I’m going to make a bold prediction: Trump is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (or perhaps some other form of dementia), and the progression of this condition over the next couple of years will bring an early end to his first term, perhaps through the 25th Amendment.
At first, having observed the first five months of his presidency, I suspected he must secretly be abusing alcohol, but apparently he drinks very little, if at all.
On the other hand his father, Fred, suffered from dementia in his eighties. A quick internet search brings up a dozen articles suggesting that the President’s increasingly erratic, simplistic, and disorganized speech, not to mention his Twitter tirades and associated impetuousness, are consistent with dementia. Trump is 70 years old – older than any previous president of the United States.
Trump has been highly protective of his medical record. The limited information he revealed to the public during his campaign has been through doctors (Harold Bornstein and TV’s Dr. Oz) with dubious credibility.
Perhaps the presidency will collapse when a carefully buried diagnosis of dementia is unearthed. Or maybe Trump’s behavior will simply become too unusual and erratic for anyone, even Republican congressmen, to explain away. Or – and maybe this is the most likely option – Trump himself will gradually fade from the spotlight as his closest advisers realize the seriousness of his condition and take action to silence his outbursts.
Whatever the ultimate fate of the presidency, there are worse things that await us if Trump is suffering, unacknowledged, from dementia. As I write these words, North Korea has successfully tested a missile capable of reaching Alaska, and an emergency meeting of the UN Security Counsel is underway. It is frightening to think how these issues might evolve in the hands of a world leader who is mentally compromised.
A final word: If dementia really does explain much of Trump’s behavior, this gives us room for compassion for the man. It means that he’s not the straightforward bullying, hot-tempered, thin-skinned man-child we accuse him of being. Take whatever solace you can from that!