WASHINGTON — Paul Ryan, the spineless, now lame-duck, speaker of the House, says he wants to spend more time with his wife and three children in Wisconsin. Ryan is worried about them, the Republican indicated. OK. My late wife and I raised three children who produced 10 grandchildren in all. I am worried about their physical welfare.
You should worry about your kids, too, because of the behavior of President Trump. Last week, he proved beyond any question that he is not only "unfit" to be president – a sly term used by unprincipled Democrats around here – but a real and present danger to the world. A fancy term is existential danger. Trump is not only unstable, but he is no longer accountable even to himself.
It is arguable that we cannot wait until next January, when a Democratic House might replace the current Republican one – a body that would consider impeaching the president, separating Trump from his office and the nuclear football that follows him down to the golf course at his Florida retreat.
Trump proved that he treats the possibility of a hydrogen holocaust as though he were were nudging a pinball machine in the corner of the neighborhood bodega, or working a children's video war game.
At midweek, the president tweeted that he was ordering missile strikes against Syria for probable use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.
They are coming, Trump boasted, "nice and new and 'smart.' " This was an outrageous betrayal of what he said even to a joint session of Congress that he would never telegraph his military moves. There are going to be thousands of Russian troops, perhaps even Iranians under these American "smart" missiles.
At edition time, Trump's Pentagon advisers are walking back his threat of war. "We'll see what happens," Trump said Thursday night.
Trump's tweet storm drew mockery from Russia's deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich: "We cannot depend on the mood of someone on the other side of the ocean when he wakes up."
What made these Trump announcements so egregious, so lunatic, were his claims that the poor relations America has with Russia were the fault of the "Fake and Corrupt" investigations conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Newly in the wings of the White House while these tweets were emerging is the new national security advisor John Bolton. Bolton is now busy removing all possible adversaries, even in the separate homeland security realm. Over the years, there were many countries that Bolton wanted to attack. The New Yorker's David Remnick calls Bolton "incendiary." Bolton is among the many changes Trump has made to ensure that he surrounded only by yes people, wall-to-wall sycophants.
Other than Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is walking back Trump's midweek tweets, there are no voices of restraint, or sanity, left in the president's top circle. Underline "no voices of restraint."
One doesn't need to be a health professional to recognize that Trump is saying, and perhaps ordering things, that are divorced from reality – statements that blame Russia's murderous invasions of Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014) on Robert Mueller and warn of imminent missile strikes on Syria that may never come. Mueller was appointed only last May 17.
This is where Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as well as Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have to step up.
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution comes to mind. Amendment 25 calls for the removal of president, or vice president, because of disability. It is now arguable that Trump has a serious cognitive disability, a divorce from reality that approaches psychosis. Removal of Trump under Amendment 25 would require a majority vote of his cabinet. Lacking that, Congress could pass resolutions that would allow a special body like a commission that would declare the president is unable to carry out his duties.