, and the past week in particular, Donald Trump has alternated between behaving in aggressively demented fashion and passively vacant fashion. One day he’s tweeting the kind of perversely vulgar and threatening things that would get anyone else suspended from Twitter. The next day he’s seen on video physically wandering off with a blank look on his face yet again, only to have his handlers try to corral him back to where he was supposed to be.
Either Trump’s mental competence is collapsing by the day, or he’s doing one hell of a job of faking a full-scale mental and psychological collapse. It’s become so glaring that one of the most common debates among the public right now is whether or not he’s faking it. I couldn’t tell you whether he is or not. But if he is pretending, it’s because he wants people to think he’s mentally incompetent.
So if Donald Trump is faking this, it may be because he wants to be thrown out of office so he can go back to being a private citizen, which he seemed to enjoy far more. Or it could be that he and his quack attorneys and quack doctors are indeed trying to set up a potential insanity defense for once he’s gone from office and he’s ultimately tried in a courtroom for everything from collusion to obstruction to financial crimes. At this point nothing would surprise anyone – even if his quack doctor turned into a super villain.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report