Andrew Feinberg, The Independent
Donald Trump is going through the motions of being President of the United States. He still lives resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he is still the head of the executive branch, and he’s still the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military force.
He can still give orders and be reasonably sure that they will be followed, like the order he gave to a small group of US soldiers 12 days ago, requiring them to abandon the Syrian Kurdish allies with whom they’d shed blood on the way to defeating Daesh. Those soldiers, loyal American servicemen, will follow those orders, even though doing so made them — in the words of one soldier — “ashamed for the first time in my career.”
But ordering US servicemen to and fro seems to be the limit of Trump’s power at the moment. Because the rest of the world has figured Donald Trump out.
Such was the degree of anger at Trump’s sudden abandonment of America’s Kurdish allies — seemingly for no other reason than to please Turkey’s leader — that on Wednesday, all but 60 House Republicans joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s caucus to approve a resolution condemning the move, 354-60. In the Senate, a bipartisan group of senators is readying legislation to impose crippling sanctions on the Turkish regime, with a veto-proof majority expected to join their House colleagues in expressing their disapproval of the Trump administration’s enabling of Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing.
But Trump seems to think he’s doing great and that everything is fine.
After the House dealt his Turkey policy a humiliating rebuke, Pelosi and the rest of the House and Senate leadership gathered at the White House for a briefing on the disastrous situation Trump had created. The president was so eager to boast of the “tough” stance he’d taken that he distributed a letter he’d sent to Erdogan — a letter which was so bizarre and childish in its wording that when it inevitably leaked to the media, journalists had to double-check to make sure it wasn’t fake. According to Pelosi, he “was not relating to the reality” that a supermajority of House members disagreed with him, to the point where she walked out of the meeting, joined by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Schumer explained how he’d reminded Trump of the dangerous conditions that could be created with the release of Daesh fighters who’d been held by Kurdish forces, and noted that even retired Marine General James Mattis — Trump’s former Secretary of Defence — had said that pulling out of Syria would enhance the terrorist group. According to a source who was in the meeting, Trump’s response was to call Mattis “the world’s most overrated general” and declare that he had personally “captured Isis in a month.”
Another source, who spoke to CNN’s Jamie Gangel, said that Trump’s demeanour left even Republicans “completely shaken,” “shell-shocked” and “sickened.”
“He is not in control of himself, it is all yelling and screaming,” the source said, adding that Trump was “100 per cent worse” and that even Republicans are now worried about his stability.
As if to prove the anonymous source’s point, Trump has spent the past two days claiming that he has brought peace to the region, rather than hand an unearned victory to Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al-Assad.
“Without spilling a drop of American blood… we’ve all agreed on a pause or ceasefire in the border region of Syria,” the president said while speaking at a rally on Thursday, failing to mention that militias backed by Turkey have continued to fire on Kurdish forces during the five-day “pause”.
While congressional Republicans may be surprised to discover that Trump’s present grip on reality seems tenuous at best, it’s no surprise to Dr Bandy Lee, an assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine and the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which contains essays from 27 mental health professionals on the “clear and present danger” posed by The Donald’s mental health (or lack thereof).
A five-day pause in Turkey's cross-border military offensive to allow the withdrawal of Kurdish YPG fighters from the border area expires at 10 pm (1900 GMT) on Tuesday.
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