Iron County Progressive


Trump’s vilest legacy

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in

the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most

precious windowpane of all—American democracy.

By Robert Reich - Nation of Change - December 28, 2020

Most of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump—46.8

percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election—don’t hold Trump

accountable for what he’s done to America.

Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy.

Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist

George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community

signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is

thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message:

Do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it

The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in

poor communities. But America’s most privileged and powerful have been

breaking big windows with impunity.

In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out

while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall

Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the

members of the Sackler family who own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did

nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud

customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max

Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police

under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.

Here, too, they’ve got away with it. These windows remain broken.

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a

wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all—American democracy.

The message? A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his

wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors

general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse

congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his

opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake

media” and “enemies of the people,” and make money off his presidency.

And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his


A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of

evidence—and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those

who voted for him.

Trump’s recent pardons have broken double-paned windows.

Not only has he shattered the norm for presidential pardons – usually granted

because of a petitioner’s good conduct after conviction and service of sentence –

but he’s pardoned people who themselves shattered windows. By pardoning them,

he has rendered them unaccountable for their acts.

They include aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential

witnesses in order to protect him; his son-in-law’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax

evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal

Election Commission; Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi

civilians, including women and children; Border Patrol agents convicted of assaulting

or shooting unarmed suspects; and Republican lawmakers and their aides found

guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.

It’s not simply the size of the broken window that undermines standards, according

to Wilson and Kelling. It’s the willingness of society to look the other way. If no

one is held accountable, norms collapse.

Trump may face a barrage of lawsuits when he leaves office, possibly including

criminal charges. But it’s unlikely he’ll go to jail. Presidential immunity or a selfpardon will protect him. Prosecutorial discretion would almost certainly argue

against indictment, in any event. No former president has ever been convicted of a

crime. The mere possibility of a criminal trial for Trump would ignite a partisan

brawl across the nation.

Congress may try to limit the power of future presidents—strengthening

congressional oversight, fortifying the independence of inspectors general,

demanding more financial disclosure, increasing penalties on presidential aides who

break laws, restricting the pardon process, and so on.

But Congress—a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution—cannot

rein in rogue presidents. And the courts don’t want to weigh in on political


The appalling reality is that Trump may get away with it. And in getting away

with it he will have changed and degraded the norms governing American

presidents. The giant windows he’s broken are invitations to a future president to

break even more.

Nothing will correct this unless or until an overwhelming majority of

Americans recognize and condemn what has occurred.


Trump feels no pressure to be President while Americans suffer at Christmas

Analysis by Kevin Liptak, CNN

Fri December 25, 2020

Washington(CNN)For Christmas this year, Washington is giving the country more pain.

Perhaps it is fitting that in the worst year in memory, the surprise prospect of a government shutdown and delayed economic relief hangs over holiday celebrations already made less merry by the pandemic.

Maybe nothing better could be expected in a year that saw denial and delusion, led by President Donald Trump, presage a wave of illness and death coupled with evictions, bankruptcies, hunger and ruined livelihoods.

But after enduring so much, Americans can hardly be blamed for feeling outrage at yet another indignity at the hand of their leaders.

The joint Covid relief package and government funding bill that Trump has lambasted arrived at Mar-a-Lago Friday after being flown down a day earlier. Yet Trump, who arrived at his namesake golf course just before 10 a.m. local time, has offered no clues as to whether he'll sign it.

As Trump plays rounds of golf in Florida and pardons corrupt loyalists, and as congressional leaders line up for the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine, there is scant evidence the pressing needs of the country will be addressed in anything resembling a timely fashion.

House Republicans on Thursday rejected an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill that included $2,000 direct payments to Americans -- precisely the figure Trump demanded in a random video he tweeted this week rejecting a bill with $600 payments that had passed overwhelmingly with the support of his administration.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, there does not appear to be enough support for a bill with $2,000 checks. Trump is engaged in open hostility with the chamber's GOP leaders because they have acknowledged the reality that he lost the election, a dispute he acknowledged on Twitter after returning to Mar-a-Lago from his golf course on Christmas Eve Day.

