“Person, woman, man, camera, TV”
A lucky person gets old and lives as long as possible. Age brings some slowing down physically and some less than glowing moments mentally. A doctor I’ve spent a lot of time with summed it up this way, “Plaque builds up in your brain and there’s nothing you can do about it.” I followed up with, “Well, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?” My mother left us having Alzheimer’s disease and I wonder if those who share her DNA might be prone to such a fate in later years.
We expect and should demand that our presidents be in reasonably good health, both physically and mentally. Seventeen years before he was elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair because he suffered from poliomyelitis (Polio), which could have been a misdiagnosis. He probably had Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune neuropathy, but FDR’s doctors never thought that was possible. The press and the White House went out of their way to avoid showing the 32nd President in a wheelchair. This conspiracy extended to his four terms, but he died shortly into his fourth term. The 22nd Amendment limits all presidents to two terms, thank God.
Starting in the 1940s, John Fitzgerald Kennedy suffered Addison’s disease and in 1955 he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, an insufficient output of thyroid hormones. The symptoms of this disorder include paleness, intolerance to cold, depression and a low heart rate. I guess that’s why he chased women. Both the womanizing and the ailments were known by some but not reported at that time. Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President, suffered a severe stroke in October of 1919 and was incapacitated for the remainder of his presidency. He left the White House in 1921 and died in 1924. Historians believe his second wife, Edith Wilson, ran the Executive Branch for the last year of the term.
That brings us to Donald Trump. If you have read the books by John Bolton and Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, you would be totally convinced that Trump should never have been elected President and that he should be removed from office as soon as possible. Not to beat a sick horse, but a stark quote from Bolton’s book, In the Room Where It Happened, makes me believe there is something seriously wrong with Donald Trump. “Mulvaney put the call through, and Mnuchin gave Trump the same analysis I had. Trump agreed, hours after disagreeing with precisely the same points, to keep the decisions in place. Hearing this, I asked Mulvaney if I had not been clear about this the day before. “You were very clear about it,” said Mulvaney, “but sometimes it takes two or three tries to get it through.” Mind you, this was not a conversation about choosing a restaurant for dinner, they were discussing a national security issue. Could plaque be wining?
Trump’s buddy and former White House doctor, Dr. Ronnie Lynn Jackson will most likely win the Congressional seat for the 13th district of Texas. If you remember, Jackson was nominated by Trump to be the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, but withdrew his bid when questions arose about his conduct while working. It was alleged he dispensed sleeping pills to staffers on long flights, he drank on the job and he created a hostile working environment. But hey, this just proves that anybody can run for office.
Back in 2018, Dr. Ronnie administered the annual physical of the President. When finished, Jackson stood in the press room at the White House to give a glowing, almost adoring, report on the President’s health. Not only did Jackson reinforce a notion that the Donald has superior DNA, but he dropped the fact that he gave Trump a cognitive test. I believe it was the MONTREAL COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT, which you can learn more about here. I must point out that test was administered to Trump two years ago. It’s not clear why Dr. Jackson used that instrument unless Trump asked for it, wanting to prove something.
SIDE BAR: For the last six years of his life, Fred Trump, Donald’s father, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease before dying of pneumonia in June 1999. This might be the reason our President wanted to be checked for cognitive decline. He has a strange need to overstate his intelligence and strength. I’m sure it’s due to a deep inferiority complex, but I am not a doctor.
There was a common quip when I was young that went something like this. A crazy person never admits they are crazy. If someone said, “Yeah, sure, I’m nuts!” it led to a belief they weren’t. So, is Trump’s brain in decline? Is he suffering from a severe personality disorder? Let’s me state this very clearly, his defensiveness is a disorder in and of itself.
Some people over-explain things, but that is not necessarily caused by a brain misalignment. However, when speech patterns are extremely repetitive and defensive, one could be led into an armchair analysis. I agree with Mary L. Trump’s supposition that young Donald suffered from a learning disability that caused problems absorbing, retaining and understanding information. Such an incapacity could impair the ability of a president to effectively govern. The wheelchair didn’t keep FDR from winning a World War and JFK’s Addison’s kept him awake at night which probably gave him more time to work, but I worry about our 45th President.
We have heard all the cutting comments from Trump’s critics, but there might be something else in play when he attempts to project worries about his own cognitive durability onto Biden. Trump often accuses others of something he has already done or is about to do. He’s transparent with his flaws but secretive on normal business. It’s clear that he doesn’t know how to act like a president.
Donald Trump’s rambling the other day with Dr. Marc Siegel on Fox News was farcical. He was bragging about scoring a perfect score on a test to determine whether his mind is in decline or showing the onset of dementia. It’s always perfect with Trump, a perfect letter, a perfect call, a perfect meeting. There is never any gradation with him. The Montreal test isn’t about the score, it’s the way answers are given and any delays requiring prompts from the doctor. The score is one aspect of the test, but the doctor’s evaluation and interpretation equally matter. I wouldn’t let Dr. Ronnie Jackson play doctor with my grandkids, let alone believe anything he says about his God figure, Donald Trump. Jackson’s election pitch in Texas was entirely focused on his friendship with Trump. Jeez!
I feel sorry when hearing Trump go over the recall aspect of his test and his repetition of the words, “Person, woman, man, camera, TV.” He’s so proud of a perfect score and somehow believes he achieved something no other person ever has. I’m reminded of a toddler bragging to his mommy about going potty. Dr. Jackson is just another enabler, vocalizing drugs to get the American people hooked on the absurd notion that Trump is supernatural. If Donald has the same DNA as his father, his ending will be similar. Sorry, it’s just science.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conservation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”