Trump believing ‘insane’ conspiracy theories ‘raises serious questions about his mental capacity’: WaPo columnist
US President Donald Trump has made clear he does not want White House officials cooperating with the impeachment investigation underway in the US Congress (AFP Photo/Olivier Douliery)

President Donald Trump's fitness to hold office was called into question in a new Washington Post column published on Monday.


"Outrages committed by President Trump generally come in an undifferentiated mass of scandals, travesties, betrayals, absurdities and abuses of the public trust," columnist Michael Gerson wrote. "Consider recent days. The president tweeted a video of a supporter shouting “white power,” seemingly to distract from his inaction on Russian-paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, which had drawn attention away from his tragically botched pandemic response. This is an enormity, wrapped in a treachery, inside a debacle."

"His increasingly strident racism is complicating America’s reckoning with current injustices and grave historical crimes. His politically motivated sabotage of essential public health measures has likely cost thousands of lives. But there is something uniquely debased about a commander in chief who receives the salutes of soldiers while his administration does nothing about credible information on a plot to kill them," he explained.

"It is possible that Trump disbelieved his briefers, on the theory that the 'deep state' was once again trying to undermine his brilliant strategy of preemptive concessions to the Russians on every front. But this explanation requires admitting that the president actually believes in insane conspiracy theories about his own government. And it raises serious questions about his mental capacity," Gerson wrote. "It is more likely that Trump received this information and dismissed it as part of the rough and tumble of great power rivalry."

He suggested Trump has a "diminished moral capacity."

"The president rages in public against allies such as South Korea and Germany for their insufficient contributions to our common defense. He is silent, it now seems, when Russia pays for the murder of Americans defending the peace. Trump has a long history of making excuses for despots. And this ethical failure makes him incapable of the most elementary skill of statecraft: distinguishing enemies from friends," he wrote. "Trump’s apparent failure of nerve in confronting Russian aggression reveals a man unworthy of being commander in chief."

He urged members of the administration to resign if the reports prove true.

"I have been generally sympathetic to people who took defense and foreign policy jobs in the Trump White House. It is usually better to have responsible people in the room where the president makes strategic choices. But if the worst proves true — that the commander in chief knew of the Russian bounties in Afghanistan and refused to confront them — then resignation would be an act of honor. It might even be a requirement of conscience," Gerson concluded.

Read the full column.