100% Serious Real Talk Time: Does Donald Trump have Alzheimer's?

I know the title is inflammatory, but bear with me. What prompted this was a comparison between two videos:

Is it just me, or is it like there are two different brains operating there? Because what surprised me when I watched the 1980 clip is how coherent Trump sounds. He sounds like a guy who actually has his shit together; he's talking about urbanisation, rent prices, oil prices, the future of the real estate market. I would buy a house from that guy.

Now watch the 2017 interview. The interviewer asks him what it was like to bomb Syria while having dinner with Xi Jinping, president of China. He makes it about five seconds before getting distracted and talking about how great the cake was. Thirty seconds later he mixes up Iraq and Syria. I'm not kidding. [1]

2017!Trump talks slower. His sentences are full of weird pauses and repetition; he goes off on weird tangents about desserts and the accuracy of US military ordnance. He mixes up Iraq and Syria.

There are two primary risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. The first is age. At 70, Donald Trump is the oldest elected President in US history. The second is family history. Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, suffered from Alzheimer's for at least six years before his death.

The first comparison that springs to mind is the one with a lot of other similarities to Trump; Ronald Reagan. Reagan is infamous for having Alzheimer's, and not just because he actually had Alzheimer's; Larry Altman, the New York Times' medical writer, asked him the question point-blank in 1980. At the time, Reagan was the oldest elected president at 69; he was eventually diagnosed in 1994. More recently, Reagan's son has stated that his dementia began to develop while he was in office. Yet despite this, no legislative safeguards were put in place - no mandatory medical examinations or required disclosure of medical history. The 25th Amendment provides a procedure for removing the President from office due to disability, but it requires either the President's voluntary participation or the consensus of the Vice-President and a majority of Congress. There is no way to compel a President to submit to a medical examination.

This is a serious question, not a backhanded way of saying that Trump is crazy. The Trump of 1980 is only barely recognisable as the Trump of 2017. And it would explain a lot. It would explain his irritability and his short attention span. It would explain the bizarre shit that comes out of his mouth at press conferences and campaign rallies. It would explain how he seems to be inhabiting a completely different universe to the one we all live in. It wouldn't explain why he's such an asshole, but I figure 1980s!Trump was an asshole, too; just a sane asshole.

Seriously. What if it's true?

[1] The interviewer also seems to be impressed by the fact that cruise missiles are unmanned, which...well, let's not rule her brain out, either.

To be honest when that idea started circulating I treated it as cheap, a distraction and just an empty insult. But yeah, the more he talks the more I genuinely think there's something wrong with the guy. Still an asshole, just now he doesn't have the necessary filters to hide it.

I'm not a doctor, and I've never met or had a chance to diagnose him. Armful diagnoses are something to be avoided, IMHO.

Alzheimers is a credible explanation for his behaviour, but then so is merely being a terrible person with terrible priorities.

That has always worried me.

Can this be used in a manner to get him our of office or at least reelected?

It certainly is worrying. I mean, the guy is freaking old. He's older than Regan, and it was pointed out that Regan started showing signs of Alzheimers towards the end of his presidency. The guy doesn't really have all of his marbles together.

It's not really inflammatory, unless you happen to be a little defensive over him, it's a legitimate question of concern. One we should very much take into consideration with how people allowed entry into high positions of power are vetted for the safety of those under their whims.

He certainly has changed over the years, and it's always hard to tell with world leaders. Are their more drastic actions or statements caused by mental or physical ailments or is it their outlook and worldview which is changed by them gaining so much power? At the start of his presidency it was believed Xi Jing Ping would liberalize the regime. Instead he has consolidated personal power to a level unseen since the days of Mao and removed several political opponents through anti-corruption campaigns. Is power given to mad men or does it make men mad?

