Former President Donald Trump’s extreme hyperbolic rhetoric about ‘killing his enemies’ – or making insinuations that come close to it – might engage some of his hardcore supporters, but they send the message to voters who might be on the fence that he is too much of a live wire.
President Joe Biden’s age combined with inflation, unregulated migration, rising crime, and global instability that have taken place under his leadership has kept the two men tied in the polls. Trump leads Biden slightly in the Real Clear Politics Average by a 45.3% to 44.1% margin.
They further the perception among swing voters that Trump is mentally unstable. An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken in 2018 found that 46% of Independents consider Trump as not being of sound mind.
Donald Trump Goes Extreme
Trump insinuated that former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, who he appointed and once said was “living proof that the American warfighter is the toughest, smartest and bravest, best and brightest by far anywhere in the world,” should be killed.
The former president accused Milley of being a traitor for having subverted the chain of command to tell his Chinese counterpart the U.S. would remain stable despite the election.
“This guy turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act.”
Milley told NBC News that former Defense Secretary Mike Esper told him he should contact his Chinese counterpart to ensure that China would not make any aggressive moves.
“So what the Chinese were perceiving was incorrect. They were nervous about potential political instability in this country. Secretary Esper asked me to make sure that they didn’t make any military moves,” Milley told NBC News.
Former Aides Say Trump Unfit for Another Term
Trump publicly supported the military; however, former Trump Chief of Staff Marine Gen. John Kelly publicly stated that rumors that the former president had called Americans who died in World War II “suckers” and “losers” was true. Former Defense Secretary Mike Esper called Trump unfit to be “commander-in-chief” in November 2022.
“I think he’s unfit for office. … He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well,” Esper said.
And his Attorney General Bill Barr stated in June that Trump’s persona is about “gratifying his own ego, ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests.”
Trump’s need to gratify his ego is behind every single case against him.
Trump Fans Love His Incendiary Rhetoric
While not all of Trump’s supporters like his at time crazy sounding rhetoric, many in his fanbase will eat up his hyperbole, and he does it because he knows it will score him points with them. This is especially true with his social media denunciations of the prosecutors and judges in the various cases he has become involved in.
This includes calling Special Counsel Jack Smith “deranged” and suggesting that people should “go after” Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James.
New York Justice Arthur Engoron slapped Trump with a limited gag order to keep the former president from badmouthing him or his staff on social media on Tuesday. The judge evidently was incensed by a comment Trump posted on Truth Social stating that he “should resign from the ‘Bench’ and be sanctioned by the Courts for his abuse of power.”
Engoron ruled last week that Trump and his company were liable for fraud.
Smith likewise is seeking for Federal District Judge Tanya Chutkin to sanction Trump with a gag order to avoid tainting the overwhelmingly anti-Trump jury pool in the District of Columbia where his January 6 case is being heard.
Trump’s Mouth is a Liability or a Strength Depending on the Individual
Trump’s biggest liability is his mouth. It has people who might agree with his policies as president running away. His only saving grace will be the perception that Biden is not all there. Had Democrats wanted Trump to decline in popularity their better bet would have been to simply ignore him.
Trump channels deep resentment among millions of Americans toward their government. They thought treating him like a clown in 2015 would work. It failed and that treatment ultimately got him elected the first time.
Both candidates are seen as corrupt, dishonest, and mentally unstable by large swaths of the electorate. The least unpopular candidate will win next year.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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