This has been a glorious week for Trump watchers.
First came a letter from The Donald’s personal physician of thirty-nine years, Dr. Harold Bornstein, who seems to have the same penchant as his gilded patient for superlatives.
“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” may be the good doctor’s best line, evoking, as it does, the image of an exhausted but determined Harold Bornstein studiously poring over one-hundred and sixty year old medical records to see if Franklin Pierce was ever proscribed a vinegar tincture. Since surely men of science don’t just throw around words like “unequivocally” we can all rest easy in the knowledge that the GOP front runner is a finer physical specimen, troubled only by a brief bout of bone spurs that spared the Viet Cong from a huuuuuuugggge thumping, than not just soldiers like Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower but also collegiate athletes like Gerald Ford.
From Russell Saunders and Betsy Woodruff over at The Daily Beast:
“It’s very odd for a doctor to say, ‘He’s had a complete medical examination that showed only positive results,’” said Jonathan Moreno, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Normally a positive result in the language of medicine is not a good thing. Nonetheless, I will not accuse Dr. Bornstein of not writing his own letter.”
Why ever would anyone accuse him of that?
Second was this gem said by Mr. Trump earlier in the month and touched on during CNN’s Tuesday night debate:
“You have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
Like all Trump statements this particular policy proclamation will be walked back and floated and walked back and floated until a less absurd version is presented as what he meant all along. It’ll end up some boring pablum about how we need to investigate those close to any attacker (as if we don’t now), completely devoid of the drama of the original. But in the meantime, we have only his unspinned statement.
I find it hard to believe that this plan will be embraced by many in the military. I don’t see Rangers putting “Fuck with America and we’ll kill your grandma!” patches on the sleeves of their jackets, but I have never been a part of the military and so likely don’t have a firm grasp of the warrior culture like Candidate Trump (bone spurs not-withstanding.)
I can imagine his first address to West Point graduates. “You may not be the one to pull the trigger, but every one does their part. The department of Terrorist Cousin Identification may not be as glamorous as Delta Force, but believe me, the handle is every bit as much a part of the spear as the tip.”
Though he continues to rise, or at least hold ground, this campaign is revealing itself more and more as performance art. I only recently came across this quote from early November: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”
For a politician, that’s a stupid and easily debunked statement that screams “narcissistic jackass,” but for an artists it’s a brilliant callback to candidate Obama’s November 2008 classic:
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
Well played Mr. Trump. Well played.