Trump’s Increasingly Unhinged Rallies

Yesterday's New Jersey speech was something to behold.

WaPo (“Trump insults prosecutor at Jersey Shore rally filled with vulgar jabs“):

Donald Trump on Saturday insulted the prosecutor who has charged him in his ongoing New York criminal trial, speaking at a large rally on the Jersey Shore filled with personal attacks, coarse language and vulgar expressions from the former president and his supporters.

The presumptive Republican nominee called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “fat Alvin.” He described New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over his trial, as “highly conflicted.” And he reprised his accusations that both are “doing the bidding” of President Biden, even though there is no evidence they have coordinated with Biden or his administration.

The attacks were the latest show of defiance against judges and prosecutors from a candidate who is facing 88 criminal charges across four indictments. They were part of a flurry of broadsides or baseless claims that Trump and his backers launched at a beachside rally that marked a return to the campaign trail after at the end of another week when Trump spent much of his time in a courtroom.

Given that Merchan has cited Trump for ten violations of his gag order and threatened to jail him for contempt, I don’t see how he can not follow through at this point. Not only is he continuing to insult the court but he’s creating a threatening environment for the jury pool.

He said he was indicted on “bulls—” prompting some in the crowd to repeat “bulls—” in response. He attacked former New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie, winking at the audience “you cannot call him a fat pig.”

As Trump berated the Biden administration, he asked the crowd: “Everything they touch, turns to what?”

“S—!” the crowd responded.

“You can’t use the word s—,” Trump said, to laughs.

At another point, as Trump complained about the news media one rallygoer turned to the workspace for journalists yelling: “You guys suck. F— fake news. Go f— yourselves.”

Trump has, of course, been a crass vulgarian throughout his political career. But this is over the top even for him.

And he’s taking his stream of consciousness speaking styles to new levels.

Thousands attended the event on a chilly evening, which marked a blue state detour for a candidate who is trying to balance his four-day-a-week trial and running for president with about six months left until the election. The setting was a change of scenery from a typical Trump rally.

But it included many of the same polarizing features of such a gathering that critics have voiced alarm over, including attacks on undocumented immigrants, who he accused of staging an “invasion,” as he vowed to “stop the plunder, rape, slaughter and destruction of the American suburbs, cities and towns.” He sharply derided his domestic critics and opponents, claiming “the enemies from within are more dangerous to me than the enemies on the outside” the country. He praised the six Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. And he engaged in meandering asides, including about conversations he has had with celebrities or world leaders.

Trump at one point told the crowd: “Let’s talk about hot dogs, I just had one actually,” before he went on to discuss inflation.

While Trump has spent the past week angrily complaining about his trial, he appeared to bask in the attention from his supporters on Saturday. He spoke surrounded by a roller coaster and Ferris wheel, complimenting his own remarks as a “good speech” and telling the crowd: “Do I feel comfortable with you? I love you.

And the WaPo report doesn’t even include the most bizarre parts of the speech.

POLITICO (“Trump, escalating attacks at rally, says Biden is ‘surrounded by fascists’“):

[I]n recent events, Trump has been escalating his attacks on the justice system and Biden. During a private donor retreat last week in Palm Beach, Trump accused Biden of “running a Gestapo administration.” And on Saturday, he said the president is “surrounded by fascists around the Oval Office.”

“All of this persecution is only happening because I’m running for president. If I wasn’t leading in the polls by a lot and running for president, they wouldn’t be after me. I’d have a nice place. I’d be down in Palm Beach. I’d be traveling the world,” Trump said, before repeating falsehoods about the 2020 election that he lost to Biden.

During the speech, Trump threw well-worn lines on the border, windmills and electric vehicles, China and migrants. And he compared himself to the infamous gangster Al Capone, which has become a regular bit on the campaign trail.

“Al Capone was so mean that if you went to dinner with him and he didn’t like you, you’d be dead the next morning. And I got indicted more than him. On bullshit, too. Just bullshit,” Trump said. The crowd erupted into cheers of “bullshit.”

While Trump hit many familiar targets in his speech — like criticizing countries for not contributing more to NATO — he also attacked Biden over his pledge to withhold weapons from Israel if it launches any assaults on the highly populated city of Rafah. Other Republicans have also strongly criticized Biden’s warning to Israel and accused him of emboldening Hamas.

