Thought Experiment
August 23, 2019

Lest you think The Atlantic's James Fallows believes President Trump is fit for office, he reminded readers Thursday that during the 2016 campaign he cataloged "in real time, what was known about Donald Trump’s fitness for office," ultimately concluding "even then there was no doubt of Trump’s mental, emotional, civic, and ethical unfitness for national leadership."

In 2016, Fallows notes, he refrained from "medicalizing" Trump's fitness for office, for reasons he explains. But now we're seeing "episodes of what would be called outright lunacy, if they occurred in any other setting." He tried to imagine how some of Trump's recent antics would be treated in any other profession:

  • If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being "the Chosen One" or "the King of Israel" (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
  • If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
  • If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. ...
  • If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in "Chosen One" terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine.
    [James Fallows, The Atlantic]

"If Donald Trump were in virtually any other position of responsibility, action would already be under way to remove him from that role," Fallows argues, with two exceptions: "One is a purely family-run business, like the firm in which Trump spent his entire previous career. And the other is the U.S. presidency, where he will remain, despite more and more-manifest Queeg-like unfitness, as long as the GOP Senate stands with him." Read the entire post at The Atlantic. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads