Update on Trump’s Mental Capacities

The state of Trump’s mind has been a matter of continuous discussion ever since he came on the scene as a presidential candidate. Mental health professionals have weighed in despite their professions rules against doing so. More recently in an op-ed piece David Brooks posed the idea that we are dealing with a child, “When the World Is Led by a Child“. Some demurred at what they felt was a demeaning comparison with the actual positive characteristics of children.1 Others offer more political explanations for Trump’s behavior.

Perhaps He Is Just Getting Old – Dementia Is Underway

I remain stuck on the idea that at 70 years old, Trump is simply much further down the slippery slope of debilitating decrepitude than I am. The only characteristic I share with Trump is the year of our birth. I have trouble recalling people’s names with annoying consistency and my joints are getting increasingly creaky on the tennis court.  He, on the other hand, seems unable to string words into coherent statements or he creates linguistic mashups that might be comical in Uncle Harry, but not in the President of the United States.  Perhaps we are seeing early signs of dementia. Back on February 22nd I wrote in my posting “Is Trump Showing Signs of His Age??“:

Ever since Trump came into my view as a candidate for President I have thought that his speech is strange. Choppy, half thoughts, repetitions of words and phrases, very few polysyllabic words, in short lacking in fluidity and continuity.

I then shared two clips of Trump speaking during the 1980s. Lacking any real expertise in discourse analysis I left it to my readers to create their own analysis.

Now, on StatNews2  we have a serious effort to look at Trump’s speech in “Trump wasn’t always so linguistically challenged. What could explain the change?” by SHARON BEGLEY  on May 23, 2017. In the end the article notes, “Although neither Johnson nor other experts STAT consulted said the apparent loss of linguistic fluency was unambiguous evidence of mental decline, most thought something was going on.”

 The little graphic, linked below without permission, created by Dom Smith at Stat and embedded at the top of the Stat article suggests something else…….


Also published on Medium.

  1. Here are some responses concerning children: “Don’t Insult Kids by Comparing Trump to Them” – letter to NYTimes and “4-Year-Olds Don’t Act Like Trump“ []
  2. BTW StatNews is an offshoot of The Boston Globe that covers the medical industry which Boston and Massachusetts have in abundance. []