"At a meeting in Florida today, everyone was asking why aren't the Republicans up in arms & fighting over the fact that the Democrats stole the rigged presidential election?" he asked, using the term "meeting" somewhat freely. "Especially in the Senate, they said, where you helped 8 Senators win their races. How quickly they forget!"

The bill Trump demanded Congress change was flown to him in Florida on Thursday afternoon but he offered no more clarity on what he would do with it. Government funding will lapse on Monday unless Trump signs the package or Congress passes another stopgap measure; they have already passed four such fixes this month alone.

That no one seems to know what Trump wants -- if he even knows himself -- has only fueled in the impression the country is careering further into chaos at exactly the moment it is least welcome.

"I have no idea what he plans to do," Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who is usually aligned with the President, said on Thursday.

In the past, when the government was about to shut down around Christmas, presidents and lawmakers stayed behind in Washington to figure it out. Even Trump skipped his Florida vacation two years ago as agencies shuttered.

So, too, have the country's leaders typically attempted some form of in-the-trenches solidarity with their constituents when the going gets tough -- like, for example, when health experts advise against holiday travel and gatherings with family.

But conventional practices have mostly disappeared in the four years Trump has been president. And no one really thinks twice anymore when Trump -- despite claims by the White House that his schedule is packed with phone calls and meetings -- pays another visit to one of his golf clubs while millions of Americans go hungry at Christmas.

Having already forced suffering Americans to wait months for more economic relief from the ravages of the coronavirus, it does not appear elected officials will figure out how to move forward anytime soon.

"We were assured that the President would sign the bill," Blunt told reporters Thursday, casually suggesting the President may not understand what is in it -- something of an understatement given the President's conflation of the Covid stimulus and government funding packages, and his fury over spending figures he proposed himself in his budget this year.

As Republicans work on sorting out what Trump wants, more than 12 million laid-off Americans could lose their unemployment benefits after this weekend, back rent will be due January 1 for millions of tenants and states could lose any unspent funds from the $150 billion that Congress provided earlier this year to state and local governments to help them cover coronavirus-related expenses.

It has left millions of Americans facing deep uncertainty at the end of a difficult year.

"I think that people are scared," said Karen Pozna, the communications director at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, on CNN. "You know, they're scared, there's been so many people who have lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts. The need was great before the pandemic. It's continuing now. And I see it continuing well into the new year."

Trump has made virtually no mention of the pandemic's toll for weeks; in a video he taped alongside the first lady for Christmas, he left the empathy to his wife while he declared the rollout of recently authorized vaccines "a Christmas miracle," though the vast majority of Americans won't have access to shots for months.

Lawmakers say they are feeling heat from their constituents to get something done, pressure Trump doesn't appear to share.

"I did a town hall last night that had people crying, people terrified of what is going to happen," Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, said on Thursday after Democrats' measure failed.

"The President -- when we finally thought that we'd be able to give people hope -- that's what people need, hope -- and be able to begin to continue to work on this in January, he doesn't give a damn about people," she said. "He threw more fear -- he threw kerosene on a terror fire."

It wasn't only Democrats who were frustrated.

"If he thinks going on Twitter and trashing the bill his team negotiated and we supported on his behalf is going to bring more people to his side in this election fiasco, I hope he's wrong, though I guess we'll see," Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, tweeted on Wednesday.

In the end, Trump himself may not know what his end goals are beyond throwing more gasoline into a system he appears intent on watching burn as he leaves office. Trump remains furious that Republicans -- including those who helped negotiate the legislation he rejected -- aren't supporting him in his bid to overturn the election.