Just semantically, I should point out that while people use Alzheimer's and dementia interchangeably, they aren't the same thing. Dementia is a form of brain damage which can occur due to a huge range of things, of which Alzheimers is merely the most common. For example, one issue with Trump is that his diet and lifestyle are terrible for someone his age, which means he could also be at risk of vascular dementia (dementia caused by impaired blood flow to the brain) in addition to possibly having a genetic predisposition to Alzheimers.

In reality, though, I don't think it makes a huge difference whether Trump suffers from dementia or not. It's certainly feasible given his age and risk factors, but in real terms it doesn't change anything. He is unlikely to deteriorate to the point where he is unable to serve as President (at least in the limited capacity he already is) within the next few years, and in the meantime we still have to deal with him.

saint of m:
Can this be used in a manner to get him our of office or at least reelected?

The 25th amendment actually covers this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution:
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

So to answer your question, no chance in hell due to the current scumbags running the government; a declaration of presidential incompetence would require people with integrity and a desire to serve the country over serving their party and personal ambitions.

I doubt it.

Trump and his family have always been con-wo/men.

He his a scumbag, claiming he has some kind of medical condition is an insult to those WITH it.

bastardofmelbourne:

Seriously. What if it's true?

My uncle, who is a college professor (in history, I believe), has been pretty much thinking along the same lines you have, in all seriousness. Taking how he use to speak and act versus the now, he's had similar thoughts for a while now. So, you have a fair bit of point about you there.

He does give off a certain Reagan-y vibe, and the right age to be showing elevated prospects of dementia in another case scenario.

Though I think it's more a case of political spin and convenient dog whistling, coupled with an inflated degree of narcissism.

bastardofmelbourne:
Seriously. What if it's true?

Firstly, it's always unsafe to diagnose without a proper examination.

That time gap is more than enough for someone to naturally change (within relatively normal limits, i.e. not requiring some form of dementia). Imagine in 1980, Trump is successful albeit unremarkable property developer - he needs to know all sorts of things about the property industry to do his job well, and as a relatively modest fish, can't be that cocky. However, over the course of the next 30+ years, several things change. Trump becomes so rich and so successful that he ends up employing people to know things for him, and his role becomes more one of manipulating people to secure deals rather than knowing basic information. The power "goes to his head", and he becomes more arrogant and self-aggrandising. He focuses more on self-promotion, and particular for media realises behaving a certain way gets results.

So we go from a man who got results by being knowledgable and coherent about subjects important to him, to a man who pompously blusters his way through things he knows nothing about - because he's learnt that gets results, too.

No. But that is absolutely going to be his last line of defense against being prosecuted. It's another scheme cooked up by Roger Stone. And Republicans will take it. Because it's far better to say that Trump has Alzheimer's than to admit that he's literally a treasonous sociopath.

I doubt he has Alzheimers. He's just a conservative, they all act and sound like that.

evilthecat:
Just semantically, I should point out that while people use Alzheimer's and dementia interchangeably, they aren't the same thing. Dementia is a form of brain damage which can occur due to a huge range of things, of which Alzheimers is merely the most common. For example, one issue with Trump is that his diet and lifestyle are terrible for someone his age, which means he could also be at risk of vascular dementia (dementia caused by impaired blood flow to the brain) in addition to possibly having a genetic predisposition to Alzheimers.

In reality, though, I don't think it makes a huge difference whether Trump suffers from dementia or not. It's certainly feasible given his age and risk factors, but in real terms it doesn't change anything. He is unlikely to deteriorate to the point where he is unable to serve as President (at least in the limited capacity he already is) within the next few years, and in the meantime we still have to deal with him.

I mean we could get lucky, my nan went from "a little forgetful" to screaming crying because she didn't know where she was or who we are, calling for her son when he was right beside her in a matter of months..

