If I needed any further confirmation, it came during the second half of August. This was by no means the worst period of the Trump presidency, but it nevertheless offers a snapshot of why President Trump cannot under any circumstances be reelected. Here are 14 of the lowlights:
—Trump exulted when, at his urging, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to let two Democratic members of Congress visit Israel, making clear that he does not view himself as leader of the whole country. After Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.) refused Israel’s conditions to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, Trump even tweeted, “The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!” I can’t fathom the sadism that would lead Trump to drag a political opponent’s grandmother into the argument.
—Trump accused Jews of “great disloyalty” for not backing him despite his support for Israel, thereby perpetuating the anti-Semitic stereotype that American Jews owe their primary allegiance to Israel. He then quoted a discredited conspiracy-monger claiming Israelis “love him like he is the second coming of God.” (Note: Jews don’t think there was a first coming.)
—Trump proclaimed, “I am the chosen one.” He later said he was joking, but this was a perfect reflection of his real megalomania.
—Trump escalated his attacks on his own Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, whom he wants to scapegoat for an economic slowdown. In an unprecedented demonization of a U.S. official, the president demanded: “who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or [Chinese] Chairman Xi [Jinping]?”
—Trump floundered for a way out of his catastrophic trade war with China. Sounding like a Soviet central planner, he tweeted on Aug. 23: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” The same day, he called Xi an “enemy.” Within three days, he was calling Xi “a great leader” and a “brilliant man” and claiming he had received two phone calls from Beijing to restart talks. Chinese officials did not confirm any such calls, and two Trump aides told CNN he had lied to calm markets.
—Trump tried to get Vladimir Putin readmitted to the G-7 and blamed former president Barack Obama — rather than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — for the Russian president’s exclusion. The administration is also slow-walking military aid to Ukraine, continuing Trump’s kowtowing to the Russian dictator who helped elect him.
—Trump promised to pardon subordinates who broke the law to build a border wall. This is another impeachable offense. The only defense that White House officials could muster was that Trump was joking. Are you laughing? I’m not.
—Trump continued his vendetta against former FBI director James B. Comey, who exposed Trump’s possible attempts to obstruct justice. A Justice Department inspector general’s report found that Comey violated FBI policies but absolved him of leaking classified information, as Trump has repeatedly charged.
—On Friday, Trump taunted Iran by tweeting what was almost certainly a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of Trump’s erratic and unpresidential behavior recently, but it gives you the flavor of a presidency whose defining features are crassness, cruelty, incompetence and — most of all — sheer craziness. I may not agree with Warren or Sanders on most issues, but I am confident they would not do any of the offensive and even impeachable acts that Trump commits with mind-numbing regularity. That is reason enough to vote for them, even if I would prefer a more moderate alternative. Saving U.S. democracy from a mad king matters more than the specific policies of his successor.