In Florida, Trump is often surrounded by more willing hangers-on who, in the past, have encouraged his destructive impulses. His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani flew with him to Florida aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

CNN reported on Thursday that Trump's latest fixation is the January 6 certification of the Electoral College count for Joe Biden, an occasion he hopes will provide an opening for his supporters to challenge the results.

As he was flying to Florida for his vacation, Trump retweeted a call from one of his supporters for Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to ratify the Electoral College results.

Trump has told people recently that Pence isn't doing enough to fight for him as his presidency ends, and has recently taken an interest in Pence's traditional role during the certification. As president of the Senate, Pence presides over the proceedings.

Sources say Trump in recent days has brought the matter up to the vice president and has been "confused" as to why Pence can't overturn the results of the election on January 6. Pence and White House aides have tried to explain to him that his role his more of a formality and he cannot unilaterally reject the electoral college votes.

It's far from clear the President has internalized the message.


Trump threatens 30-day reign of destruction on the way out of office

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

CNN) Joe Biden will be president in 30 days. Until then, the question is how much damage can be done by a vengeful, delusional soon-to-be ex-President swilling conspiracy theories, whose wild anti-democratic instincts are being encouraged by fringe political opportunists.

Donald Trump will retain the awesome powers of the presidency until noon on January 20, and there's never been a time when he has been subject to as few restraining influences or has had a bigger incentive to cause disruption.

The President is spending day after day in his White House bunker, entertaining crackpot theories about imposing martial law, seizing voting machines and staging an intervention in Congress on January 6 to steal the election from Biden.

Surrounded by the last dead-end loyalists, Trump is flinging lies and political venom like King Lear in a crumbling Twitter kingdom, alarming some staffers about what he will do next.

On Monday, he huddled with a cabal of Republican lawmakers who plan to challenge the election on baseless claims of fraud at a special session of Congress to ratify the results on January 6.

Trump can further damage the United States in the coming days in two ways -- by aggressive design and by his passive neglect of his sworn obligations to lead.

His attempts to crush American democratic traditions by claiming a landslide victory in an election that he lost and that was not especially close fits into the first category. The President's behavior has sown huge mistrust of the fundamental underpinning of the US political system -- fair elections -- among millions of his voters and threatens to compromise the legitimacy of Biden's White House.

CNN's Barbara Starr reported Tuesday that there is concern among executive office staff and the military's leadership that Trump could use his power as President and commander in chief in dangerous ways in the last days of his term. "We don't know what he might do," one officer in the Pentagon said. Another added: "We are in strange times."

Trump's indifference to multiple crises stirred by his rule make up the second category of his political vandalism. This includes his apathy about a raging pandemic that has infected 18 million Americans and killed nearly 320,000 as an aching nation marks its darkest holiday season in generations.

There is no substitute in the US governing system for the engagement of a President during a massive national enterprise. But there is also no sign that Trump cares to offer leadership to ensure the success of the mammoth vaccination program that holds hope of eventually ending the pandemic. This after his denial of the virulence of Covid-19 undoubtably worsened the death toll.

Trump is also running interference for Russia, prioritizing the interests of an adversary over America's after a massive cyberattack blamed on the Kremlin.

These infractions add up to the dereliction of presidential duty on a grand scale. It is impossible to imagine any other president of the modern era behaving in such a way or for either of the political parties to tolerate his abuse of power. Former President George W. Bush's neglect during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 seems tame by comparison.

The current President's anti-democratic behavior since the election is validating the fears of critics -- and more than 80 million Biden voters -- who worried about his unchained behavior in a second term. Like many fading strongmen leaders, his antics are becoming more unhinged as the prospect of losing power becomes tangible.

Even Trump's White House staff is concerned about what happens next, at a time when Washington is already braced for a flurry of politically self-serving or legally dubious presidential pardons in the coming weeks.

"No one is sure where this is heading," one official told CNN's White House team on Monday in a disturbing behind-the-scenes glimpse at the mayhem unfolding in the West Wing. "He's still President for another month."

