The president gave a series of interviews yesterday that have people across the political spectrum perplexed, to say the least. Josh Marshall says they "generally seemed to be the work of a man simply tossing off ideas, rambling or simply drifting in and out of consciousness" and wonders if Trump "was experiencing some sort of collapse of cognition."
Politico has more:
President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the "right circumstances."
The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was "looking at" breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.
And Monday still had nine hours to go.
Trump's comments questioning the need for the Civil War, aired Monday afternoon, seemed to disregard history and downplay slavery, several historians said.
"White supremacists, lost causers, states-rights activists could latch onto this,” said David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University. “I don’t know if Trump even knows he’s doing it. You can be too ignorant to know you’re ignorant.”
Chicago Tribune writer Dahleen Glanton points out the obvious:
Trump likely was suggesting that he and his role model, President Andrew Jackson — a man who celebrated white supremacy and subjugating Native Americans — could have done a better job than Abraham Lincoln staving off the war through negotiations. That is unlikely, considering how Trump has further divided Americans during the short time he has been in office.
In the Civil War, one side had to step aside before America could move forward. There was no room for compromise. The ideals of the two sides were so mismatched, their views of right and wrong too diabolically opposed and their visions for America too different. Doesn't that sound familiar?
And over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin wonders, "When is it okay to say the president might be nuts?"
I think it's OK, Jennifer. Because if he's not nuts, then he's doing this on purpose. Which is worse?