The weekend of deranged tweeting prompted MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Lemire to wonder what might be coming down from the special counsel. But others on the Monday panel wondered about the mental state of President Donald Trump.
Princeton University Professor Eddie Glaude said that the Twitter bender might be that the president is circling the wagons around him
“It has something to do with this sense — that a particular understanding of the country that is represented in him is being attacked,” Glaude said. “And Fox News needs to get in line. And so, part of what New Zealand represented and represents, is in some interesting sort of way, in my view, a wholesale attack on what Donald Trump has enabled and his legions have enabled. I’m not trying to blame what happened in New Zealand on President Trump but he’s helped create an environment for this sort of carnage to happen. So to hear Fox News back up a little bit in its perceived punishment of Judge Jeanine [Pirro] is in some ways throwing him into the fire as it were.”
Substitute host John Heilemann noted that Americans have seen Trump lose it when he knows something big is coming from the special counsel, but we’ve also seen Trump “lose his mind” and be “panicked.”
“So the president had a bad week,” said former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. “This is the first time that he’s really faced significant pushback. It was the first time he’s had the veto of a bill after the Senate voted against his national emergency. Then he faced these additional problems where, as you put it, his harbor Fox News wasn’t quite as safe this weekend.”
She noted that Trump was forced to deal with allegations that he helped motivate a white supremacist to kill over 50 people in New Zealand.
“It would have been easy for Trump to stand up and say, ‘I completely disallow terror, and if my words have been misconstrued, let me be clear, I don’t support it,'” Vance continued. “But he didn’t do that either. He spent the whole weekend in siege mode. It’s hard to know is this just his reaction to a very bad week where for the first time in his presidency he’s under attack from a number of different positions or does he really expect to see a shoe drop in this upcoming week.”
Heilemann noted that Trump could know something about the special counsel’s investigation, or “he knows what he’s done and he thinks Mueller is going to get to the bottom of what he’s done.” Either way, Trump’s freakout moments could be out of fear.
Lemire agreed, calling it an “an existential moment when [the report] comes out.”
But another problem could be that Trump is now no longer the top news story, Lemire explained. He’s being forced to compete with another Democratic challenger announcing they are running each week. To make matters worse, Trump’s polling against many of these challengers isn’t as good as 2016.
Glaude disagreed, saying that it’s easy to say Trump has a mental health issue, but the president’s strategy since his first day in office was to “drop smoke bomb after smoke bomb aimed at distracting us.” He’s also been working tirelessly to delegitimizing the investigations and any election he might lose.
“All of the things you listed plus what’s going on in the southern district I think is on his mind and he’s in a full-blown panic,” Glaude said.
Republican political consultant Mike Murphy said that there’s no limit to how low Trump will drop, particularly when it comes to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
“He’s such a narcissist he doesn’t understand anything about anybody but himself,” Murphy said. “He has this reflexive need, he’s so insecure, to go scream and howl on Twitter… But, yes, I think there are people and there are overwhelming majority of the people in the Senate and in the Republican leadership class across the country who know exactly who Donald Trump is and know exactly what John McCain was. And they know there is an enormous difference between somebody who put the country first, was a patriot and hero — wholesaleand man and somebody who acts like a cowardly boy.”
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