He Has No Idea What He’s Talking About

David Roth, writing for The Concourse in Deadspin, believes it’s a problem that the president can’t talk or think.

It is a problem for President Donald Trump that it’s often impossible to tell what the hell he’s talking about. This is not one of those signature Trump defects that can readily be spun into a secret strength or as a subtle bit of advanced dealcraft that only experts and initiates can appreciate. His mind is a television that changes channels every three seconds and where every channel has an infomercial on it; it cycles day and night without ever quite cohering into a signal. There is plenty of noise, though, and because Trump so utterly lacks discernment he is constantly interrupting himself with some new bit or blurt. As a result, his average sentence is a parade of wild upstage moves in which whatever thought he’s had most recently is forever blundering into past the one he had just begun to express—imagine one of those halftime shows at a NBA game in which people throw down wild dunks after leaping off trampolines except there’s a new guy jumping on the trampoline every second and there are frequent midair collisions. Trump also only knows about a hundred words, about a third of which refer to volume or size.

Trump cannot ever keep his story straight because he never fully knew what it was in the first place. He knows it is about him, and the things that keep happening to him, but beyond that he never knows, and will never know; he is conspiring and scheming constantly, but so ineffectually and in such a state of flummoxed confusion and utterly abject ignorance that the endgame is never anything but unclear. Trump is always trying to get over, to win and keep winning, but also he doesn’t know what the rules are, or what the game even is, and also someone—it’s not important who, it would be unfair to point fingers—has eaten the racecar, the thimble, all of the little plastic hotels, and a third of the cards in Community Chest. It can be difficult to prove that any of Trump’s many howlingly overt acts of malfeasance are intentional because everything he does—from the first grasping moments to his last seething ones, all through his endless expanses of executive time—feels like and fundamentally is an accident.

Yes. Trump is an accident. I like to think of it as car crash everyone slows down to gawk at. He’s a spectacle of incompetence. He’s a horse in a hospital.

Roth then goes on to explain how Trump forms his worldview. Spoiler: it’s by watching television. He then explains perfectly what Fox News does.

The more worrying part of all this is that there is fundamentally nothing to know about most of what he talks about. Every rank thought-chunk that clears his blowhole is either some legacy beef or bigotry or something Trump learns from his television shows, which feed him attenuated suspicions, a list of ominous what-abouts that hint at some sort of outcome but stop well short of it, and a bunch of leading questions that, by design, cannot be answered. All of this is supposed to shore up a worldview and generate specific political outcomes, but mostly it aims to create a mood—a coiled and claustrophobic sense of being under siege, by someone—more than it does to answer any of the questions it hints at. It doesn’t really add up to anything, but also it can’t; the game is to accumulate.

When Trump is stressed, the deficits inherent in all this are especially plain. What would Trump do, if handed this purloined DNC server? What would he even hope to find in it? Even the element of the story that involves Joe Biden and his son, which involves real and knowable facts, has been so degraded by its immersion in the garbage-whirlpool of conservative media and so muddled by Trump’s limp n’ lazy brain that the man who first reported it can barely recognize it. Nothing adds up to anything and all the fragments, which look like they should connect, don’t. Trump transparently doesn’t know where it ends. He’s the story’s hero, but mostly he’s just a customer.

Exactly. Trump consumes the conservative media, blurts it out constantly, and then can’t fathom why his voice vomit doesn’t completely exonerate him from wrong doing when he obviously did the wrong doing.

September 27, 2019

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