I am by no means a licensed mental health professional. Nor do I particularly think that "diagnosis by video" is an appropriate thing. That said, I think there needs to be a discussion about Donald Trump's mental acuity.
Admittedly, he's never had a particularly large or varied vocabulary. And his rhetoric does tend to fall on the bluster side rather than actual knowledge. We saw that throughout the endless primary and election season.
But I don't know if the pressure of the job is getting to him (other presidents have let their hair grow grey as an indication of the stress, but 45 prefers the Miss Clairol home solution) or this is a sign of dementia (his father died from complications of Alzheimer's), but I defy you to find any evidence of higher cognitive functioning in this interview Trump gave to AP this week:
AP: Do you feel like that's one thing that you've changed, that you maybe are actually asking the direct questions about some of these things?
TRUMP: Yeah. Let me give me an example. A little before I took office there was a terrible article about the F-35 fighter jet. It was hundreds of billions of dollars over budget. It was seven years behind schedule. It was a disaster. So I called in Lockheed and I said, "I'm sorry, we're going to have to bid this out to another company, namely Boeing," or whoever else. But Boeing. And I called in Boeing and I started getting competing offers back and forth. ...
TRUMP: I saved $725 million on the 90 planes. Just 90. Now there are 3,000 planes that are going to be ordered. On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It's actually a little bit more than that, but it's $725 million. Gen. Mattis, who had to sign the deal when it came to his office, said, "I've never seen anything like this in my life." We went from a company that wanted more money for the planes to a company that cut. And the reason they cut — same planes, same everything — was because of me. I mean, because that's what I do.
TRUMP: Now if you multiply that times 3,000 planes, you know this is on 90 planes. In fact, when the Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe of Japan came in because they bought a certain number of those ... The first thing he said to me, because it was right at the time I did it, he said, "Could I thank you?" I said, "What?" He said, "You saved us $100 million." Because they got a $100 million savings on the 10 or 12 planes that they (bought). Nobody wrote that story. Now you know that's a saving of billions and billions of dollars, many billions of dollars over the course of — it's between 2,500 and 3,000 planes will be the final order. But this was only 90 of those 2,500 planes.
Did any of that make sense to you? It gets worse:
AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you're not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you?
TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything's so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to —
AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean —
TRUMP: Number One, there's great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I'm saying to myself, "You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that's involved," because people could have been killed. This is risk that's involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet .... every decision is much harder than you'd normally make. (unintelligible) ... This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it's far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ....The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.
WHAT THE HELL IS HE SAYING????? I want you to make special note of the points where even AP couldn't make heads or tails of what he was saying by denoting it as "(unintelligible)". Journalist Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star actually counted how many times that happened.
Trump made at least 15 "unintelligible" comments in his Associated Press interview, the AP transcript says. pic.twitter.com/1T7bXud0jJ
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 23, 2017
It's not only this interview either. An attache to Angela Merkel of Germany told The Times of London that Merkel actually had to explain to Trump ELEVEN TIMES over the course of one conversation that he couldn't negotiate a trade deal with Germany but had to deal with the larger EU. This, despite the "great chemistry" he claimed to have with Merkel in the AP interview.
And this interview comes on the heels of a meeting of 35 mental health professionals at Yale to discuss Trump's apparent mental state, characterizing it as "dangerous and delusional."
Mental health experts claimed the President was “paranoid and delusional”, and said it was their “ethical responsibility” to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.
There's been a lot of late night humor mined over Trump's grandiosity and incompetence. But it really isn't funny anymore. It's downright scary.