Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Is Donald Trump Losing It? Breaking Down His Latest Speeches

Trump’s bizarre rants and Hitleresque rhetoric ignite concerns over his mental state and fitness amid the 2024 presidential campaign.

Donald Trump
Photo: Gage Skidmore

As the 2024 presidential campaign ramps up, a troubling pattern has emerged in Donald Trump‘s public appearances and statements. The former president, once known for his braggadocious style and controversial remarks, now seems to be spiraling into a realm of incoherence, delusion, and dangerous rhetoric. From bizarre tangents about electric boats and sharks to historically inaccurate ramblings and casual threats against his perceived enemies, Trump’s behavior has left many questioning his mental fitness for office and the potential consequences of having a mentally unstable president.

Bizarre Tangents and Hallucinations

During his Sunday rally in Las Vegas, the former president decided to revisit a topic that seems weirdly dear to his heart: his fear of sharks. During an unhinged spiel about electric vehicles, Trump concocted a peculiar hypothetical scenario involving an electric boat, a sinking battery, and a nearby shark, leaving his audience scratching their heads.

Trump discussed a recent conversation with a South Carolina boat salesman about electric boats, while falsely claiming that Democrats want to mandate the use of electric boats (no Democratic politicians have pushed for such a mandate). “What would happen if the boat sank?” Trump mused. 

Trump recounted how he pressed the salesman with the critical question: “do I get electrocuted…or do I jump over by the shark and not get electrocuted?” 

“He said, ‘You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question.’ I said, ‘I think it’s a good question. I think there’s a lot of electric current coming through that water.’ But you know what I’d do if there was a shark or you get electrocuted? I’ll take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark. So we’re going to end that, we’re going to end it for boats, we’re going to end it for trucks.”

Donald Trump’s disdain for sharks is well-documented. Stormy Daniels, the adult film star whose hush-money payments from Trump led to his felony conviction, noted that during their 2007 affair, the future president was more engrossed in Discovery Channel’s Shark Week than in her arrival at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“Losers” and “Suckers”: Donald Trump Insults Veterans

Trump insults veterans: fallen Marines are losers and suckers

Donald Trump is fuming at Joe Biden, who frequently highlights that Trump reportedly skipped a 2018 visit to a cemetery where over 2,000 World War I soldiers are buried, calling the fallen Marines “losers” and “suckers.” Trump’s former chief of staff, John Kelly later confirmed this allegation, first reported by The Atlantic in 2020.

During a Las Vegas event last Sunday, Trump vehemently denied the accusation, stating, “I’m standing there with generals and military people in a cemetery” — an odd assertion given he never visited the site. He added, “Unless you’re a psycho or a crazy person or a very stupid person, who would say that, anyway?” You did!

John Kelly’s on-the-record confirmation includes several damning comments Trump made about U.S. service members and veterans. Kelly recounts Trump belittling those who serve, stating that military personnel are “suckers” for their sacrifices and dismissing wounded veterans from military parades because they “don’t look good for me.” 

Kelly also referenced Trump’s disdain for a Gold Star family and his infamous remark about Senator John McCain, saying the late senator was “not a war hero” for being captured in Vietnam. This deep-seated inability to grasp the public’s respect for fallen heroes continued during his 2018 trip to France, where he refused to visit a cemetery, saying that it was “filled with losers” and labeled the Marines killed in the Battle of Belleau Wood “suckers.”

According to Kelly, Trump questioned the value of visiting grave sites and memorials during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. According to his former chief of staff, John Kelly, Trump infamously asked, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” while standing in front of the grave of Robert Kelly, John Kelly’s own son who was killed in Afghanistan. 

A close friend of Kelly’s, a retired four-star general, remarked, “He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself. He thinks that anyone who does anything without direct personal gain is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” The general added, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”

Hannibal Lecter: A “Wonderful Man”?

In a baffling moment during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, Donald Trump praised the fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter, calling him a “wonderful man.” His speech included a convoluted tirade where Trump mixed references to the 1991 horror film with his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“We have people who are being released into our country that we don’t want in our country, and they’re coming in totally unchecked, totally unvetted,” he claimed, alluding to migrants allegedly streaming in from “insane asylums and mental institutions” under President Joe Biden’s administration (which is laughably false). 