CheetoDust:

evilthecat:
Just semantically, I should point out that while people use Alzheimer's and dementia interchangeably, they aren't the same thing. Dementia is a form of brain damage which can occur due to a huge range of things, of which Alzheimers is merely the most common. For example, one issue with Trump is that his diet and lifestyle are terrible for someone his age, which means he could also be at risk of vascular dementia (dementia caused by impaired blood flow to the brain) in addition to possibly having a genetic predisposition to Alzheimers.

In reality, though, I don't think it makes a huge difference whether Trump suffers from dementia or not. It's certainly feasible given his age and risk factors, but in real terms it doesn't change anything. He is unlikely to deteriorate to the point where he is unable to serve as President (at least in the limited capacity he already is) within the next few years, and in the meantime we still have to deal with him.

I mean we could get lucky, my nan went from "a little forgetful" to screaming crying because she didn't know where she was or who we are, calling for her son when he was right beside her in a matter of months..

Potentially, unfortunately though Trump's lifestyle is in many ways perfect for mitigating the symptoms of Dementia. Being surrounded by aides who plan out your days with tight scheduling can do a lot to obscure mental deterioration as its functionally similar to assisted living.

I hope that you are right but considering where the bar is set at the moment (constant lies, absolute refusal to admit fault, consistently incorrect information) Trump would have to develop something that was a huge red-flag in order for something to be done about it. If he continues as he has been then I imagine that his mental faults will be dismissed as bravado, attempted manipulation or "fake news".

Still, considering his diet a stroke or aneurysm definitely isn't out of the question, especially considering how high his blood pressure must be raging around the White House whenever something that isn't Fox News comes on T.V. We just have to hope that he doesn't turn into a Mr. Burns situation.

Maybe, but I'd like to hear the opinion of actual medical practitioners who have had the chance to check this before I'll believe it. Using mental health issues as a way to dismiss your political opponents has been done before and I don't want to engage in that without some pretty strong evidence. Even then, he was lawfully elected and people who aren't in good health can still function pretty well. He'd have to be properly nuts before I'd want to take his presedency away for that.

As for his lowered coherence: decades of dishonesty, cajoling and general scummyness allong with aging poorly might well have done this to him. He is arrogant and used to succes. I can see him overestimating his knowledge of politics and being unwilling to learn at 70.

Also, young Trump up there seems like a coherent person but not that brilliant either as near as I can tell. He knows what he should for the job he does and can speak allrightish on TV. He has improved in the latter respect and got worse in the former.

People can change a lot in 37 years (some for the better, others for the worse); but the possibility of Alzheimer is evident enough to have it in consideration.

Pseudonym:
Maybe, but I'd like to hear the opinion of actual medical practitioners who have had the chance to check this before I'll believe it. Using mental health issues as a way to dismiss your political opponents has been done before and I don't want to engage in that without some pretty strong evidence. Even then, he was lawfully elected and people who aren't in good health can still function pretty well. He'd have to be properly nuts before I'd want to take his presedency away for that.

As for his lowered coherence: decades of dishonesty, cajoling and general scummyness allong with aging poorly might well have done this to him. He is arrogant and used to succes. I can see him overestimating his knowledge of politics and being unwilling to learn at 70.

Also, young Trump up there seems like a coherent person but not that brilliant either as near as I can tell. He knows what he should for the job he does and can speak allrightish on TV. He has improved in the latter respect and got worse in the former.

The Problem is that Trump has always defaulted to "You need an expert this area? Hold on, I bought one of those a little while ago... Yes! Ok, got his number. Call him up and he'll tell you whatever you want to hear. Perfectly Legit. Great Guy, I'm a Very Intelligent Person".

It should be amended that the President has a mental evaluation by independent sources at least every year.

ObsidianJones:

Pseudonym:
Maybe, but I'd like to hear the opinion of actual medical practitioners who have had the chance to check this before I'll believe it. Using mental health issues as a way to dismiss your political opponents has been done before and I don't want to engage in that without some pretty strong evidence. Even then, he was lawfully elected and people who aren't in good health can still function pretty well. He'd have to be properly nuts before I'd want to take his presedency away for that.

