In the fantastical final days of Donald Trump's occupation of the White House, whatever measure of madness you might have imagined was actually much worse. Having lost so decisively to Joe Biden, a man Trump tried frame as a senile communist, threw Trump into a psychotic tailspin that was observable by all to whom he came in contact.
The book new book, Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, is described by the publisher with this alarming blurb: "The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history." And even that is an understatement.
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Excerpts from the book are beginning to emerge that chronicle the days following the January 6th insurrection in Washington, D.C. Among the most harrowing accounts of Trump's descent into madness are the conversations House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. CNN's Jaime Gangel brought some of the more disturbing comments to her Tuesday morning segment of Inside Politics. Gangel led off by quoting from the book that...
"General Mark Milley took top secret action to limit President Trump's ability to make strike or to use nuclear weapons. [...] Milley is deeply shaken from the assault on the Capitol on [January] 6th. He believes Trump is unstable, unpredictable, and Milley believes that Trump is in serious mental decline."
Then Gangel recounts the contents of a startling and historic phone call between Milley and Pelosi for which Woodward and Costa had obtained an exclusive transcript. In the call Pelosi revealed that she had the same concerns as Milley:
Pelosi: Who knows what he might do? He's crazy. You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time. So don't say you don't know what his state of mind is. He's crazy. And what he did yesterday is further evidence of his craziness.
Milley: Madame Speaker, I agree with you on everything.
Some partisan players might be inclined to dismiss the concerns of Speaker Pelosi, a longtime and loyal Democrat. But Gen. Milley is a career Army officer who was appointed to his post by Trump and confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 89 to 1 (Jeff Merkely, a Democrat, was the sole "no" vote). Milley was so afraid that Trump could "go rogue" that he took precautionary measures to intercept any orders to use nuclear weapons.
As if that weren't bad enough, CNN also reported another conversation documented in the book. Trump's efforts to bully Vice-President Mike Pence reveal a desperate, delusional, and dangerous soon-to-be former president:
Trump: If these people say you had the power, wouldn't you want to?
Pence: I wouldn't want any one person to have that authority.
Trump: But wouldn't it be almost cool to have that power?
Pence: No. I've done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It's simply not possible.
Trump: No, no, no! You don't understand, Mike. You can do this. I don't want to be your friend anymore if you don't do this.
And there we can see Trump's emotional maturity reverting to elementary school level. Which is a key symptom of senility. The stubbornness, the anger, the vindictiveness, and the tantrum throwing when he doesn't get his way, are all characteristics of a petulant child. No wonder the people on the inside were scared.
Unfortunately, not enough of them were scared enough to remove the twice-impeached Trump from office when they had the chance - twice. And lily-livered sycophants like GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy only made things worse. Their docile servility to the cult of Trump has left the nation in the precarious position it is in today.
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With Trump continuing to propagate the "Big Lie" about election fraud, and incite further violence and domestic terrorism (aided and abetted by Fox News), it is at least somewhat comforting that there are failsafe features in our government that can prevent lunatics like Trump, and others like him, from executing their maniacal plots. The question is, how long will that hold up if the perpetrators aren't held accountable under the law?
UPDATE: Trump appeared on the Newsmax program hosted by his former press secretary, Sean Spicer, to respond to the excerpts from Woodward's book. He began by accusing Milley of treason, but by the end of his rant he was attacking Woodward's veracity. So which is it Donnie? Is it fake news or treason? Or are you just babbling again, as usual?
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