“He has truly set the world on fire,” Trump said. “This week, he announced that he will withhold shipping weapons to Israel as they fight to eradicate Hamas terrorists in Gaza. That was shocking to hear it, even as there are still American hostages being held by Hamas.”

And Trump vowed to deport any foreign student who brings “jihadism or antisemitism” to U.S. college campuses, saying that America’s biggest enemies are “from within.”

“The enemies from within are more dangerous to me than the enemies on the outside. Russia and China we can handle, but these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country, we have to get it stopped,” Trump said. “They’re not on the right, they’re on the left.”

NY Post (“Trump blasts Biden as ‘total moron’ before crowd of 100K at NJ rally: ‘Whole world is laughing at him’“):

“You could take the 10 worst presidents in the history of our country, and add them up .. and they haven’t done the damage to our country that this total moron has done,” Trump, 77, said to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands.

“He’s a fool, he’s not a smart man. He never was,” Trump said.

“He was considered stupid. I talk about him differently now because now, the gloves are off. He’s a bad guy … he’s the worst president ever, of any country. The whole world is laughing at him, he’s a fool.”

The former president also alluded to his own plethora of indictments, which allege he committed a variety of crimes before, during and after the 2016 and 2020 elections.

He blamed Biden, 81, for his legal troubles, saying, “You don’t do that to your opponents.

“It’s done in third-world countries, it’s done in banana republics, it’s not done in the United States of America.”

The man is simply inhinged.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    The Trump gag order does not include the judge or the prosecutor

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  2. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I’m increasingly inclined to go along with the claims that he really is mentally breaking down and what we are seeing is the start of dementia. His father suffered from dementia before his death, and it can run in families. And he’s under a lot of pressure that we don’t know about regarding the true state of his wealth and all the law suits. Those voting for Nikki Haley in the past weeks are really making protest votes and that can only be worrisome. Ditto all the fines and damages he’s racking up. He’s circling the drain, no question.

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  3. Kathy says:

    Maybe Kristi Noem intends take him to her gravel pit.

    That would make more sense of that part of her book.

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  4. charontwo says:

    what we are seeing is the start of dementia.

    It’s not the start, he is well along in the process, symptoms have been visible since he came down the escalator.

    he really is mentally breaking down

    Dementia accentuates existing personality traits including mental health issues, of which he always has had plenty.

    His father suffered from dementia before his death, and it can run in families.

    While his Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which is known to be sometimes heritable, TFG’s dementia looks to be a different disease, frontotemporal dementia specifically.

    From KOS:

    Actual transcript from Trump’s speech just now:

    Silence of the Lambs. Has anyone ever seen The Silence of the Lambs? The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? “Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner,” as this poor doctor walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations. The late, great Hannibal …

    TFG does not distinguish reality and fantasy quite the way normies do. He does not exactly think Hannibal Lecter was real, but he does not exactly not think so either. He is a successful conman because he can make bogus assertions with apparent sincerity.

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  5. Moosebreath says:

    You missed the part where he referred to Hannibal Lecter as a real person and praised him:

    ““Silence of the Lambs. Has anyone ever seen The Silence of the Lambs?” Trump said. “The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations. The late, great Hannibal Lecter,” he said, apparently rooting for the villain played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film.”

    A few months ago, we had portions of the mainstream media openly suggesting that Biden needed to step aside and have an open convention due to his age. Of course, the same people are totally silent about Trump’s statements.

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  6. Joe says:

    I have been reading the term “increasingly unhinged” since the time Trump was actually in the presidency. Is there a terminus point to “unhinged” and can we calculate when he will hit it? And, if it does, will anyone notice?

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  7. Paul L. says:

    I am called simply inhinged because I agree with Popehat that the police commit murder, raping, assaulting, perjuring and committing mayhem, all with near-total impunity. The courts are entitled to throw out and ignore any impartially when judging you if you smear and defame the police for not respecting and worshipping the police.

    I was told by a respectable lawyer yesterday that detaining, forcing identification and arresting someone with no Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS) or probable cause was just a Terry stop because no officer respect from the suspect.

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  8. DK says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Of course, the same people are totally silent about Trump’s statements.

    The New York Slimes doing New York Slimes things.

