“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York....Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do...” President Donald Trump, July 4, 2019
On Sept. 3, 1783, the brand new United States of America signed the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, establishing the United States as an independent sovereign nation. King George III was the king of England at the time. The loss of the 13 colonies set him off on a journey which ended in madness.
King George had his first episode of insanity in 1788. By 1811, it became clear he couldn’t continue to rule, and his son George, later King George IV, became Prince Regent, ruling in the king’s place until the king’s death in 1820. In 1994, this whole event was made into a movie called “The Madness of King George.”
King George had violent outbursts, sometimes needing to be restrained. He experienced anxiety and confusion and tended to repeat himself a lot. Once he even shook hands with a tree, thinking it was the King of Prussia.
We now have a president who would love to emulate the pomp and ceremony that surrounded King George. President Donald Trump loves state visits to other countries, where he is pampered and coddled and made to feel royal. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he decided to design a new presidential uniform, with epaulettes and lots of braid and medals, so he can strut around the White House feeling like a king. Sadly, he might even be emulating the beginnings of King George’s madness.
At Trump’s recent Independence Day event, he spoke about the war where we won our freedom from King George. “In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.
“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”
For anyone who might not be sure, there were no airports in 1775 and Fort McHenry was attacked during the War of 1812. The words for the Star-Spangled Banner were written in 1814. Trump mangled a lot of history in those two paragraphs.
Trump blamed the Teleprompter for this debacle.
“And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter, but I knew the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter.” Saying he knew the speech well implies he read it at least once. If that’s so, why didn’t he correct the obvious nonsense about airports and getting the War of 1812 mixed up with the American Revolution? Since he didn’t correct it, maybe he really believes there were airports in revolutionary days? Shouldn’t it concern people that the Commander-in-Chief is so totally out of touch with reality?
King George’s symptoms also included irritability. This fits Trump, who refused to admit that what he said was absolute nonsense and who responds to criticism not by thoughtful introspection but by smearing anyone who dares hint that he isn’t perfect.
It’s so bad that just before Trump’s inauguration, a British paper, The Guardian, published a story titled “America: behold, your Snowflake-in-Chief.” (Jan. 16, 2017) The British see Trump for exactly what he is, a whining crybaby.
This all fits with the Republican cult of victimhood, but even President Ronald Reagan, who led one of the most corrupt administrations in American history and who had Alzheimer’s, was able to keep working during all the investigations into his administration. President Bill Clinton continued to work even while undergoing impeachment.
Trump, however, can’t handle two things at once, so he fights back by claiming all of the investigations into his actions are treason. At one point, King George said, “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.” This sounds exactly like Trump.
Is Trump going mad? I don’t know, but his actions and words are eerily similar to the way King George spoke and acted. We’ll have to see how all this develops.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.