Is Donald Trump feeling overstimulated? First he scorned stimulus talks with the Democrats, tweeting on Tuesday afternoon that he was summarily ending them. Then, a few hours later, he started backpedaling after the stock market plummeted, demanding that Congress send him legislation to stimulate the economy. Next, in the wee hours, he issued a belligerent tweet about declassifying all the intelligence documents related to the Russia investigation, as though he could win the election by running once more against Hillary Clinton rather than Joe Biden. Democrats have largely moved on from the Russia investigation, but Trump seems addicted to it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi implied that Trump’s mental condition, never all that stable, has become even more turbulent now that he’s on his meds, asking if they were ‘impacting his thinking’ when it came to the stimulus and other matters.
What’s really likely to be having an impact on Trump, however, are his cratering poll numbers. The latest CNN poll has Trump trailing former Joe Biden by a whopping 16 points. In Pennsylvania Biden is pulling away from Trump. The campaign is canceling its ads in Iowa and Ohio.
But perhaps even more suggestive than the polls, which Trump’s votaries like to claim are inherently fallible, is the behavior of Sen. Martha McSally, who repeatedly refused to state in a debate on Tuesday whether she was proud to support Trump. Instead, she took refuge in a flock of evasions. She declared, ‘I’m proud that I’m fighting for Arizonans on things like cutting your taxes.’ And: ‘I’m proud to be fighting for Arizona every single day.’ Tsk, tsk. This won’t go down well with the base. Martha, my dear, hold your head up, you silly girl. Look what you’ve done.
McSally isn’t the only Republican senator beginning to look at Trump with more than a little queasiness. Once again, Susan Collins is concerned — concerned about her own future. She refuses to say whether or not she will vote for Trump and is complaining that her opponent, Sara Gideon, ‘will say or do anything to try to win.’ If so, it appears to be working. Collins trails her by about 6 points in poll averages. Maybe the most intriguing race, however, is Lindsey Graham’s against Jaime Harrison, which the Cook Report has just rated a toss-up. Harrison, a 44-year-old African American former state party chairman, has not only raised tens of millions, but also shown that he can deliver the rhetorical goods, admonishing Graham during a recent debate that he should ‘be a man’.
It’s a virile sentiment that Trump keeps trying to embrace by showing himself working from the White House. His main obsession appears to be reviving the Russia scandal. He tweeted, ‘I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!’ For good measure, he went on to call for the arrest of intelligence officials who were involved with the Russia probe.
What’s more, even as his coronavirus-stricken advisers fall by the wayside like flies, Trump is claiming that he’ll return soon to the Oval Office. Maybe he already has. His economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday that Trump had already resumed working from the Oval Office — ‘The President actually showed up in the Oval Office yesterday with extra precautions with respect to his COVID-19,’ Kudlow said. ‘And he’s getting a lot better, he’s much strong. So there was some limited activity.’ He refused to say whether the Donald donned a mask or not. Soon he was contradicted by the White House which said that Trump has not yet returned to the Oval Office. Who’s telling the truth? As usual, the Trump administration is emitting a mephitic fog of contradictory statements that render it impossible to discern what is actually taking place in the White House.