Trump has NO IDEA what he is talking about. Every time he opens his mouth . . .

 

It is a problem for President Donald Trump that it’s often impossible to tell what the hell he’s talking about. This is not one of those signature Trump defects that can readily be spun into a secret strength or as a subtle bit of advanced deal-craft that only experts and initiates can appreciate.
His mind is a television set that changes channels every three seconds and where every channel has an infomercial on it; it cycles day and night without ever quite cohering into a signal.
There is plenty of noise, though, and because Trump so utterly lacks discernment he is constantly interrupting himself with some new bit or blurt. As a result, his average sentence is a parade of wild upstage moves in which whatever thought he’s had most recently is forever blundering into and past the one he had just begun to express—imagine one of those halftime shows at a NBA game in which people throw down wild dunks after leaping off trampolines except there’s a new guy jumping on the trampoline every second and there are frequent midair collisions. Trump also only knows about a hundred words, about a third of which refer to volume or size.

Trump cannot ever keep his story straight because he never fully knew what it was in the first place. He knows it is about him, and the things that keep happening to him, but beyond that he never knows, and will never know; he is conspiring and scheming constantly, but so ineffectually and in such a state of flummoxed confusion and utterly abject ignorance that the endgame is never anything but unclear.

Trump is always trying to get over, to win and keep winning, but also he doesn’t know what the rules are, or what the game even is, and also someone—it’s not important who, it would be unfair to point fingers—has eaten the racecar, the thimble, all of the little plastic hotels, and a third of the cards in Community Chest. It can be difficult to prove that any of Trump’s many howlingly overt acts of malfeasance are intentional because everything he does  is an accident.

When the White House released a redacted summary of a phone call that Trump had with Ukraine’s newly elected prime minister—this, oddly, was part of a confusing attempt to short-circuit a scandal that began with the White House’s attempt to bury a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s attempt to cultivate foreign parties’ help in his 2020 campaign—the world got to see the master in action. The dialogue made clear what Trump was trying to do, which was leverage the possibility of aid money to get Ukraine to investigate a company that had put Joe Biden’s son Hunter on its board, thereby creating the sort of opaque and open-ended scandal that Trump used to great effect against Hillary Clinton in 2016. It was the transparency of this maneuver—which, in classic Trumpian fashion, amounted to making a common bit of implicit political scummery extremely explicit, and then using it to the pettiest of personal ends—as much as the substance of it that seems finally to have inspired Democrats to come around on a shamefully belated impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s ignorance isn’t a defense, but it is again a decent explanation. Because he is constitutionally incapable of being less ignorant—because his mind is gone and because he won’t read or listen and can’t effectively digest even the smoothest gruel that his television gives him—he winds up thinking things that literally no one else thinks. And because Trump is constitutionally incapable of changing his mind, on any topic, he gets stuck on stuff like this and then repeats it and repeats it and repeats it; the job of the cable channel he likes is to tell him he’s right, so quite literally hears this stuff more and more. He doesn’t express himself well enough to convince anyone else of whatever it is that he believes—it’s seldom clear what he’s even trying to argue beyond that everyone is being mean to him for no reason and actually someone else did what he did—but he’s already convinced himself of it, which means that he will never be unconvinced.