The madcap schemes of some of Trump's acolytes -- such as retired Gen. Michael Flynn's mooted plan to send troops to battleground states to redo elections that the President lost -- have no chance of playing out. Even if Trump's renegades had the competence to mount such a threat, the courts have shown zero tolerance for the President's autocratic attempts to destroy US democracy. It is unthinkable the military would deploy to reverse a popular vote on US soil.

Trump's extremism is also unfolding in the context of a landmark election after which the safety valves of the courts, the electoral safeguards in the states -- and eventually on parts of Capitol Hill -- stood firm in defense of democracy.

But the fact that a defeated President is even hearing theories about imposing martial law in the Oval Office is unfathomable in the world's oldest, most influential democracy.

Were it not for the outrageous assaults on the rule of law over the last four years and the evidence of a presidency tethered to the erratic personality of Trump, it would not be at all believable.

"The rest of the world is watching all this. It is just making people wonder. What is going on in America?" an incredulous John Kasich, the Republican former governor of Ohio, said on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Monday.

Trump's loss of composure is grave enough from a domestic point of view. But it sends a signal to US adversaries of a vacuum of leadership. His bizarre refusal to endorse his government's assessment that Russia is behind the cyberattack suggests there is a 30-day window of impunity for enemies dedicated to tarnishing US national interests. The thought of an agitated, emotional President faced with any sudden foreign policy crisis is not a reassuring one.

The extreme nature of Trump's final days meltdown is best encapsulated by the fact that Attorney General William Barr, who had accommodated many of the President's political assaults on the spirit of the law, has comprehensively broken with Trump as he prepares to leave office before Christmas.

Barr said Monday that he saw no need to appoint a special counsel to probe baseless claims of electoral fraud. He drew a similar conclusion about Trump's demands for an investigation into Biden's son Hunter, who is already the subject of a criminal probe into his business dealings. In his farewell news conference on Monday, Barr said he saw no reason for the federal government to seize voting machines, a step advocated by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. And he said the massive cyber breach of the US government "certainly appears to be the Russians."

Although Trump's most fervent loyalists have turned against him for his political apostasy toward the President, Barr remains a credible figure among many Senate Republicans and his comments will have strengthened Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's effort to stop any of his caucus seeking to mount a futile challenge to the election during a joint session of Congress to ratify the election result on January 6.

But Barr will be gone in a few days, potentially allowing the President to lean on Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who faces a tense few weeks leading the Justice Department before Biden's inauguration. Should he refuse to bend to the President's will, it is not impossible that Trump could fire him and seek a willing accomplice for his assaults on the rule of law -- emulating President Richard Nixon in the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973.

In an ominous sign for the days ahead, Trump told young conservative voters in Georgia over the phone Monday that "we won this in a landslide" and said he needed "backing from ... the Justice Department, and other people finally have to step up."

Trump's meeting with Republican lawmakers on Monday was the latest troubling sign that he is prepared to tear down the integrity of the US electoral system on the way out of the Oval Office door.

The group is preparing to "fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud. Stay tuned," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tweeted, giving fresh life to falsehoods comprehensively debunked by the Supreme Court, multiple judges and Republican state election officials ever since the election.

The effort will not succeed in invalidating Biden's election since Democrats control the House of Representatives and there is no sign that a majority of Republicans in the Senate -- most of whom are now acknowledging that Biden is President-elect -- will play along. But the pro-Trump lawmakers can stage a stunt that would make a mockery of democracy and further sow distrust of America's political system among the President's fervent supporters -- a scenario that could cause years of damage.

Fringe figures around Trump besides Giuliani and Flynn include Sidney Powell, the lawyer who only just a few weeks ago was ousted from his legal team over her bizarre claims of a massive international plot involving the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, China, Democrats and the Clintons to steal the election.

