Sunday December 15, 2019
The Winner of The Year in Stupidity, Of Course
“In honorary first place comes, naturally, Donald J. Trump. The President has provided enough stellar material to populate several lists on his own.
”Last week, during a roundtable with small-business owners, Trump meandered off topic and claimed that the E.P.A. was hard at work on solving the dire problem presented by low-flow toilets, which need to be flushed ‘ten times, fifteen times, as opposed to once.’ (Consumer Reports told CBS News that the least efficient models take four or five flushes max.) In September, he falsely maintained that Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian; during a presentation at the White House, he doubled down by displaying an official National Hurricane Center map in which the state had been clumsily circled for inclusion in the storm's potential zone, apparently with a Sharpie. In October, after he pulled U.S. troops out of Syria, he wrote a thuggish and ineffective letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of Turkey, in which he tried to convince him not to launch a military strike against Kurdish-led forces, and added, ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!' (Erdoğan reportedly threw the letter in the trash before proceeding to invade Syria and attack the Kurds.)
“What united all of these instances was Trump's bullheaded refusal to engage with anyone's reality but his own. This tendency was on full display in what might be the President's stupidest moment this year. In September, in a chyron, CNN apparently cited a tweet from Trump in which he referred to Representative Adam Schiff as ‘Liddle’ ‘—a form that the network transposed, sans apostrophe, as ’Liddle.' Turning once again to Twitter, the President claimed that CNN, as a representative of the ‘LameStream Media,’ ‘purposely took the hyphen out’ of the word he used in ‘discirbing’ Schiff. It is, he lamented, 'A small but never ending situation with CNN!' What makes this tweet the winner for me is its glorious display of the dense layers of mistakes and misapprehensions that the President labors under. ‘Describing’ is ‘discirbing,’ an apostrophe is a hyphen, and ‘li’l' is ‘liddle’,' but never ‘liddle.’ (What doesn't change, however, is Trump's paranoid sense of persecution.) To read this tweet is to become privy—hilariously, frighteningly—to the thinking process of a man whose head seems packed with cement. It's a place that even the thinnest rays of wisdom and discernment no longer reach, if they ever did.”
Naomi Fry, “The Year in Stupidity,” The New Yorker. Amazingly, with all of the above, it doesn't even get to the reason Trump is being impeached (asking/blackmailing a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival), nor to his frequent declarations that he could bypass the 22nd Amendment and remain president for life—an idiotic assertion which several Republicans are now doubling down on. To piss off the left? Maybe. It might even be vaguely funny if Trump didn't love dictators, didn't dream of being a dictator, and hasn't spent most of presidency undercutting the Rule of Law.