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  9. Lounsbury says:

    The most useful point at present is to exploitation of unhingedness outside of the Left internet commentariat echo chambers , selling outside the pre-sold. TV ads of the 64 Johnson variety perhaps – as unhingedness outside of the core believers typically does not go down well and single digit changes in key electoral geographies may be the only thing saving the world from Trump II.

    Boring whinging on about NYTimes not being a party political organ (despite the opposition claiming otherwise) really don’t lead anywhere.

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  10. “The whole world is laughing at [Biden]”

    Every time he makes this claim I think about the fact that the only time I have ever seen an international audience laugh at (not with, at) a US president was at Trump when he addressed the United Nations.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    Don’t discount the effects of fear on mental function. Trump’s afraid, and he has reason to be. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. Every day he’s more afraid as he sits helpless in court, unable to rant, unable to escape, reduced to mute submission. And every day as he leaves court and finds no one waiting to worship him, he’ll feel weak and that will be rocket fuel to the fear. Fear runs continuously in the background, it draws attention away from other things, it interrupts the normal flow of thoughts.

    Trump is a stupid man, but has great instincts for weakness he can exploit in others. Now he can sense a rising tide of ridicule of a type he cannot metabolize: falling asleep, and shitting himself. You know what he hates right now? The Diaper Don thing. His MAGA cultists wearing diapers thinking they’re inoculating him? Trump knows better. You can’t spin smelling like shit.

    I guarantee you he’s awake at 3 AM, trapped, enraged and afraid. None of which is helpful as your memory and logical processing are deteriorating. If he’s elected, who will be his Edith Wilson? Melania?

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  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    When I read this, what I think is, “Emotion is all Trump has got, so he keeps escalating it. I wonder what the actual limit on this is?”

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  13. Kurtz says:

    @Paul L.:

    I am called simply inhinged because I agree with Popehat that the police commit murder, raping, assaulting, perjuring and committing mayhem, all with near-total impunity. The courts are entitled to throw out and ignore any impartially when judging you if you smear and defame the police for not respecting and worshipping the police.

    Uh, pretty sure a strong majority of the commenters here agree with you. To varying degrees, for sure, but there is pretty broad agreement on this point.

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  14. Kylopod says:

    @charontwo:

    Remember the last scene? “Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner,” as this poor doctor walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.

    Talk about ruining a joke by over-explaining.

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  15. al Ameda says:

    NY Post (“Trump blasts Biden as ‘total moron’ before crowd of 100K at NJ rally: ‘Whole world is laughing at him’“):

    Not that it matters much but, I’m guessing that there was a crowd of about 25,000.

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  16. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod:

    Talk about ruining a joke by over-explaining.

    Trump doesn’t have the insight or timing to make a joke that doesn’t involve punching down at someone’s disability.

    I mean, when he makes those jokes they suck too, but at least they approach being a joke.

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  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And every day as he leaves court and finds no one waiting to worship him…

    There were a few articles this week, Axios for one, that discussed how a small handful of aids are rotating attendance at the trial, including one who’s been called the ‘printer lady,’ since she carries a small printer and gives trump admiring articles to boost his mood. But Eric is the only family member to show, just a few close sycophants, but what trump wants are hundreds of MAGAts in the streets chanting his name. And they’re not there.

    Yes, he’s afraid.

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey:

    Trump doesn’t have the insight or timing to make a joke that doesn’t involve punching down at someone’s disability.

    I can understand why this movie quote appeals to him, because it (a) is a dark joke (b) involves a simple pun.

    But even then, he botches it. First of all, he repeats the line, even though we all got it the first time, and anyone who’s seen the film got it a long time ago. Second, he seems to be using the movie reference to depict illegal immigrants as cannibals–but that’s undercut by his invoking an intelligent, charming, and witty serial killer whose victim he’s “having for dinner” is a character who’s been established as a total POS, so we’re almost on Lecter’s side at this moment (that’s part of what allows the joke to land in the film). So what analogy is Trump trying to make here? It’s not just unfunny, he isn’t even making a coherent point through the pop-culture reference.

    Ironically, Trump ignores one element of the film that would appeal to many on the right these days, which is the trope of the transgender killer, as exemplified by Buffalo Bill (even though Lecter in the movie denies the character is really trans). Honestly, though, I’m not even sure Trump has ever actually seen the film (he could have picked up that line without watching the movie in its entirety, kind of like the way I’ve long known the ending of the original Planet of the Apes even though I’ve never seen the film).