Trump has floated an idea of embedding Powell as a special counsel inside the White House Counsel's Office to investigate claims of voter fraud. The current counsel's office has pushed hard against the idea, sources told CNN.

"There's a high level of concern with anything involving Sidney Powell," one source close to the President told CNN's White House team.

Another of Trump's conspiratorial fellow travelers, populist guru Steve Bannon, and the hawkish trade adviser Peter Navarro also have the President's ear, the sources told CNN.

"I think we are seeing just how desperate Trump is becoming himself. And how desperate the last remaining rats on the ship, if you will, are becoming because of that," Lawrence Wilkerson, a former top aide to ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Monday on CNN's "OutFront."


The Atlantic    

Trump Is Losing His Mind

Peter Wehner 


Donald Trump’s descent into madness continues. 


The latest manifestation of this is a report in The New York Times that the president is weighing appointing the conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, who for a time worked on his legal team, to be special counsel to investigate imaginary claims of voter fraud.


As if that were not enough, we also learned that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was pardoned by the president after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, attended the Friday meeting. Earlier in the week, Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, floated the idea (which he had promoted before) that the president impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election in several closely contested states that voted against Trump. It appears that Flynn wants to turn them into literal battleground states.


None of this should come as a surprise. Some of us said, even before he became president, that Donald Trump’s Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering him, was his psychology—his disordered personality, his emotional and mental instability, and his sociopathic tendencies. It was the main reason, though hardly the only reason, I refused to vote for him in 2016 or in 2020, despite having worked in the three previous Republican administrations. Nothing that Trump has done over the past four years has caused me to rethink my assessment, and a great deal has happened to confirm it.


Given Trump’s psychological profile, it was inevitable that when he felt the walls of reality close in on him—in 2020, it was the pandemic, the cratering economy, and his election defeat—he would detach himself even further from reality. It was predictable that the president would assert even more bizarre conspiracy theories. That he would become more enraged and embittered, more desperate and despondent, more consumed by his grievances. That he would go against past supplicants, like Attorney General Bill Barr and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and become more aggressive toward his perceived enemies. That his wits would begin to turn, in the words of King Lear. That he would begin to lose his mind.


So he has. And, as a result, President Trump has become even more destabilizing and dangerous.


“I’ve been covering Donald Trump for a while,” Jonathan Swan of Axios tweeted. “I can’t recall hearing more intense concern from senior officials who are actually Trump people. The Sidney Powell/Michael Flynn ideas are finding an enthusiastic audience at the top.”


Even amid the chaos, it’s worth taking a step back to think about where we are: An American president, unwilling to concede his defeat by 7 million popular votes and 74 Electoral College votes, is still trying to steal the election. It has become his obsession.


In the process, Trump has in too many cases turned his party into an instrument of illiberalism and nihilism. Here are just a couple of data points to underscore that claim: 18 attorneys general and more than half the Republicans in the House supported a seditious abuse of the judicial process.


And it’s not only, or even mainly, elected officials. The Republican Party’s base has often followed Trump into the twilight zone, with a sizable majority of them affirming that Joe Biden won the election based on fraud and many of them turning against medical science in the face of a surging pandemic.


COVID-19 is now killing Americans at the rate of about one per minute, but the president is “just done with COVID,” a source identified as one of Trump’s closest advisers told The Washington Post. “I think he put it on a timetable and he’s done with COVID ... It just exceeded the amount of time he gave it.”


This is where Trump’s crippling psychological condition—his complete inability to face unpleasant facts, his toxic narcissism, and his utter lack of empathy—became lethal. Trump’s negligence turned what would have been a difficult winter into a dark one. If any of his predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, to go back just 40 years—had been president during this pandemic, tens of thousands of American lives would almost surely have been saved.


“My concern was, in the worst part of the battle, the general was missing in action,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, one of the very few Republicans to speak truth in the Trump era.


