In a column for the conservative Bulwark, longtime political observer William Saletan suggested that a grim reality is emerging from the Jan. 6 hearings on Donald Trump's culpability in the Capitol insurrection.
According to the columnist, Trump may not be a liar when it comes to insisting the 2020 presidential election was stolen and, instead, he is legitimately delusional which should be raising red flags for liberals and conservatives alike.
With former Attorney General Bill Barr glibly suggesting in recorded testimony that the former president had "become detached from reality” as he sought to overturn the election results, the Bulwark columnist claimed that Trump's descent into election conspiracies might not be a one-off.
To make his case, he wrote, "Trump wasn’t lying in the way that other presidents have done. He was simply impervious. He refused to accept unwelcome facts. And that degree of imperviousness, in a president, is much more dangerous than dishonesty."
Noting the overwhelming number of Trump aides and confidants who are testifying that they insisted that there was no election fraud -- only for the former president to move on to a new conspiracy theory -- Saletan made the claim that Trump may have actually "lost contact" as Barr also implied.
"If Trump truly believed, despite all evidence, that the election was stolen, that might buy him some relief from criminal charges that require corrupt intent. But in terms of his fitness for office, the theory that he was deluded—not lying—is more alarming, not less," he wrote.
Summing up Barr's testimony as "Detached from reality. Lost contact. No interest in facts," Saletan looked into the near future where Trump could run for president again in 2024 and issued a warning.
"We can’t have a president who thinks—or doesn’t think—this way. We can’t put the world’s most powerful armed forces and nuclear arsenal back in the hands of a man who believes, no matter what, that he has the mandate of the people—and is willing to use violence to stay in power," he wrote. "In the Oval Office, a madman is far more dangerous than a liar."
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