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  19. Gustopher says:

    Transcribed Trump sounds a lot more insane than listening to him.

    Listening to him, and not just a soundbite, is less a politician giving a speech on the subject of Hannibal Lector and more a rambling stream of consciousness show. He goes from illegal immigrants being criminals to Hannibal Lector, not because Hannibal Lector is real, but because (sigh) illegal immigrants might even be cannibals. Not that they are cannibals, but because they commit so many crimes that there’s probably a cannibal or two among them, we don’t know.

    (I’m pretty sure the guy who found a leg after someone was hit by a train and started snacking on it was a US citizen, and that’s the only recent cannibal I know of)

    I don’t think any of this reads as alarming to people who aren’t predisposed to think Trump is insane. Trump is just not acting like a politician, in a space where we expect someone to be acting like a politician, and it is jarring for that.

    The bizarreness comes more from your expectations than anything he is doing.

    I did enjoy the headline of the politico piece that @Moosebreath linked to:

    Thousands Turn Out to Hear Trump Rant About Whales and Hannibal Lecter: The former president could really use some new material.

    I’m pretty sure the whales and Hannibal Lecter are new material.

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al Ameda: 10,000 here, 10,000 there… Who’s counting?

    Remember when he had the BIGGEST CROWD EVER at his inauguration?

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  21. CSK says:

    At his NJ rally last night, Trump brought former Hall of Fame linebacker and registered sex offender Lawrence Taylor onstage with him.

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  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    birds of a feather…

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  23. Matt says:

    @al Ameda: Pretty sure I remember the campaign stating there were “only” 20.000 or so tickets available so people were going to be limited to two tickets each.

    The only pictures I can find right now are tightly cropped and none of those show anywhere near 100,000 people. Hell the area they had outlined for the event couldn’t hold 100,000 without a whole lot of deaths.

    EDIT : Looked a bit and found ” According to spokeswoman Lisa Fagan, the capacity for the rally is 20,000. “. This was a quote prior to the event so she’s now saying it was +80k..

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  24. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    That exact same thought occurred to me. Make Sexual Assault Great Again.

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  25. al Ameda says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Remember when he had the BIGGEST CROWD EVER at his inauguration?

    I believe that about 1 billion people attended his inauguration, right?

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  26. al Ameda says:

    @Matt:

    EDIT : Looked a bit and found ” According to spokeswoman Lisa Fagan, the capacity for the rally is 20,000. “. This was a quote prior to the event so she’s now saying it was +80k

    .
    lol … So they got to her too?

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  27. DK says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Boring whinging on about NYTimes not being a party political organ (despite the opposition claiming otherwise) really don’t lead anywhere.

    The actual criticism of the New York Slimes is about it acting as an apostate of rightwing propaganda, from peddling Bush’s shaky case for war in Iraq to its central role in the ridiculous But Her Emails / Clinton Cash national b*tch hunt to Red Wave 2022!!11!!

    We don’t need the press to act as a party organ. We need them to tell the truth, even when the truth has a liberal bias — as it frequently does, especially since the global right is now led by unrepentant pathological liars like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

    But performative centrists would rather flog their tedious and stupid strawman (Democrats want the NYT to be part of the Biden campaign!) than address the real criticism. Mostly because like many mefia bros, they lack both the structural and emotional intelligence to analyze data any deeper than reactionary bothsidesism.

    The New York Times news desk and the bothsiders share the same cognitive fault. They fence-sit just for the sake of fence-sitting — even when facts are stacked on one side, and for the purpose of self-aggrandizement.

    Undermining decency and democracy just to stroke one’s own ego by playing the contrarion, centrist martyr is no virtue. It’s fundamentally dishonest. Those of us who left the Republican Party rather than play that game know better.

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  28. charontwo says:

    @DK:

    The NYT did not even cover the rally on its front page. Here is the story from inside the paper:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/11/us/politics/trump-rally-new-jersey.html

    Read the story you will see it is disgraceful – totally bland, no mention at all of any of the outlandish things Trump said. It’s about how you would expect Fox News to cover the rally.

    The story at the WaPo pulls its punches, but it at least gives the reader some clue how outlandish that rally was, the New York Times does not even do that.

    ETA: On second thought it’s worse than you would expect from Fox, given Fox has lately occasionally published negative stuff re: TFG.

