In a White House marked by a string of high-level comings and goings, an extraordinary level of palace intrigue and a general sense of unpredictability, there remains but one constant. That is the disorder at the center, perpetrated by a president who continues to break the norms of his office. It’s the reason 2018 could eclipse 2017 for political turbulence.
The first week of the year was breathtaking for its shock value: a presidential tweetstorm of personal animus and policy provocation that overshadowed positive news about the economy. That has become the running story of the #Trump presidency: a chief executive whose personal behavior has become the administration’s defining feature rather than the gains of a growing economy or the significant course reversal from the Obama years.
The tweets took another stunning turn on Saturday morning, when the president defended himself against charges that he lacks the fitness for office. He accused “Democrats and their lapdogs” and the “Fake News Mainstream Media” of going after him the way he said they went after President Ronald Reagan, by “screaming mental stability and intelligence.”
Trump said that “mental stability and being, like, really smart” have long been his two greatest assets. Winning the presidency on his first try, he insisted, should be seen as “genius…and a very stable genius at that!”
The tweets were in response to renewed discussion about the president’s mental fitness prompted by the portrait of Trump in #Michael Wolff’s scathing new book, “Fire and Fury.”