Trump has never shied away from launching ugly and personal attacks on his political opponents, but several comments and actions in recent months suggest a growing truth: that the former president is getting even stranger and more reckless in his behavior.
On Monday, former President Donald Trump attacked Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, for daring to remain neutral in the 2024 Republican presidential primary featuring him, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and nearly a dozen other candidates.
“I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind, I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won,” Trump wrote. “Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events!”
Iowa political observers noted it was a needless unforced error that would only aggravate key Iowa Republicans and hinder his ability to win the caucus.
On Wednesday, he called President Biden a “crackhead.” Trump also recently called Special Counsel Jack Smith, the man overseeing the investigation into Trump in the special documents case, a “crackhead.”
Trump has never shied away from launching ugly and personal attacks on his political opponents, but these remarks—and several other comments and actions in recent months—suggest a growing truth: that the former president—who has been indicted twice this year, with the potential for multiple more indictments to come—is getting even stranger and more reckless in his behavior.
Some of those actions are decidedly dangerous. Trump posted what he claim was former president Barack Obama’s home address on Truth Social, leading a Trump supporter and January 6 rioter to show up in Obama’s neighborhood, where he was arrested with two guns, 400 rounds of ammunition, and a machete in his van, which he appeared to be living in.
Trump has also asked advisors for “battle plans” to “attack Mexico” if he’s elected, called for the execution of drug dealers, and shared a fear-mongering video to TruthSocial, which painted him as being engaged in “the final battle” with his political opponents.
In other instances, Trump’s behavior is just…weird.
During a recent speech in Michigan, for example, he made a series of bizarre moaning sounds while mocking transgender athletes.
During an appearance in Nevada last week, he seemed to suggest that California could somehow collapse into the ocean in a way that would result in Nevada bordering the Pacific.
“You have the sun too, but you don’t have the ocean,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters. “You definitely don’t have the ocean. Maybe someday you’ll have the ocean, you never know.”
Then, in an interview with a reporter from Nevada, he called the state “disgraceful” and continued to reiterate election lies about the 2020 presidential election.
In another recent interview with Fox News, he referred to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as “JFK Jr.”
In another post to Truth Social, he urged Black voters to “REMEMBER” that every living president except him was descended from slaveholders. Trump’s post came in response to a Reuters story which found that every living American president, except for him, is descended from people who enslaved others.
He’s also embraced and repeatedly amplified strange and untrue conspiracy theories about the government coming to take away washer machines and dryers.
“They want to take away your washing machines and your dyers,” Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire last month. “They don’t want to give you any water for the washing machine, even though you have so much water you don’t know what the hell to do with it up here. It flows out into the ocean.”
Despite—or perhaps because of—these sorts of actions and remarks, Trump is a clear frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. FiveThirtyEight’s aggregation of dozens of polls show him beating DeSantis by nearly 30 points nationally (49.7%-21%), with no other candidate above 10%. Polls in Iowa—the first state to hold a nominating contest with its infamous caucus in January—show Trump with a similarly large lead.
On Thursday, Trump bragged about his lead over DeSantis on Truth Social (something he does almost daily, to be clear).
“DeSanctimonious Polls are getting worse & worse as the public gets to know him. The Democrats would have a field day with Ron,” Trump wrote. “He’s cold as ICE, and only hurting the Republican Party. We have a 49 Point Lead, and should be getting even better than that!!!”
There’s six months left until the Iowa caucus, but every indication points to a Trump win and a repeat of the 2020 presidential election—only weirder, wilder, and uglier.