What can you say about a president who callously boasts about his ability to kill millions more innocent people than his adversary — apart from saying thank goodness such an action would never be Trump’s prerogative alone to take, anyway?
Yesterday, via Twitter, President Trump challenged “North Korea to a nuclear warhead dick-measuring contest.”
Trump tweeted: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
John Avlon, for the Daily Beast, writes:
We can’t allow this to be normalized. This is not presidential. This is a portrait of a mind unencumbered by responsibility. It is childish. It is impulsive. It is idiotic. It is dangerous.
This is language that would have been rejected from the script of Dr. Strangelove, yet there are hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of lives at stake beneath the bluster.
Trump’s statements not only undercut his presidency, they undercut the presidency itself and American leadership around the world. It diminishes the office once held by Washington and Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and adds ballast to China’s simultaneously sinister and ludicrous argument that it is the new standard-bearer of global leadership and liberal values like free trade.
But Trump has the world caught in a contradiction between the character of our country and the character who is president. Trump is transparently unstable and yet massively powerful. His tweets must be taken seriously as statements of presidential policy, but they are fundamentally not serious. The man does not drink, but his tweets are not the product of a sober mind.
Avlon concludes: “The core problem with the Trump presidency is Trump himself. We just haven’t yet had to confront that fact with a death toll attached.”