With Trump, the Pathology Is the Point

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It’s perfectly clear by now that the United States does not have a functioning president or administration. It also seems clear that this does not matter to a sizable chunk of the population. They just don’t care — even when it could lead them to lose their lives and their livelihoods. A year ago precisely, Trump’s approval rating was, in FiveThirtyEight’s poll of polls, 53.8 percent disapprove, 41.1 percent approve. This week, the spread was 53.1 percent disapprove and 43 percent approve. Almost identical. None of the events of the last year — impeachment, plague, economic collapse — have had anything but a trivial impact on public opinion.

Neither, it seems, does the plain evidence of Trump’s derangement. Yesterday, at a Ford plant in Michigan, the president reiterated that he was once named “Man of the Year” in Michigan, something that never happened and an honor that doesn’t exist. He insisted that Obama had left no pandemic preparation behind — “we took over empty cupboards. The cupboards were bare” — which is untrue. He said he owned a lot of Lincolns but then he said he didn’t. When referring to the anti-Semite and Nazi-supporter Henry Ford, he ad-libbed, “Good bloodlines, if you believe in that stuff. Good blood.” In a factory where mask-wearing is legally mandatory and where every other executive was wearing a mask — and one who spoke with a Perspex visor on as well — Trump refused to wear one in public, though he apparently put one on behind the curtain. When asked why he wasn’t wearing one, he said: “I don’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” The official taxpayer-funded White House trip was also used to give an overtly partisan campaign speech, breaking the law. Just one completely bonkers day from a president who has effectively refused to do the job.

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