When Wilhelm became emperor, in 1888, at twenty-nine years old, he was determined to be seen as tough and powerful. He fetishized the Army, surrounded himself with generals (though, like Trump, he didn’t like listening to them), owned a hundred and twenty military uniforms, and wore little else. He cultivated a special severe facial expression for public occasions and photographs …
The general staff of the German Army agreed that the Kaiser couldn’t “lead three soldiers over a gutter.” He had neither the attention span nor the ability. “Distractions, whether they are little games with his army or navy, travelling or hunting—are everything to him,” a disillusioned former mentor wrote. “He reads very little apart from newspaper cuttings, hardly writes anything himself apart from marginalia on reports and considers those talks best which are quickly over and done with.” The Kaiser’s entourage compiled press cuttings for him, mostly about himself, which he read as obsessively as Trump watches television. A critical story would send him into paroxysms of fury. …
The Kaiser’s darkest secret was that every few years—after his meddling and blunders had exposed his incompetence or resulted in a crisis—he would suffer a full-blown collapse. His entourage would scrape him off the floor, and he would retire to one of his palaces, where, prostrate, he would weep and complain that he’d been victimized. After the moaning came the pacing, in uncharacteristic silence. Occasionally he would give way to tears. Gradually he would recalibrate his sense of reality—or unreality—and after a few weeks would bounce up again, as boisterous and obstreperous as ever.
Meanwhile, Dana Milbank has a solution: Let’s give Trump cash reparations — in exchange for his retirement:
Consider the litany of wrongs done to him in the past few days alone, as chronicled in his Twitter output: He is being targeted “by the deep state” and he is suffering from congressional “bullying.” He is the victim of “a complete setup,” and he lamented with Vladimir Putin a “Russian hoax” perpetrated against them both. The “FBI sent undercover agents to spy on” his campaign. His enemies went after him with “18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents” — and now Democrats want a “redo”!
Additionally, his fellow conservatives are being “treated so horribly” by Facebook, and “it’s getting worse and worse.” His opponents are playing “very dirty . . . like never before.” Andrew Napolitano, once an ally, is now talking about Trump’s guilt on Fox News (“Take him off the air!”).
In a video clip Trump shared, a Muslim cleric vows to “conquer America” and “this tyrant” — Trump presumably — then “kill them and take their women and smash their churches” if Americans don’t convert to Islam. Trump is further vexed by “drug cartels & violent criminals” at the border and stubborn Chinese trade negotiators (hence his threat to raise tariffs again). Even the officials at the Kentucky Derby let him down — by disqualifying the winner because of “political correctness.” And Hillary Clinton’s emails!
During this extraordinary recitation of wrongs inflicted on him, Trump retweeted a question posed on CNN: “Is Trump not getting enough credit for the economy?”
Of course he isn’t! And somebody must pay.
Falwell’s proposed remedy, that Trump have “2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup,” has a practical flaw: At the rate Trump’s would-be Democratic challengers are joining the field, there would be more than 250 of them on the debate stage in 2022. (Also, the idea is unconstitutional, though the Supreme Court has recently granted Trump considerable leeway with that document.)
A less messy solution: cash reparations — a victim’s fund for our beleaguered billionaire. This would be relatively simple to implement, because we already have considerable experience shifting funds into Trump’s pocket.