NEWSFLASH: Donald Trump is perfectly mentally capable of being president and is suffering from no cognitive impairment or decline.
That statement, delivered by White House physician Ronny Jackson following Trump’s physical last week, amounts to a direct rebuttal to a growing pet conspiracy theory among Trump haters: That he is in the midst of a rapid mental deterioration that necessitates the invoking of the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
“[Trump] has absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever,” Jackson said in a briefing on the President’s health for reporters on Tuesday.
He added that having observed Trump closely over the past year-plus, he felt no need to do any sort of cognitive testing but did so at the request of the President. Trump scored 30/30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment administered by Jackson; “I can reliably say … if he had some type of mental, cognitive issues … he would not have gotten 30/30 on the test,” Jackson said.
Jackson, it’s worth noting, also served in the White House physician’s office for Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. And in the course of answering questions about Trump’s health on Tuesday, he made clear that he was not “withholding” any information about Trump’s overall health.
This should hopefully put the question of Trump’s mental acuity to rest. Or at least dampen the chatter that he is suffering from some sort of undiagnosed condition that renders him unable to do the job.
What remains true is that Trump is temperamentally different from any of the 43 men who have preceded him as president. He is publicly petulant. He is hugely mercurial. He is a bully. He seems to have little concern for adhering to established facts.
But, as I have noted before, Trump has been all those things his entire life. And he ran on his unpredictability, his anti-politician instincts, his willingness to disrupt the status quo.
That’s who people voted for. That version of Donald Trump is who won the White House. It would be far more curious and concerning if Trump suddenly began to comport himself like George W. Bush once winning the office than it is that he continues to act exactly like Donald Trump has acted his whole life.
The Point: Trump’s temperamental fitness for the job remains a very open question. But his mental fitness no longer should be. Critics should focus on what he does in office rather than engaging in unfounded attacks on his mental acuity.
Read Tuesday’s full edition of The Point.