In 30 days, Donald Trump will leave the presidency, with his efforts to mount a coup having failed. The encouraging news is that it never really had a chance of succeeding. Our institutions, especially the courts, will have passed a stress test, not the most difficult ever but difficult enough, and unlike any in our history. Some local officials exhibited profiles in courage, doing the right thing in the face of threats and pressure from their party. And a preponderance of the American public, having lived through the past four years, deserves credit for canceling this presidential freak show rather than renewing it. The “exhausted majority” wasn’t too exhausted to get out and vote, even in a pandemic.


But the Trump presidency will leave gaping wounds nearly everywhere, and ruination in some places. Truth as a concept has been battered from the highest office in the land on an almost hourly basis. The Republican Party has been radicalized, with countless Republican lawmakers and other prominent figures within the party having revealed themselves to be moral cowards, even, and in some ways especially, after Trump was defeated. During the Trump presidency, they were so afraid of getting crosswise with him and his supporters that they failed the Solzhenitsyn test: “The simple act of an ordinary brave man is not to participate in lies, not to support false actions! His rule: Let that come into the world, let it even reign supreme—only not through me.”


During the past four years, the right-wing ecosystem became more and more rabid. Many prominent evangelical supporters of the president are either obsequious, like Franklin Graham, or delusional, like Eric Metaxas, and they now peddle their delusions as being written by God. QAnon and the Proud Boys, Newsmax and One America News, Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson—all have been emboldened.


These worrisome trends began before Trump ran for office, and they won’t disappear after he leaves the presidency. Those who hope for a quick snapback will be disappointed. Still, having Trump out of office has to help. He’s going to find out that there’s no comparable bully pulpit. And the media, if they are wise, will cut off his oxygen, which is attention. They had no choice but to cover Trump’s provocations when he was president; when he’s an ex-president, that will change.


For the foreseeable future, journalists will rightly focus on the pandemic. But once that is contained and defeated, it will be time to go back to focusing more attention on things like the Paris accord and the carbon tax; the earned-income tax credit and infrastructure; entitlement reform and monetary policy; charter schools and campus speech codes; legal immigration, asylum, assimilation, and social mobility. There is also an opportunity, with Trump a former president, for the Republican Party to once again become the home of sane conservatism. Whether that happens or not is an open question. But it’s something many of us are willing to work for, and that even progressives should hope for.


Beyond that, and more fundamental than that, we have to remind ourselves that we are not powerless to shape the future; that much of what has been broken can be repaired; that though we are many, we can be one; and that fatalism and cynicism are unwarranted and corrosive.


There’s a lovely line in William Wordsworth’s poem “The Prelude”: “What we have loved, Others will love, and we will teach them how.”


There are still things worthy of our love. Honor, decency, courage, beauty, and truth. Tenderness, human empathy, and a sense of duty. A good society. And a commitment to human dignity. We need to teach others—in our individual relationships, in our classrooms and communities, in our book clubs and Bible studies, and in innumerable other settings—why those things are worthy of their attention, their loyalty, their love. One person doing it won’t make much of a difference; a lot of people doing it will create a culture.


Maybe we understand better than we did five years ago why these things are essential to our lives, and why when we neglect them or elect leaders who ridicule and subvert them, life becomes nasty, brutish, and generally unpleasant.


Just after noon on January 20, a new and necessary chapter will begin in the American story. Joe Biden will certainly play a role in shaping how that story turns out—but so will you and I. Ours is a good and estimable republic, if we can keep it.


Trump’s Incurable Mental State:  A Danger to Our CountryADVERTISEMENT

(From Raw Story Investigates, By Sarah K. Burris)


Last year, more than 350 psychologists and mental health experts sounded the alarm that the president’s mental state was “deteriorating” and it was time to begin hearings to study if he was emotionally and mentally capable of serving in office.

Take advantage of our limited time offer. Go ad-free for just $2 a week. Support independent journalism.

Here are the 9 most damning statements saying the president’s mental stability is dangerous for the country.

