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I think therefore I am

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Not guilty of continuing to possess top secret government documents without authorization:

Donald Trump famously spent his time in the White House saying and doing things that elicited the response “Donate this man’s body to science so we can figure out what‘s wrong with him as soon as possible.” He’s suggested the US trade Puerto Rico for Greenland; claimed you can get cancer from sound; told people Melania Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were close personal friends, despite the fact that the two had never met; publicly feuded with a dead man; repeatedly bragged he’d been named “Michigan Man of the Year,” an award that does not exist. This string of inanities, obviously, goes on and on. But last night, Trump added another one to the list that arguably put all the others to shame vis-à-vis the depths of the crazy.

Asked in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity about his “process” for declassifying the government documents the FBI recovered from Mar-a-Lago—which Trump has spent the last month insisting, without evidence, that he did do—the ex-president responded: “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it [to declassify]…if you’re the president of the United States you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it…there can be a process but there doesn’t have to be.”

The problem with ex-presidents these days is that their heads are stuffed full of all this Cartesian dualism.

On a heavier note, the thing about Donald Trump is that nothing he did as president, or that he’s done after he was (temporarily?) no longer president, can be considered in the slightest bit surprising. Indeed it is a truth universally acknowledged by everybody who both knows him well and isn’t currently on his payroll, literal or metaphorical, that everything Trump has done and is doing is completely in character for him, and the shocking thing would be if he didn’t behave as he has.

Now if you’re somebody who is heavily invested in the legitimacy of the American political system, this creates some rather massive cognitive dissonance, since it means that a grotesquely unqualified in every way man became president of the United States, even though it was absolutely clear that he was grotesquely unqualified, intellectually, emotionally, ethically, financially, aesthetically, and in every other way anyone can possibly think of to hold the most important single position in the system.

There are basically two ways to deal with this dissonance, which are:

(1) Acknowledgement that Trump’s election and very possible re-election represent a massive systemic failure of the most fundamental and possibly fatal kind; or

(2) Denial.

The entire Republican party has chosen Door #2, including St. Liz Cheney, who voted for Donald Trump for president in November of 2020, that is, several years after whatever flimsy excuses might have existed for misunderstanding the nature of this man you seek had been completely incinerated by events.

But it’s not only Republicans: Lots of institutionalist centrist types remain in their own form of denial, which may not be quite as complete as that which encases the members of the cult, but which is just as dangerous, given that this latter form of denial remains such a key factor in keeping the most destructive criminal in the history of this nation walking its streets and fairways. Well not walking but being carted around them.

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