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I was wrong

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I realize it’s not often that writers admit that they’re wrong; however, I’m just going to say it: I was wrong.

On June 9, Forward Kentucky published a commentary of mine, “He’s called ‘President Dunce’ for a reason,” in which I explained how much of what President Trump says comes out of his bottomless ignorance. About history. About politics. About science. Well, I could go on and on. And I did.

But I now realize that ignorance alone doesn’t account for Trump’s lies and incompetence. It doesn’t even account for the major part. I think there’s another reason: He’s rapidly becoming senile.

How else can you account for this gem from the Fourth of July, uttered when President Grandpa’s Teleprompter failed?

Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. When dawn came, the star-spangled banner waved defiant.

And then, just like so many conceited old men in the early throes of Alzheimer’s disease, he blamed someone else: It was the Teleprompter’s fault! Right, Grandpa! The Teleprompter made you think that airports existed in the 18th century! And, while it was at it, it made you conflate the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

This verbal gaffe is simply the most obvious sign that, sadly, President Trump is — as the young people would say — losing it. It’s the verbal equivalent of Grandpa putting one of his shoes in the freezer. Another, more recent, sign is that Trump has lost it enough that he ordered his staff to try to negotiate the purchase of Greenland from the Danes. (The story broke in The Wall Street Journal; however, the Journal article is behind a paywall, and it is only available to subscribers.) Then, just to show that it wasn’t a one-off, Trump canceled a meeting with Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II in a petty tantrum when the Danes thought the idea was ridiculous and wouldn’t take him seriously. Imagine that! Not taking him seriously just because Trump was acting like a spoiled toddler! Or, like a crotchety, senile old man.

Another sign is comments made by people who knew him in the 1980s and 1990s. Trump was a con artist then and a monumental liar, of course. But those who knew him then said he wasn’t as vicious and kept his racism to himself. That fits into one of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease: the loss of one’s mental filter, due to damage to the frontotemporal lobe (that part of the brain that keeps you from saying the quiet parts out loud). As the Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom notes:

Losing inhibitions can include being rude, saying things that aren’t appropriate (for example that someone is overweight), talking to strangers, undressing in public, and apparent sexual disinhibition (for example touching themselves inappropriately in public).

Rudeness? Check. Saying things that aren’t appropriate (for example, telling native-born and naturalized U.S. citizens to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came” or calling all Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers)? Check! Rambling on and on, say on Fox News to the point that the three dolts on a divan at Fox and Friends had to cut you off? Twice? Check and check! And, as for the loss of sexual inhibition, just Google President Grandpa’s comments about his own daughter Ivanka. Definitely check!

So far Trump hasn’t started to undress in public, but then that’s probably part of the U.S. Secret Service’s job description these days. Or maybe he just doesn’t remember how to work the buttons anymore. Who can tell?

Be honest: If your own grandfather were acting like this, wouldn’t you take away his car keys?


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The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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