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1. Dr. John Gartner, co-founder of the Duty to Warn PAC

“He has no empathy or concern for anybody but himself and so he will not care about the destruction that it will cause other people. In fact, because of his sadism, there’s a part of him that perversely seems to revel in causing chaos and destruction and making us all frightened all the time, but even more importantly, it will be irresistible for him because it will transform him from feeling like a hunted victim of this witch hunt to feeling like an omnipotently destructive victor,” said Dr. Gartner.

2. Dr. Bandy X. Lee, Yale University psychiatry professor.


“As a co-worker, [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] has the right to have him submit to an involuntary evaluation, but she has not,” Dr. Lee said. “I am beginning to believe that a mental health hold, which we have tried to avoid, will become inevitable.”

“This is exactly the kind of dangerous event we foresaw as Donald Trump’s response to the impeachment proceedings, just as his pulling troops from northern Syria was a direct response to the announcement of an impeachment inquiry,” Lee said. “This was why more than 800 mental health professionals petitioned Congress to consult with us, since, without intervention, this kind of crisis was a matter of time, not just a possibility.”

3. `Dr. Howard Gardner, Harvard University professor


“If you are going to make statements about what it means to be intelligent, you need either to define intellect clearly, give the results of formal testing, or both. To my knowledge, Trump has done neither,” he told the Washington Post.

“Second, however you define intellect, you need to distinguish between that cognitive capacity, and others arguably of equal or greater importance — for example, relevant knowledge, judgment, wisdom. And if you are addressing an individual’s potential to lead and to inspire, you need to take into account personal and temperamental capacities that are not, strictly speaking, cognitive or intellectual: for instance, patience, perseverance, empathy, forgiveness,” he continued.


4. Psychiatrist Steve Wruble

“Donald Trump’s early development,” he writes, “created who we are witnessing. … [H]is father’s intensity left its mark on the entire family. Donald’s oldest brother essentially killed himself under his father’s rule. This tragedy must have played a prominent role in the formation of Donald’s identity and left minimal room to rebel against his father’s authority, except through competition in the realm of business success. Despite their appreciation for each other, the tension between father and son caused Donald psychological wounds that still fester.”

5. Therapist Diane Jhueck


Jheck asked, rhetorically, Why Donald Trump’s “dangerousness” wasn’t identified and dealt with early on in his life?

It was likely that the wealth and power of his family insulated him.

“His father had similar mental health disturbances,” lessening the possibility that the younger Trump’s behavioral problems would be addressed. She writes that Trump “exhibits extreme denial of any feedback that does not affirm his self-image and psychopathic tendencies, which affords him very limited ability to learn and effectively adjust to the requirements of the office of president. Rather, he consistently displays a revenge-oriented response to any such feedback.”

6. Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School


“The failure of normal empathy, is central to sociopathy, which is marked by an absence of guilt, intentional manipulation and controlling or even sadistically harming others for personal power or gratification.” In the book, he lists examples of Trump’s lack of empathy, “loss of reality” and “rage reactions and impulsivity,” he wrote in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

7. Stanford University professor emeritus Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword,

The two wrote in a column for Psychology Today, that the president’s tweets where he brags about his intelligence are only part of his arrogance that point to reckless behavior that could put the country in greater danger.

“We were concerned that, given his ‘straightforward’ or ‘outsider’ presentation and charisma, he would appeal to people who were unaware of the dangers of his obvious narcissistic personality type, and the offensive behaviors that can accompany it. These behaviors include but are not limited to condescension, gross exaggeration (lying), bullying, jealousy, fragile self-esteem, lack of compassion, and viewing the world as Us-vs.-Them. Having observed the schoolyard-bully tactics Trump employed during public debates, as well as his boasting presentation during interviews, we felt it was important to raise awareness about his behaviors,” they wrote.


