Donald Trump appears to have the wits of Homer Simpson

by Bill Ralston / 16 January, 2018
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US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One. Photo/Getty Images

Trump may be “stable” and “smart”, but Americans need to decide whether to fire their leader.

The fact that US President Donald Trump felt the need to assert that “actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart” should scare the bejesus out of us.

That the leader of the most powerful country in the world, someone who has the ability to blast the planet into nuclear oblivion, appears to have the wits of Homer Simpson terrifies me. Most of us, however, prefer to simply laugh, shake our heads and point derisively at him.

I warn you now, one day President Simpson will reach for the briefcase containing the atomic trigger, open it and ask, as he presses the button, “What’s this for?”

Our only hope is a quiet chap named Robert Mueller III, who has been beavering away in the background in Washington trying to figure out Russia’s involvement in the election that put Trump in the White House. He is a “special counsel”, a cross between a lawyer and a cop, and he has enormous powers to aid him in his investigation.

The only problem is Trump can fire him whenever he wants, as he sacked FBI director James Comey, allegedly for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, though some speculate that the FBI’s Russia probe was further cause for Comey’s demise.

It is now reported that Mueller wants to interview Trump about the alleged collusion. The White House has a phalanx of lawyers surrounding the President and determined to block the move. Last week, at the Camp David retreat attended by the President, Cabinet members and Republican lawmakers, Trump talked to reporters about the affair. According to the Washington Post, he declared, “Because, honestly, it’s very, very bad for our country. It’s making the country look foolish. And this is a country that I don’t want looking foolish. And it’s not going to look foolish as long as I’m here.” Too late, Donald.

In the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, another Post correspondent described the President as “a dope, a moron, a man-child, a semi-illiterate”, the subject of a type of coup where he is disabled and propped up by others and kept away from disastrous situations. That is a frightening scenario.

The last time the US presidency was in a position of this seriousness was 1974, when Richard Nixon was in office. It took about six years before calls for Tricky Dick’s impeachment led to his resignation. Trump has managed to wedge himself into a similar situation after barely a year in the job.

The US faces a dilemma. Congress can ignore Trump’s increasingly bizarre antics and let him wobble on for the next three years. Hopefully, he will then be dumped by the electorate – provided, of course, he has not already blown the planet to smithereens. On the other hand, Congress could impeach him.

The problem with option two is a Gallup poll that shows Trump having a 37% approval rating. That figure is admittedly low and falling, but worryingly, it shows that more than a third of Americans still support him. It compares with an NBC News poll in December that showed 41% of respondents wanted immediate impeachment proceedings.

The country is split and paralysed over the Trump question. This year, Mueller will report back, and almost all of Congress faces re-election. Americans will have to overcome their inertia and make a call – for all our sakes.

This article was first published in the January 20, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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