Lawmakers Sound The Alarm: ‘It’s Time To Talk About Trump’s Mental Health’
For years, Donald Trump lived his life in the glare of the New York tabloids, taking refuge in convenient alternative truths by constructing his own version of reality and actively promoting conspiracy theories. He maintained that model of behavior as a candidate and a President. But the fact such conduct is coinciding with what could evolve into a major global crisis is forcing his staff, fellow world leaders, the media and the public to grapple with the implications.
But his habit of creating alternative realities and eroding trust could put national security at risk. President Trump potentially has millions of lives in his hands as the threat of a devastating war with North Korea swiftly escalates.
Yet the President of the United States is raising new questions about his competency, his judgment and his understanding of the resonance of his global voice and the gravity of his role with a wild sequence of insults, inflammatory tweets and bizarre comments.
On Wednesday Trump caused outrage and sparked fears of violent reprisals against Americans and US interests overseas by retweeting graphic anti-Muslim videos by an extreme far right British hate group. Earlier this week he used a racial slur in front of Native American war heroes. He’s attacked global press freedom, after cozying up to autocrats on his recent Asia tour.
And now there are reports that the President has revived conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s birthplace and is suggesting an “Access Hollywood” video on which he was heard boasting sexually assaulting women, and for which he apologized last year, had been doctored.
When Republican Sen. Bob Corker said last month that President Trump hasn’t “been able to demonstrate the stability” needed for success and recommended he “move way beyond himself,” it was news mostly because Corker has been one of Trump’s key supporters in Congress.
Corker is not alone. Trump’s recent behavior is causing extreme concern among both military and congressional leaders who are asking questions about his state of mind over his decision to retweet explosive videos of doubtful authenticity featured by the far-right group Britain First.
“I have no idea what would motivate him to do that,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. “To me, it’s bizarre and disturbing, particularly when I think of him doing that in the context of North Korea, where moderation, and temperance and thought I think is critical.”
Conversations about Trump’s fitness and mental state have percolated in Washington for months. They have been fanned by the comments of GOP Sen. Bob Corker who warned the President could spark World War III.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake last month fired off an explosive Senate speech in which he said that no one should stay silent, “as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters.”
On Wednesday, Flake said he was “flummoxed” at Trump’s latest behavior after reading his latest Tweets.
“It’s very inappropriate. Why? What does that get us? I’m having a hard time understanding it,” Flake said, adding that he would start a series of Senate speeches on Trump’s disregard for the truth.
In some ways, Trump’s latest wild behavior turn gives Republicans yet another problem.
Close observers of the President say they believe he has become even more unmoored in recent weeks.
“Something is unleashed with him lately,” said New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who wrote about Trump’s return to Birther conspiracy theories in on Wednesday morning.
“I don’t know what is causing it, I don’t know how to describe it,” Habermans said, according to CNN.
Trump’s supporters often counter that the media is overreacting to his tweets and a style of conduct that often appears designed to cause outrage and offense — or to distract attention from other political controversies.
Though some admit they wish he would not be so inflammatory in his tweeting, it is often maintained that his behavior should not be taken literally.