From the Left



Trump's mental gymnastics are incomprehensible

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Only a man who is, like, really smart could perform mental gymnastics at the level President Trump has attained over the past few days.

On Saturday, Trump declared that The New York Times committed a "virtual act of Treason" by reporting on a U.S. cyber campaign against Russia.

Mere seconds later, he proclaimed that the supposedly treasonous report was "ALSO, NOT TRUE!"

Thus, in Trump's telling, did the journalists commit the capital offense of … divulging false state secrets?

During his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, Trump denied that internal Trump campaign polling showed him trailing: "Those polls don't exist."

Trump then fired his campaign pollsters for leaking … the supposedly nonexistent polls. (This was similar to Trump calling Bob Woodward a writer of "fiction" while simultaneously venting at his aides for "leaking" this supposed fiction to Woodward.)


During the ABC interview, Trump also said that if he received dirt on his opponent from a foreign country, he would accept it without calling the FBI -- and that his FBI director was "wrong" to say the FBI should know of such offers. Soon thereafter, Trump told "Fox & Friends" a contrary view: "Of course" he would tell the FBI.

This followed by a few days Trump's claim that "I had nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected." Minutes later, he delivered a second opinion: "Russia did not help me get elected."

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Trump's ability to function is a matter of much dispute, but if the ability to hold opposing thoughts in mind is a measure of intelligence, Trump is a very stable genius indeed. Nobody contradicts himself as forcefully, fluently and frequently.

Last December, Trump declared that "we have defeated ISIS." The very next day he said that Russia, Iran and others "will have to fight ISIS" without us.


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