The Washington Post

20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Amy Gardner 13 hrs ago

But Trump refused to see it that way. Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like “Mad King George, muttering, ‘I won. I won. I won.’ ”

However cleareyed Trump’s aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were “happy to scratch his itch,” this adviser said. “If he thinks he won, it’s like, ‘Shh . . . we won’t tell him.’ ”

Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin, for instance, discussed with Trump a poll he had conducted after the election that showed Trump with a positive approval rating, a plurality of the country who thought the media had been “unfair and biased against him” and a majority of voters who believed their lives were better than four years earlier, according to two people familiar with the conversation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. As expected, Trump lapped it up.

The result was an election aftermath without precedent in U.S. history. With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America’s democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.

Trump’s allegations and the hostility of his rhetoric — and his singular power to persuade and galvanize his followers — generated extraordinary pressure on state and local election officials to embrace his fraud allegations and take steps to block certification of the results. When some of them refused, they accepted security details for protection from the threats they were receiving.

“It was like a rumor Whac-A-Mole,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Despite being a Republican who voted for Trump, Raffensperger said he refused repeated attempts by Trump allies to get him to cross ethical lines. “I don’t think I had a choice. My job is to follow the law. We’re not going to get pushed off the needle on doing that. Integrity still matters.”

All the while, Trump largely abdicated the responsibilities of the job he was fighting so hard to keep, chief among them managing the coronavirus pandemic as the numbers of infections and deaths soared across the country. In an ironic twist, the Trump adviser tapped to coordinate the post-election legal and communications campaign, David Bossie, tested positive for the virus a few days into his assignment and was sidelined.

Only on Nov. 23 did Trump reluctantly agree to initiate a peaceful transfer of power by permitting the federal government to officially begin Biden’s transition — yet still he protested that he was the true victor.

The 20 days between the election on Nov. 3 and the greenlighting of Biden’s transition exemplified some of the hallmarks of life in Trump’s White House: a government paralyzed by the president’s fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy.

Though Trump ultimately failed in his quest to steal the election, his weeks-long jeremiad succeeded in undermining faith in elections and the legitimacy of Biden’s victory.

This account of one of the final chapters in Trump’s presidency is based on interviews with 32 senior administration officials, campaign aides and other advisers to the president, as well as other key figures in his legal fight, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details about private discussions and to candidly assess the situation.

In the days after the election, as Trump scrambled for an escape hatch from reality, the president largely ignored his campaign staff and the professional lawyers who had guided him through the Russia investigation and the impeachment trial, as well as the army of attorneys who stood ready to file legitimate court challenges.

Instead, Trump empowered loyalists who were willing to tell him what he wanted to hear — that he would have won in a landslide had the election not been rigged and stolen — and then to sacrifice their reputations by waging a campaign in courtrooms and in the media to convince the public of that delusion.

The effort culminated Nov. 19, when lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell spoke on the president’s behalf at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee to allege a far-reaching and coordinated plot to steal the election for Biden. They argued that Democratic leaders rigged the vote in a number of majority-Black cities, and that voting machines were tampered with by communist forces in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Ch├ívez, the Venezuelan leader who died seven years ago.

There was no evidence to support any of these claims.


From State Representative Beth Meyers

Hello to my constituents, 

The holidays can be a stressful time any year, but this Thanksgiving is going to look different for most of us. It may be difficult to not celebrate in person with some of your loved ones, but COVID-19 is still filling our hospitals and taking the lives of our neighbors and friends. Even though we are all exhausted, we must continue to be cautious for our safety and the health of those around us. 

Last week, Governor Evers released a package of legislation to aid Wisconsinites as our state has one of the worst outbreaks in the nation. See the summary of the bills here.

Unfortunately, Republican leadership has given us no indication of when we will meet again. Time is of the essence, and I will continue to push for action. Lives depend on it.

In the meantime, please stay home when you can, maintain distance and wear a mask. Do your part to protect your community, and take care of yourself as best you can. 

Thank you,