As for his lowered coherence: decades of dishonesty, cajoling and general scummyness allong with aging poorly might well have done this to him. He is arrogant and used to succes. I can see him overestimating his knowledge of politics and being unwilling to learn at 70.

Also, young Trump up there seems like a coherent person but not that brilliant either as near as I can tell. He knows what he should for the job he does and can speak allrightish on TV. He has improved in the latter respect and got worse in the former.

The Problem is that Trump has always defaulted to "You need an expert this area? Hold on, I bought one of those a little while ago... Yes! Ok, got his number. Call him up and he'll tell you whatever you want to hear. Perfectly Legit. Great Guy, I'm a Very Intelligent Person".

Perfect example from yesterday of the type of "experts" Trump has filled this administration's posts with:

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggests fossil fuels will help prevent sexual assault

edit:

ObsidianJones:

It should be amended that the President has a mental evaluation by independent sources at least every year.

That report never needs to be made public though, and any action taken on it would require some version of a spine from his current cabinet members and Mikey-poo.

The guy is pushing little past 70 and most American men die a few years after. If there's any senility or dementia or anything, it would be showing up.

Then again Trump may have always been an orange sack of hot air and is just so used to be getting ego hand-jobs from his aids that his mind just gave up caring a long time ago.

ObsidianJones:

Pseudonym:
Maybe, but I'd like to hear the opinion of actual medical practitioners who have had the chance to check this before I'll believe it. Using mental health issues as a way to dismiss your political opponents has been done before and I don't want to engage in that without some pretty strong evidence. Even then, he was lawfully elected and people who aren't in good health can still function pretty well. He'd have to be properly nuts before I'd want to take his presedency away for that.

As for his lowered coherence: decades of dishonesty, cajoling and general scummyness allong with aging poorly might well have done this to him. He is arrogant and used to succes. I can see him overestimating his knowledge of politics and being unwilling to learn at 70.

Also, young Trump up there seems like a coherent person but not that brilliant either as near as I can tell. He knows what he should for the job he does and can speak allrightish on TV. He has improved in the latter respect and got worse in the former.

The Problem is that Trump has always defaulted to "You need an expert this area? Hold on, I bought one of those a little while ago... Yes! Ok, got his number. Call him up and he'll tell you whatever you want to hear. Perfectly Legit. Great Guy, I'm a Very Intelligent Person".

It should be amended that the President has a mental evaluation by independent sources at least every year.

Sure, Trump might not have himself checked out by the relevant medical experts or he might pay them to tell him and us what he wants to hear. still I would prefer to be careful with my conclusions about Trumps mental state one way or the other. Better to suspend judgment for the moment. Unless we can be reasonably sure, the situation in this regard is bad enough to warrant action and somebody can actually act on it, I don't see the point in drawing any rash conclusions.

None of us have anything approaching the evidence, access, or diagnostic capacity necessary to say either way.

Avnger:
Perfect example from yesterday of the type of "experts" Trump has filled this administration's posts with:

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggests fossil fuels will help prevent sexual assault

Eh, he's actually saying that better lighting at night can reduce sexual assault (which it can), and that fossil fuels can provide power (which they can). Odd argument, but that's one example of him not being wrong.

Thaluikhain:

Avnger:
Perfect example from yesterday of the type of "experts" Trump has filled this administration's posts with:

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggests fossil fuels will help prevent sexual assault

Eh, he's actually saying that better lighting at night can reduce sexual assault (which it can), and that fossil fuels can provide power (which they can). Odd argument, but that's one example of him not being wrong.

sure, he's not wrong that energy make light go bright but then again the sky is blue.

surprisingly, other forms of energy generation also generate energy for lights!

