For over a month, Donald Trump and his cronies have been throwing anything they can find at the wall to explain away why he absconded with thousands of government documents, some of them highly classified. One of the most frequent excuses was that as president, Trump could allegedly declassify anything he wanted. He didn’t need no stinking bureaucratic process to make public, say, documents with another nation’s nuclear secrets. Now Trump is going one step further, saying he had the superpower to declassify documents with his mind.
By the end of this clip, Trump almost completely decomposes.
If you saw someone on a sidewalk talking this way, you’d put your phone to your ear, stare at the ground and cross the street as fast as possible.
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) September 22, 2022
“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified,’” Trump claimed during his latest softball interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Or maybe a president doesn’t have to do that! “Even thinking about it! Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago and to wherever you’re sending it, and there doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be.”
The claim had strong “Michael Scott declares bankruptcy” vibes. It’s also untrue. “He can’t just wave a wand and say it’s declassified,” Richard Immerman, a historian and an assistant deputy director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, told NBC News back in August. “There has to be a formal process. That’s the only way the system can work.”
It’s unlikely Trump ever read the job description before starting his first presidential campaign, much less before he actually took office — or any time that he was in office. But look, he has a lot on his table these days, and he’s not even president anymore. On the same day he said he can zap documents free of their classified status with his brain, he also amplified — without condemning — Vladimir Putin’s dangerous threats of nuclear war, on top of being sued by the New York attorney general’s office. He doesn’t have time to look up all the rules he never learned for a job he no longer has.