    Bottom line – you can not be well informed about U.S. politics by only reading the NYT and listening to NPR.

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  29. charontwo says:

    @charontwo:

    BTW, over at LGM someone quoted the entire NYT piece in the comments.

    (I have not wanted to waste a gift link on such a crappy piece).

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  30. Jack says:

    The best point I’ve seen on this dementia thing was a comment by a neuro specializing in it. “Anyone claiming to diagnose dementia without a first hand evaluation and relevant tests is a charlatan”.

    It’s so easy to look at Biden from just 5-6 years ago vs today and see he’s failing. But dementia? Hell, I don’t know.

    Trump? Obviously more vigorous. Dementia? Don’t beclown yourselves, people.

    If you clowns declaring Trump dementia are correct then you will be delighted by debates. Why doesn’t Team Joe request 4 of them?

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  31. @Jack: I agree that it is not wise to try and diagnose people from afar.

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  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jack: @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think you can run the tapes and draw obvious conclusions. Trump did not used to trail off in an inarticulate mumble. He was always an idiot but to praise Hannibal Lechter? Like he’s a real person? Who presumably is a real cannibal? Reduced focus + more word confusion + slurred speech + falling asleep at his own trial? And he’s 78 in a couple weeks plus not exactly a picture of fitness? Vonshitzhispants? Come on.

    I wouldn’t pretend to say whether it’s Alzheimers or some other form of dementia or the result of small strokes. But he’s clearly less mentally capable now. And he’s not a guy with a lot of IQ points to spare.

    BTW, even the MAGAts see it. Every day he begs his flock to come to the courthouse, and every day they don’t. Jared and Ivanka have moved to Mars, they know the score. The culties are actually trying to spin sharting as a plus. They’ll soon be crapping their pants as a very fitting act of devotion.

    And remember, we don’t need a single MAGA convert, we just need our people to show up and his to be a wee bit discouraged. Like all those Staten Island Republicans who can’t bother to hop a ferry to feed him his lifeblood of praise. MAGA is a balloon with a slow leak.

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  33. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “They’ll soon be crapping their pants…”

    Guess what? MAGA men are already parading around in diapers worn over their pants.

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  34. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    BTW, even the MAGAts see it. Every day he begs his flock to come to the courthouse, and every day they don’t.

    Did you follow the latest thing? Roger Stone tried to show how massive Trump’s rally in NJ was by posting a picture…and it was an image of a Rod Stewart concert in Rio from 1994.

    https://www.rawstory.com/trump-stone-rio-de-janeiro/

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  35. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    Apparently it took about 15 seconds for someone to i.d. that photo.

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  36. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There are degrees to such things.

    If you saw someone with a limp and a knife hilt sticking out of their thigh, you wouldn’t say, “well, maybe it’s osteoarthritis that’s causing them to limp.”

    You also wouldn’t know how bad the damage is, what muscles are affected, whether any crucial blood vessels were severed, whether there’s nerve damage, whether there’s infection, whether to remove the knife right away or keep it in place for the time being, etc.

    Ok, so the symptoms of dementia are not as clear as those of a knife wound, but when a qualified neurologist says some public figure displays such symptoms, and likely is afflicted with some form of dementia, they should be taken seriously.

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  37. DrDaveT says:

    But this is over the top even for him.

    I have no idea why you would say this. This is exactly what he has always been saying. Saying the profanity out loud does not, should not, change how you hear it.

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  38. Jen says:

    Trump? Obviously more vigorous.

    LOL. No.

    Trump rather famously hates to move. He used a golf cart to get from point A to B at at least one function of world leaders, while everyone else walked. Joe Biden cycles, works out, and is just generally more fit.

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  39. Charley in Cleveland says:

    “He was considered stupid. I talk about him differently now because now, the gloves are off. He’s a bad guy … he’s the worst president ever, of any country. The whole world is laughing at him, he’s a fool.” Trump unwittingly describes himself! File this one under, “Every accusation is a confession.”

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  40. Charley in Cleveland says:

    “He was considered stupid. I talk about him differently now because now, the gloves are off. He’s a bad guy … he’s the worst president ever, of any country. The whole world is laughing at him, he’s a fool.” Trump took a shot at Biden and described himself. File this one under “Every accusation is a confession.”

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