Andrew Sullivan: Trump might be 'mentally unstable'

The man who spent years obsessing over the birth of Trig Palin has now weighed in on the sanity of Donald Trump. In a piece for New York magazine published Friday, Sullivan writes the core of Trump’s administration is “madness.” He couches his criticism in an analogy about an unwell neighbor but there’s no doubt he’s saying these things apply to Trump:

Then there is the obvious question of the president’s mental and psychological health. I know we’re not supposed to bring this up — but it is staring us brutally in the face. I keep asking myself this simple question: If you came across someone in your everyday life who repeatedly said fantastically and demonstrably untrue things, what would you think of him? If you showed up at a neighbor’s, say, and your host showed you his newly painted living room, which was a deep blue, and then insisted repeatedly — manically — that it was a lovely shade of scarlet, what would your reaction be? If he then dragged out a member of his family and insisted she repeat this obvious untruth in front of you, how would you respond? If the next time you dropped by, he was still raving about his gorgeous new red walls, what would you think? Here’s what I’d think: This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional. If he kept this up, at some point you’d excuse yourself and edge slowly out of the room and the house and never return. You’d warn your other neighbors. You’d keep your distance. If you saw him, you’d be polite but keep your distance.

A bit later he switches to another analogy involving living under an autocratic government:

He begins to permeate your psyche and soul; he dominates every news cycle and issues pronouncements — each one shocking and destabilizing — round the clock. He delights in constantly provoking and surprising you, so that his monstrous ego can be perennially fed. And because he is also mentally unstable, forever lashing out in manic spasms of pain and anger, you live each day with some measure of trepidation.

Sullivan offers this as an explanation not simply for Trump’s behavior, i.e. getting the murder stats wrong, but for how so many progressives feel about Trump. In Sullivan’s view it’s not the progressives marching in the streets chanting ‘not my president’ who have a problem dealing with reality, it’s the president:

I think this is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months. It is not so much this president’s agenda. That always changes from administration to administration. It is that when the linchpin of an entire country is literally delusional, clinically deceptive, and responds to any attempt to correct the record with rage and vengeance, everyone is always on edge.

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.

The claim that the President of the United States is literally crazy wasn’t met with much skepticism at CNN where Sullivan was invited to appear on Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter today (video below). As noted above, Sullivan was the leading figure in a conspiracy theory about Sarah Palin. That view, known as Trig trutherism, maintained that Palin was such a despicable character that she even lied about giving birth to her own child. Sullivan always claimed he was just asking reasonable questions about the birth, but the real world result was to turn a woman’s special needs child into a political weapon against her.

Now Sullivan is doing much the same with Trump. Granted he hasn’t dragged Trump’s children into it (so far), but the attempt to fundamentally dehumanize a politician by claiming they are acting beyond the edge of normal behavior is similar. This is an attempt to kick off a new strain of Trump trutherism and CNN is complicit in giving this garbage air time.