In what was perhaps the most bizarre display of presidential behavior ever, Donald Trump recently came on stage for his manic two-hour speech to the gathering of conservatives (CPAC) in Maryland and grabbed the American flagpole, pulling it next to his body — sort of like the way Trump told Billy Bush he liked to meet attractive women who, like the flag, didn't complain about being manhandled by a celebrity: "They just let you do it."
Then it was time for the most baffling and bizarre speech in presidential history. You may recall that Trump told America in 2016 that he only used "the best words." But in Maryland, the "best words" included several public utterances of profanity, with "BS" sprinkled liberally into his address, only he used the full word. No "better angels of our nature" or Gettysburg references here. Instead it was: Poor, poor pitiful me. I'm a stable genius, a handsome and smart man, a lonely soul in the White House, and I am being investigated under the guise of presidential harassment.
It was a two-hour sewer of hatred for the Constitution, the rule of law and the concept of separation of powers.
Trump is in the process of taking a verbal bonesaw to our founding documents and the cornerstones of our democracy (rule of law and the notion that no one is above the law. Sort of the same way a Saudi crown prince may dispatch a Washington Post reporter in Istanbul).
It's an ugly and slow-motion dismemberment of everything once considered to be a normal and sacred part of American greatness.
After all, who needs a constitution when we can rely on one man alone to protect our rights? Who needs a "rule of law" when one man can be counted on to call all the balls and strikes in the legal arena? Our rights will be determined based on the whim and will of Donald Trump's daily Twitter feed.
But his despotic talents don't end there. Trump told us long ago that he knows more about ISIS than our generals. If true, we can dramatically downsize our military and save lots of money. He has told Uncle Vlad that he believes the Russian president's denials over information provided to him by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Then Trump told America that he was told by Mr. Putin that North Korea does not have nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, which contradicts American intelligence assessments. If we are now getting our intelligence information from a former KGB leader in Russia, we can go ahead and dismantle our own intelligence structures. More money saved.
For years, the former Republican Party stood for a leaner and more efficient federal government. Without realizing it, Donald Trump may have already given it to us with his one-man model of federal efficiency: leaner, meaner and a whole lot cheaper. Just a byproduct of making America Great Again under despotic rule.
As Michael Cohen told us, blind allegiance to Donald J. Trump is leading him to prison, and there may be a lesson for the spineless Republican members of Congress there if they continue to follow Trump toward political oblivion.
Of course, no one knows for sure how this will all play out. Can a president who is demonstrably unfit, creepy and crazy be removed from office for being spectacularly unqualified for the trust and duties Americans put in his hands? Or do we need to prove criminal conduct to bring this national emergency to an end?
As Donald Trump likes to say, "We will see." And, "sad."
Rick Berg is a former chairman of the Dane County Republican Party and former speechwriter for Govs. Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum.
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