Trump's outlandish behavior leaves two possibilities: either he's truly unhinged or he's looking for a way out
In the last two weeks, Donald Trump has slandered the family of a dead soldier, committed treason by inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email account, admitted he lied about receiving a letter from the NFL, saw an Air Force mother get booed at one of his rallies, claimed Russia wouldn’t invade Ukraine even though they already have, refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan’s candidacy, falsely accused a fire marshal of limiting his crowd for political reasons, tossed a baby out of a rally, and called Hillary Clinton “the devil.”
That’s as bad as it gets. CNN reports that even Trump’s campaign staff feels “like they are wasting their time” at this point. John Harwood similarly claims a close ally of Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort told him the veteran operative can’t control his candidate and is now “mailing it in.”Joe Scarborough, the conservative commentator, earnestly questioned Trump’s “mental wellbeing” on the his show Wednesday morning. “There is nothing rational about this behavior at all,” Scarborough said. “It’s as if he’s trying to blow himself up.”
Four months ago, several observers floated the idea that Donald Trump was a self-saboteur. “To all outward appearances,” John Fund wrote in The National Review, “Trump seems to be engaged in a form of self-sabotaging behavior in which people both move toward a goal and then from deep within do things to defeat themselves.” This was a fair question at the time. Trump showed no interest in the mechanics of campaigning. He showed even less interest in policy. And he continually undermined his campaign with needlessly offensive gaffes.
A few days before Fund’s piece was published, Stephanie Cegielski, former communications director of the pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great again, ran an open letter to Trump supporters. In it Cegielski argued that Trump was, in fact, a self-saboteur. “I don’t think even Trump thought he would go this far,” she wrote, “and I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all…What was once his desire to rank second place to send a message to America and increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country.”