Trump Channels Hitler in “Vermin” Attack 

In November, at a rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump vowed to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.” This dehumanizing language, reminiscent of Hitler’s incendiary rhetoric, is alarming. 

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian from New York University, noted in the Washington Post, “Calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.” 

Back in September, Trump pushed even more Hitleresque rhetoric during a discussion on immigration with the National Pulse, claiming immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.” Trump’s drew widespread condemnation, including from the Anti-Defamation League. 

He had also promised “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” including plans to hold people in concentration camps. Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC aptly identified the “poisoning” comment as “a straight-up white supremacist/neo-Nazi talking point.”

Trump Admits He’ll Be a Dictator

Donald Trump openly declared his intention to act as a dictator if given a second term. This shocking admission didn’t come from media hyperbole or political spin; it’s straight from Trump himself. 

At a town hall in Iowa, Fox News’s Sean Hannity posed what should have been a straightforward question: “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Trump’s response was, “Except for day one.”

Trump continued to elaborate with disturbing nonchalance. He recounted Hannity’s question about being a dictator, to which Trump replied: “No, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border, and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling.” This brazen declaration makes it obvious that he plans on abusing his presidential power and turning the country into a dictatorship.

Inciting Violence Against Retired US Army General 

Trump attacked former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman and retired general Mark Milley on Truth Social, calling him a “Woke train wreck” and alleging that Milley “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States.” This reference stems from a phone call Milley made to reassure Chinese officials that the U.S. was not planning an attack after he received intelligence that China thought Trump was going to order an attack—a call that senior Trump appointees knew about, as Milley later testified before Congress.

Trump further escalated his rhetoric, stating, “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!” Inciting violence against a former general who served his country for decades is beyond the pale and is a sign of someone who is mentally unwell. 

Trump incites violence against decorated war hero and former General Mark Milley

In an interview with CBS, Milley expressed his distress over the remarks, stating he has “adequate safety precautions” and will take necessary measures to protect himself and his family. It’s outrageous that a decorated war hero finds himself in a position where his safety is compromised due to politically charged threats.

False Claims About Jobs and Wages

black weekly real earnings economic data
Source: The Economist

During a recent Las Vegas speech, Trump falsely claimed that “virtually 100 percent of the new jobs under Biden have also gone to illegal aliens,” a statement that is laughable at best and clearly a blatant lie. The White House reports 15 million jobs created since Biden took office, with new jobs spanning diverse economic sectors. Trump’s assertion simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Additionally, Trump’s claim that real wages for African Americans have decreased by 6% under Biden is equally incorrect. Analyses by the Economic Policy Institute and The Economist reveal that real wages among low-income workers, particularly Black men, young workers, and working mothers, have actually seen significant growth over the last four years.

In a clear case of projection, Trump also attacked President Biden as “cognitively impaired” while touting his own cognitive test scores—tests designed to detect dementia, not measure intellect. The irony is particularly glaring given Trump’s own clear mental decline, marked by his frequent incoherent and rambling remarks. Moreover, Trump has experienced noticeable “freezing” incidents during speeches, further underscoring concerns about his mental fitness.

Threatening NATO Allies

Donald Trump claimed that during his presidency, he warned NATO allies that the United States would not defend them against Russia if they didn’t contribute enough financially. This statement not only reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of NATO—whose funding relies on defense spending as a percentage of GDP, not payments—but is also profoundly un-American. It undermines decades of U.S. commitments to its allies and seemingly encourages aggression from Vladimir Putin, a clear enemy of the United States. 

At a campaign event in Conway, South Carolina, Trump recounted an exchange where a foreign leader asked if the U.S. would still protect them if they didn’t pay. Trump bragged that he responded, “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.” Such rhetoric dangerously aligns him more closely with Putin than with America’s longstanding allies.

Insulting and Intimidating Judges and Prosecutors

Donald Trump has frequently hurled accusations of racism at Black prosecutors involved in the cases against him. For instance, he labeled Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as “The Racist Manhattan District Attorney,” and similarly targeted New York Attorney General Letitia James, branding her efforts as “Another witch hunt by a racist attorney general.” In April, Trump described Fulton County DA Fani Willis as “a local racist democrat district attorney in Atlanta.” 