Pseudonym:
Sure, Trump might not have himself checked out by the relevant medical experts or he might pay them to tell him and us what he wants to hear. still I would prefer to be careful with my conclusions about Trumps mental state one way or the other. Better to suspend judgment for the moment. Unless we can be reasonably sure, the situation in this regard is bad enough to warrant action and somebody can actually act on it, I don't see the point in drawing any rash conclusions.

I'm actually fine with rash conclusions. Rash actions, on the other hand, are never a good thing.

This is not just Republicans that will Suffer if he has Dementia. Democrats won't win anything. Everyone loses if he does. For however long this will still be truth, he is still the most Powerful Man in the World. Political ideologies aside, that is an office that holds a lot of weight and only the fittest of mind and body should ever wield that power.

Conclusions are just suspicions. And Suspicions have their place in the world. They keep us safe. If someone's driving weird on the highway, you either hang back or pass them whenever you can. If a man is muttering to himself and barking at random people, you cross the street not to deal with him. If a person calls you and tells you that you won a free trip to somewhere, you ask for his information so you can check out the legitimacy of it.

I'm with you on being Careful. But not Careful in the way you mean. If dad's eyes are going bad and he still carries a gun, you don't be careful in sitting back and hoping for the best. You take him to the Optometrist.

Besides, Trump had no problem with casting aspersions when it came to Hillary. The only thing different is that we're not trying to disparage him here so people don't vote for him. We're frankly concerned with a man wielding that much power acting very worryingly.

Silvanus:
None of us have anything approaching the evidence, access, or diagnostic capacity necessary to say either way.

Yeah, but it's fun to try!

Thaluikhain:
Eh, he's actually saying that better lighting at night can reduce sexual assault (which it can), and that fossil fuels can provide power (which they can). Odd argument, but that's one example of him not being wrong.

I think it's good evidence that he's stupid, though. Only an idiot would think that was a sound argument in favour of coal power.

Perry's a bit of a shambling disaster, though, and he oughta get way more attention. His energy plan discounts all the advice of his own department's grid assessment and proposes what is essentially a massive government subsidy for coal power - because subsidising renewable energy is socialism, but subsidising coal power is...the free market?

ObsidianJones:
It should be amended that the President has a mental evaluation by independent sources at least every year.

We can chalk that one up on the Good Ideas (That Will Never Happen) board, alongside required financial disclosures for presidential candidates, strict campaign finance regulation, and abolition of the electoral college.

bastardofmelbourne:
because subsidising renewable energy is socialism, but subsidising coal power is...the free market?

Of course. Those subsidies were fairly purchased by the coal industry. Perry has a contractual obligation to implement them.

bastardofmelbourne:

Silvanus:
None of us have anything approaching the evidence, access, or diagnostic capacity necessary to say either way.

Yeah, but it's fun to try!

Thaluikhain:
Eh, he's actually saying that better lighting at night can reduce sexual assault (which it can), and that fossil fuels can provide power (which they can). Odd argument, but that's one example of him not being wrong.

I think it's good evidence that he's stupid, though. Only an idiot would think that was a sound argument in favour of coal power.

Perry's a bit of a shambling disaster, though, and he oughta get way more attention. His energy plan discounts all the advice of his own department's grid assessment and proposes what is essentially a massive government subsidy for coal power - because subsidising renewable energy is socialism, but subsidising coal power is...the free market?

ObsidianJones:
It should be amended that the President has a mental evaluation by independent sources at least every year.

We can chalk that one up on the Good Ideas (That Will Never Happen) board, alongside required financial disclosures for presidential candidates, strict campaign finance regulation, and abolition of the electoral college.

Well yeah, socialism isn't an econic or political viewpoint. It's just a thing you shout at liberals when you don't understand politics and that makes you angry because you really want to be involved in the discussion because just because you don't understand something doesn't mean you don't know better than everyone else.

[The Doctor] Doesn't he look tired?

McMarbles:
[The Doctor] Doesn't he look tired?

I could replace that last word with a ton of others and still be dead on target, but I love that you made that reference.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here