James Clapper assesses

President Trump’s attack on the liberal media has, of course, produced fierce criticism from the liberal media and from the anti-Trump figures the liberal media enlists as talking heads. The criticism getting the most play comes from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Appearing on CNN, Clapper told Don Lemon this, among other things:

I really question [Trump’s] … fitness to be in this office. And I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out.

But Trump’s performance in Arizona last night pretty much mirrored the performances that helped him win the presidency. To infer from a performance of the kind partially responsible for him becoming president that Trump is looking for a way out of the presidency betrays a stupidity that’s frightening, coming as it does from a man who was once assigned by our government to assess the motives of foreign leaders.

The notion that Trump doesn’t really want to be president has been around since he launched his campaign. First, we were told he only wanted to promote his brand and would quit the race once he accomplished this. Then, we were told he just wanted to prove he could win the nomination. Once he made that point, he would exit.

Even after Trump was nominated, some speculated that he might step aside in favor of Mike Pence. All of these predictions turned out to be wishful thinking.

It’s shocking that a former Director of National Intelligence takes the discredited “Trump wants out” theme one step further at this late date. What does Clapper mean when he says Trump may be “looking for a way out” by giving what Clapper considers over-the-top speeches? Does he think Trump, for whom winning means everything, wants to be impeached? That he wants to be institutionalized?

I know conservatives who would say that Clapper doesn’t think for one minute that Trump is looking for a way out. They would say, instead, that Clapper is serving up disinformation in order to sow confusion to the detriment of a president he hates.

That’s possible, but I think it gives Clapper too much credit.