Harrop: What Trump’s continued support says about us isn’t flattering

By Froma Harrop

Who “won” the second presidential debate? Skip that question. Who lost it? Easy answer. The American people and the reputation of their nation.

This was no “he thinks this, she believes that” kind of conversation. Like her or not (and I like her), Hillary Clinton came to the debate — and presidential race — prepared to talk about what she wants to see happen in this country. Trump was, and remains, about maintaining his delusions of business prowess and animal attraction to women. What many early on thought was an act turns out to be his person. And that person is not well in the head.

Horse race pundits concluded that Trump steadied himself in the second debate, by which they meant he did not explode onstage. So numbed are they by this outlandish campaign, they set aside his reference to Clinton as the devil and threat to put her in jail.

Thinking Americans have given up on expecting Trump to speak coherently on his vision for the future. And why should they, seeing as he never bothered to acquaint himself with the present?

The national tragedy is that so many Americans don’t care that he doesn’t know anything. And they don’t know anything. Many of Trump’s struggling supporters expect to be protected in an American prosperity bubble assaulted by a world that’s rapidly educating. Their prospects for economic safety would be a lot higher under Clinton, but they don’t know that, either.

Set aside Trump’s habitual smearing of Latinos, the crude birther lies about President Obama, the attacks on the parents of a dead hero-soldier. Set aside that he didn’t answer the debate question about Aleppo, instead blurting out the word “Mosul,” while obviously not up on what is happening there.

He doesn’t know what the nuclear triad is, for heaven’s sake. Why would he know about this? Trump doesn’t read books. He doesn’t seem to read newspaper articles unless they’re about him, preferably with his name in boldface.

Regarding the tape on which Trump brags about how hot women are for him, with bonus commentary on their “tits”: The confirmation of his sexist tendencies was secondary. The stunning revelation was that a man with a shot at the presidency is so cracked.

Which isn’t news at this point. A nominee up at 3 a.m. tweeting about a beauty queen a few days after the first “presidential” debate is obviously missing a few dots on his dice.

Not unlike a courtroom lawyer, moderator Anderson Cooper sought to determine Trump’s ability to mentally process the charges against him. “You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals,” Cooper said. “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”

Historians decades hence will hail the courage of Republican politicians who early on refused to endorse Trump at the risk of angering their base. The hall of honor would include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. As for Republicans who withdrew their support after the emergence of the drooling tape and — perhaps more to the point — evidence Trump was cratering in the polls: You are zeros.

Even his supporters don’t argue that Trump is intellectually adequate to serve as U.S. president. (They say his advisers would make the big decisions.) That Trump is morally unfit to hold the highest office in the land is pretty much agreed on, as well.

Left on the table is the biggest and most troubling question mark: whether Trump is mentally stable. Evidence overflows that he is not. That someone so clearly disturbed got this far in a presidential race is absolutely terrifying.

Email Froma Harrop at fharrop@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Sept. 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - Six-year-old Eric Aviles receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Sylvia Uong at a pediatric vaccine clinic for children ages 5 to 11 set up at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. In a statement Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, California's public health officer, Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, said that officials are monitoring the Omicron variant. There are no reports to date of the variant in California, the statement said. Aragon said the state was focusing on ensuring its residents have access to vaccines and booster shots. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Editorial: A plea for watchful calm this time regarding covid

We don’t need a repeat of uncontrolled infections or of the divisions over vaccines and masks.

Flowers bloom on the end of a dead tree on Spencer Island on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Restore salmon habitat but provide view of its work

Comments are sought on a plan to restore fish habitat to the island east of Everett with popular trails.

Comment: GOP ‘projection’ is slideshow of hypocrisy, deflection

Trump, of course, is guilty, but so are House Republicans desperate to ferret out elusive dirt on Joe Biden.

Arlington Mayor Tolbert has helped her region rebuild, grow

Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert has implemented the best programs to help people… Continue reading

Johnson’s endorsements reason enough to earn vote for sheriff

Another week. Another death at the Snohomish County jail (“Man, 38, identified… Continue reading

Resumption of expanded child tax credit can fight poverty

The U.S. Census Bureau has released poverty data for 2022 and the… Continue reading

Comment: Musk is his CEO’s X-factor (and not in a good way)

Musk is the widely variable variable for the X chief executive who can’t make headway on advertising.

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, Sept. 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Most Read