Trump unhinged rant against Jack Smith on Truth Social

Trump has also baselessly claimed that his legal adversaries have concerning personal relationships. He alleged, without evidence, that an aide to Judge Engoron is Senator Chuck Schumer’s girlfriend managing the case against him and insanely accused Fani Willis of having “an affair with the head of the gang or a gang member.” 

Continuing to Claim the 2020 Election Was Stolen

Despite lacking evidence and losing all relevant court cases, Donald Trump still claims he won the 2020 election. On “Meet the Press” on September 17, 2023, he remarked, “I don’t consider us to have much of a democracy right now.” Trump claimed back in March that the 2024 election will be rigged too. 

A well-functioning democratic republic relies on the losers conceding; throughout U.S. history, defeated candidates have accepted their losses, however grudgingly. Trump’s unprecedented refusal to concede and his ongoing insistence on a stolen victory threaten this democratic norm.

Threatening Freedom of the Press

On September 24 of last year, Donald Trump accused NBC News and MSNBC of “Country Threatening Treason,” suggesting that they should not be allowed to use the “very valuable Airwaves of the USA, FREE.” In his Truth Social rant, the former president called for a probe into Comcast, the parent company of NBC and MSNBC, if he wins in 2024. This baseless demonization of the press and casual accusation of treason flies in the face of the First Amendment’s protection of a free press—an essential pillar of democracy.

Trump threatens to end freedom of the press, persecute NBC/MSNBC

Strange Rant Against Jimmy Kimmel

Donald Trump went on a bizarre Truth Social rant where he called Kimmel a “horrendous” Academy Awards host. Adding to the confusion, Trump mixed up Kimmel with this year’s Best Picture presenter, Al Pacino. This barb came amid his hush money trial in New York City, a subject of Kimmel’s relentless jokes all week on his ABC late-night show. The exchange harks back to the end of the 2024 Oscars, when Kimmel read Trump’s real-time critique live on stage. “Well, thank you, President Trump,” Kimmel quipped. “Thank you for watching. I’m surprised you’re still — isn’t it past your jail time?” The fact that such a tame joke triggered that much of a reaction from Trump says a lot about his mental state. 

Trump Truth Social rant against Jimmy Kimmel

Trump’s Pirate Impersonation of Robert E. Lee

In an April 2023 rally in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump tried to recount some history, specifically the Battle of Gettysburg, but his attempt was riddled with inaccuracies and bizarre commentary.

Robert E. Lee, who’s no longer in favor — did you ever notice it? He’s no longer in favor. “Never fight uphill, me boys, never fight uphill.” They were fighting uphill. He said, “Wow, that was a big mistake.” He lost his big general. “Never fight uphill, me boys,” but it was too late.

Historians quickly pointed out the flaws in Trump’s account. Robert E. Lee didn’t talk like a pirate, nor did he issue that command at Gettysburg. Moreover, T.J. Stiles noted on Twitter that months after Gettysburg, Union forces successfully charged uphill to win the Battle of Missionary Ridge, undermining Trump’s invented narrative. This rambling, historically inaccurate account raises further questions about Trump’s grasp on reality and mental state. 

From Cannibals to Sharks: A Descent into Madness?

As Donald Trump continues his bid for the presidency in 2024, his increasingly unhinged rants, bizarre claims, and attacks on democratic institutions and norms are raising alarm bells among political observers and mental health professionals alike. From praising fictional cannibals to rambling about sharks, Trump’s words and actions paint a picture of a man whose mental state is declining and whose grasp on reality is tenuous at best.

Even more alarming than his apparent cognitive decline is the dangerous rhetoric Trump continues to employ. His casual accusations of treason, threats against the free press, and dehumanizing language towards political opponents are very similar to the tactics used by authoritarian leaders like Hitler and Mussolini. Trump’s open admissions about his plans to become a dictator if elected should send chills down the spine of every patriotic American who values democracy and the rule of law.

As the campaign progresses, it is imperative that the media and the public at large do not normalize or dismiss Trump’s increasingly unhinged behavior. The stakes are simply too high to ignore the warning signs of a man whose mental faculties appear to be in rapid decline and whose rhetoric grows more dangerous by the day. The American people deserve a leader who is mentally fit, emotionally stable, and committed to upholding the principles of our republic. Based on his actions, it’s obvious that Donald Trump falls woefully short on all counts.