In a column for the conservative Bulwark, Richard North Patterson compared Donald Trump to the Captain Philip Francis Queeg in The Caine Mutiny novel, saying Americans are watching the slow-motion crack-up of the president who has now become a legitimate danger to the country — and that he needs to be removed from office as soon as possible.
Noting the president’s actions over the past week and wondering how much of it is due to the heavy medications that the president is reportedly on due to his COVID-19 infection, Patterson said Trump has been making comments that could only come from a “lunatic.”
Writing, “Over the last 24 hours, Trump’s statements provide an uncanny parallel to the behaviors which moved Queeg’s officers to consider turning him in. The difference is that, for a president, there are no higher authorities. There is only the Twenty-fifth Amendment,” he added, “The situation in Washington grows dire. For Trump’s most recent ravings make Queeg look like a model of sanity and restraint.”
Citing Trump’s attacks on Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, his demand that his political enemies be “locked up,” his paranoid claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning a “coup” against him and his continuing obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails — just in the past 24 hours — Patterson said it is obvious the president has “gone around the bend.”
“Obviously, Trump has long since become an unacceptable danger to the country he is sworn to protect—not only to our spirit, but to our safety, security, and the conduct of our democracy. Until now, only in feverish political potboilers do lunatic presidents propose to jail the opposing candidate. No man this unmoored should be permitted to hold—and abuse—such power,” he wrote. “That this man has already threatened the peaceful transition of power—and clearly means it—is reason enough to remove him from office.”
Of greatest concern, the columnist warned, is the fact that the president still has the entire U.S. military at his command.
“This need not involve that terrifying conceit of apocalyptic political fiction: the unhinged president reaching for the nuclear button. But whatever dangers Trump may pose, one cannot dismiss the deranged verbiage he used yesterday with Rush Limbaugh to threaten Iran,” Patterson wrote before making the case for Trump’s removal.
“When a president becomes mentally impaired, the Twenty-fifth Amendment empowers the vice president and majority of the cabinet to notify Congress that the president is unable to discharge his duties—requiring the vice president to immediately become acting president. But, unlike the officers of the Caine, Mike Pence and his fellow minions do not face imminent death, and their fear of Trump’s restive base far outstrips their concern for our country. In their catatonic cowardice, they cannot speak the truth they know,” he wrote before adding, “Americans have but one recourse: to defeat Trump in November—by the decisive margin he so deeply fears. Only then can we be assured that, despite his sickness, he cannot defy the results.”
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