Donald Trump’s Mental Faculties Continue to Erode

Aaron Chown/PA Wire via ZUMA

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Michael Schmidt of the New York Times held an impromptu interview with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago yesterday, and there are takes galore lighting up the internet. Probably all of them are accurate, but for my money the main takeaway isn’t something you can illustrate with an excerpt from the interview. But I’ll try anyway:

SCHMIDT: What are you willing to do on infrastructure? How far are you willing to go? How much money?

TRUMP: I actually think we can get as many Democrat votes as we have Republican. Republicans want to see infrastructure. Michael, we have spent, as of about a month ago, $7 trillion in the Middle East. And the Middle East is worse than it was 17 years ago….And if you want $12 to fix up a road or a highway, you can’t get it…. I believe we can do health care in a bipartisan way, because now we’ve essentially gutted and ended Obamacare.

….Wait, wait, let me just tell you. … Also, beyond the individual mandate, but also [inaudible] associations. You understand what the associations are….So now I have associations….That’s gonna be millions and millions of people….Now I’ve ended the individual mandate. And the other thing I wish you’d tell people. So when I do this, and we’ve got health care, you know, McCain did his vote. … But what we have. I had a hundred congressmen that said no and I was able to talk them into it. They’re great people.

Two things: No. 1, I have unbelievably great relationships with 97 percent of the Republican congressmen and senators. I love them and they love me. That’s No. 1. And No. 2, I know more about the big bills. … [Inaudible.] … than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes.

….I’ll tell you something [inaudible] … Put me on the defense, I was a great student and all this stuff. Oh, he doesn’t know the details, these are sick people….But Michael, I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most….I believe that because of the individual mandate and the associations, the Democrats will and certainly should come to me and see if they can do a really great health care plan for the remaining people.

This is a taste, but you have to read the whole interview to really get it. This simply is not a man in full control of his mental faculties. He’s always been narcissistic and blowhardish, but over the course of the interview he’s completely unable to stay focused on a topic for even a few seconds. He veers off into his Electoral College win constantly. He stops to insist there’s no Russian collusion at least a dozen times. He displays no knowledge of anything. It’s like talking to a third-grader.

I don’t know what’s going on with the guy, but even by Donald Trump standards he’s not all there. This is not someone who should be occupying the Oval Office.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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