Fresh out of the hospital and known to be receiving a powerful, never-before-used cocktail of drugs for his coronavirus infection, President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning fired off a prolonged tweetstorm that observers viewed as abnormally deranged even for a president notorious for his bizarre and often disturbing social media rants.
"Especially unhinged today to an alarming degree," Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted in response to one of the final tweets of Trump's outburst, which began at around 8:00 am ET and continued for over three hours.
"NOW THAT THE RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS GOT CAUGHT COLD IN THE (NON) FRIENDLY TRANSFER OF GOVERNMENT, IN FACT, THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN AND WENT FOR A COUP, WE ARE ENTITLED TO ASK THE VOTERS FOR FOUR MORE YEARS. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE!" reads the longest of the president's dozens of Wednesday morning tweets.
"The danger is that the more wounded Trump becomes, the more erratic and unstable he'll become. Even if he loses the election—or rather, especially if he loses the election—Trump is going to go down fighting. He's not afraid to take all of us down with him."
—Jeet Heer, The Nation
The president's flurry of tweets included posts questioning the legitimacy of the upcoming election, baselessly accusing Democrats of plotting a coup against him, attacking the news media and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and calling for the arrest of his political opponents.
"Dexamethasone is a hell of a drug," quipped Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former executive director of the Detroit Health Department, referring to the steroid Trump is receiving as part of his Covid-19 treatment.
As The Nation's Jeet Heer noted, the president unleashed a similarly unnerving—and at times contradictory—torrent of tweets on Tuesday, indicating that "Trump's personality has certainly not been tamed by his healthcare problems."
"Trump's current stress level could be coming from a variety of sources: his illness, the medicine he's being prescribed, worries about the election, a demoralized staff, and a bleak working environment," Heer wrote. "All of which suggests that Trump feels under siege and is using his Twitter account, even more than usual, to lash out and try to create an illusion that he's still dominant."
"The danger," Heer warned, "is that the more wounded Trump becomes, the more erratic and unstable he'll become. Even if he loses the election—or rather, especially if he loses the election—Trump is going to go down fighting. He's not afraid to take all of us down with him."
1. Trump has always been erratic and has always tweeted demented stuff. But he's a little more amped up above the his norm recently. It's Trump on steroids: once again, a case where the literal & metaphorical have merged. https://t.co/xWbUqoBujG
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— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) October 7, 2020
Among Trump's 60-odd tweets Tuesday was his sudden announcement that he has instructed White House negotiators to cut off talks with Democratic leaders over another coronavirus relief package until after the election, a move that could indefinitely leave tens of millions of jobless, hungry, and eviction-prone Americans without urgently needed aid.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, urged the public not to allow the president to divert attention from the fact that he is standing in the way of additional spending that is necessary to avert even more pain for households and the broader economy.
"Don't let the president's hysterical tweets distract you from the fact that he is refusing to provide Covid relief to American families and businesses unless he gets re-elected," Pocan tweeted Wednesday.
While Trump's decision-making as president has frequently been impulsive and incomprehensible, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and White House staffers are among those questioning whether Trump's coronavirus treatments are at least in part behind his abrubt decision to walk away from the stimulus talks.
According to the New York Times, "Some White House staff members wondered whether Mr. Trump's behavior was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria."
In a statement late Tuesday, Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl warned that Trump's decision to end coronavirus relief negotiations until after November 3 "ensures that millions of vulnerable Americans will be ravaged by the coming economic devastation."
"The death toll continues to mount, businesses can barely keep their doors open, and countless Americans are teetering on the edge of economic collapse, but our president thinks that we can wait until after the next election," said Pearl. "This move is nothing more than a disgusting, senseless disregard for human life from this administration."