In theory, yesterday's briefing at the White House could have, and should have, been a straightforward gathering of policymakers. Donald Trump's new policy in Syria has created crisis conditions in northern Syria, and this was the president's opportunity to let congressional leaders know more about conditions on the ground, his policy, and its future.
At least, that was the idea. In practice, Trump couldn't behave like an adult long enough to lead the meeting.
Democratic leaders in Congress on Wednesday angrily walked out of a White House meeting with President Donald Trump after he had a "meltdown," according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. [...]
The President started the meeting with a lengthy bombastic monologue, according to a senior Democratic aide.... The meeting quickly devolved into a series of contentious exchanges centering on the president's decision earlier this month to pull troops from Syria, which paved the way for the Turkish invasion.
There is no public transcript or recording of the gathering, but by most accounts, Trump admonished former Defense Secretary James Mattis for not being as "tough" as him, complained that he didn't want to even have the briefing he was supposed to lead, suggested Democrats are vaguely sympathetic to ISIS because the terrorist network includes "communists," and insulted Nancy Pelosi to her face, dismissing her as a "third-rate" politician.
Since the discussion obviously wasn't going to be constructive, Democratic leaders saw no need to stick around.
The House Speaker described Trump's bizarre behavior as a "very serious meltdown," adding that Americans should "pray for his health." Because the president routinely finds it necessary to respond to every slight in a I'm-rubber-you're-glue sort of way, Trump published a tweet soon after accusing Pelosi of being mentally ill, adding, "Pray for her, she is a very sick person!" Since he heard the Speaker accuse him of a "meltdown," Trump also accused Pelosi of having had a "meltdown."
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham insisted that the president was "measured" and "factual" during the meeting, which people who've never seen, heard, or read about Donald Trump might actually believe.
It's the third time this year a White House gathering has been derailed by a presidential breakdown, following a meeting in January during Trump's lengthy government shutdown and a gathering in May that was supposed to be about infrastructure.
What strikes me as amazing, though, is the larger context of Trump's latest breakdown.