America asks whether Trump is losing his mind
Is the US president lying or unhinged? The question is openly discussed in US media this morning after Donald Trump retweeted three horrific videos posted by an extreme British Muslim-hater.
Of the 36,491 tweets sent by @realDonaldTrump, three retweets posted yesterday morning may top the list for his most controversial.
They are three videos posted by the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right, anti-Islam party in the UK with a two million-strong Facebook following.
The videos appear to show a “Muslim” beating up a disabled Dutch boy, a man in Syria smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary, and ISIS fighters pushing a boy off a roof, killing him.
The tweets were rebuked in the UK: Theresa May’s spokesman said that it was wrong to do this and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, called them abhorrent and dangerous.
Brendan Cox, the husband of the British MP murdered last year by a man who reportedly shouted "Britain First", said that Trump is trying to legitimise the far right “in our country" , having done so in his own.
A wide cross section of US media commentators are talking about the president’s sanity this morning. For example:
Vanity Fair: “It may be pathological.”
Mother Jones: “He’s officially gone from occasionally delusional to full crazy uncle.”
Slate: “Unhinged Islamophobic tweetstorm … divorced from reality”.
He knows exactly what he is doing, say some. These retweets will resonate with Trump’s base and infuriate his opponents. That has been his strategy from the beginning. Saying that Trump’s odd behaviour shows he has a mental illness totally underestimates his political cunning.
His comments in recent days have stunned advisers. On Tuesday night, The New York Times and The Washington Post both published detailed accounts of what can only be described as the president suffering some kind of break with reality. He even continues to believe that Obama’s birth certificate is not real, according to multiple sources.
- Is Donald Trump mentally sound?
- Franklin D. Roosevelt was once described as having “a second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament”. As a class, debate whether this is preferable to a leader with a first-class intellect, but a second-class temperament.
Some People Say...
“Bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies.”Professor Harry Frankfurt in “On Bullshit” (2005)
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Donald Trump retweeted three graphic, violent videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the 31-year-old deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right, anti-Islam party in the UK. As The Day goes to press, he has still not taken them down despite a tidal wave of fury from his opponents.
- What do we not know?
- We still know very little about the three videos Trump retweeted.
- Trump has two Twitter accounts, a personal one, which is @realDonaldTrump, and a presidential one — @POTUS — from which he seldom tweets.
- Two million-strong Facebook following
- More than Labour and the Conservative Party combined. Despite this, Britain First has been electorally unsuccessful.
- The “Muslim migrant” in the video was later reported by two other Dutch websites to be neither a migrant, nor indeed a Muslim.
- Meaning Trump’s behaviour is the result of disease, in this case mental malfunction.