Before becoming a teacher, I spent many years working with the developmentally disabled, as well as people afflicted in adulthood by a variety of brain disorders. As I watched Donald Trump’s press conference the other day, I was struck more than ever by how much his rambling thoughts, false starts, repetitions, topic-irrelevant and pragmatically inappropriate utterances, and peculiar gesticulations resembled those of institutionalized people I used to take care of. I’m not joking here. Only a slight leveling down of vocabulary and he’d have fit well in a group home I used to work in, one that specialized in elderly mentally disabled patients.
Republicans seem to see this kind of behavior as either evidence of Trump being “unpolished” (read: “genuine” and “honest” unlike that fancy-speaking stealth-Muslim Obama) or “performing” as part of his grand, ingenuous scheme to MAGA, and stick it to the Democrats and their fake news enablers.
I’m sure these are comforting fantasies, but anyone who has worked professionally with brain-afflicted individuals recogizes what’s really happening here. Odds are that Trump will continue to degenerate and/or will commit some horror that will give pause even to his most ardent defenders.
If you’re among his supporters, don’t say you weren’t warned.