21. He’s been getting weirder
Since contracting the coronavirus, DT has shifted his grandstanding into overdrive. Not content to kick back and focus on recovery, while basking in the bipartisan well wishes that only an ill president can amass, he has made a spectacle of himself both outside the hospital and back at the White House, endangering many other people in the process. Now he’s on the campaign trail again, putting countless others at risk.
He claims to be cured. Possibly he is, but there is no way he can know for sure; many Covid-19 patients relapse after seeming to recover, and others develop symptoms that linger. These symptoms frequently include what has come to be known as “brain fog,” a neuropsychiatric malady featuring difficulty concentrating and deficits in memory and cognition. This brain fog can last for months. Actually, it’s too early to know if it will ever go away completely. If he winds up showing signs of such a problem, will he be prepared to step aside? It seems unlikely. Will his Cabinet members be prepared to declare him unfit for office? That seems unlikely, too. For 45 months, amid a dizzying array of bad policy decisions, he has managed to refrain from launching a nuclear strike. If he decides to do something impulsive in that regard one day while suffering from brain fog, will anyone be able to stop him? He’s got three months to go in this term. We can cross our fingers for three months. Add another four years? No one can cross their fingers for that long.
While actively under treatment for the virus, he received several medications including a powerful steroid that is known to cause mania and delusional thinking. The potential side effects from such a drug could well explain the grandstanding that even by his standards has been over the top. Suppose he has a relapse and needs more of this drug? Again, we’re talking about someone with access to the nuclear codes. He also has a vast military and federal police officers at his disposal. If he wants to do something so vile that even his fellow Republicans wouldn’t approve of it, would they stand in his way? The nation has the right not to be pondering such questions for the next four years.
It hardly needs to be said that his thinking was already noticeably disordered and his behavior often borderline manic before he caught the coronavirus or took any drugs for it. It may be that he has been making a particular spectacle of himself lately simply because he is moved to do so, either from some hidden inner need or from a belief that doing so will gain him votes. News flash: the chances are vanishingly small that he will become calm and measured and sensible when he no longer has to worry about votes. He is someone who is accustomed to being the center of attention. His proclivity for outrageousness has served him well, and he will not abandon it after the election. If he gets another four years in the brightest spotlight on the planet, he is likely to up the ante. Never mind nuclear missiles and troops; we’re talking about somebody who can spark utter havoc with one tweet, and he’s got a large collection of delusional followers, many of them angry and well armed.
So what’s the deal—is DT sick, spaced out, or merely shameless? Perhaps he is all of the above. In the end, it does’t matter. Whatever the problem is, we cannot risk its manifesting itself until January 2025.
In addition to claiming to be cured, DT also claims to be immune. This is bullshit. While the jury is still out on the frequency of contracting Covid-19 multiple times, enough patients have been reinfected to date that we know it is possible. Sometimes the second infection is much worse than the first. Anyone undecided voter who dislikes the idea of President Pence would do well to keep that in mind.
Speaking of becoming immune…as much as I’d like to see DT prosecuted when he leaves office this winter, I’d happily see him granted total immunity—even including civil cases—if he’d just resign, retire, and withdraw from public life entirely. His presence has a toxic effect on the nation, and what we need foremost is to heal.