Trump moves from 'very stable genius' to cognitive whiz
What a week for the media. Coming off a sugar high from the myriad accusations in Michael Wolff's book that President Trump lacks the mental capacity for the presidency, they made a quick pivot from "Trump is mentally deficient or senile" to one of their golden oldies, "Trump is a racist." This after Trump's blunt but accurate characterization (maybe – no one is sure whether he actually said it) of certain countries as "s-holes."
Less than a week later, the media are spraining their backs and ankles doing another quick reversal back to the "Trump is mentally challenged" canard. This is after the president's personal physician, Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson, declared that the president is in "excellent health."
Peppered by questions from the juvenile White House press corps, Dr. Jackson told the intrepid reporters, "I've got to know him pretty well. And I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability." This was based on the results of a cognitive test he never planned to administer but did only at Trump's insistence. No wonder, given the drumbeat of what USA Today calls "[b]attles over Trump's mental health and 'fitness' for office."
How did Trump do on the test? He aced it. Bigly. Thirty out of thirty. His physician found, also based on his daily interactions with the president, "no reason whatsoever to think the [p]resident has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes."
Case closed, right? Now the press corps children can get on to asking the important questions of the president's health, like whether he wears dentures or has bone spurs. Or how he can be as healthy as his predecessor. You mean the one who smoked cigarettes as president and was part of his high school choom gang?
How dare a physician declare Trump in excellent health? Especially mentally! Not content to move back to the Trump-Russian collusion story, CNN asks the question in a headline: "Who is Dr. Ronny Jackson?" Did CNN's intrepid reporters ask that accusatory question after any of the annual physical exams given to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama? I don't think so.
Does CNN ask similar questions about other interesting people, such as those involved in the phony Steele dossier and Deep State activities? Like who is Andrew McCabe? Or Lisa Page? Or Peter Strzok? CNN has no curiosity in this arena.
NBC does ask, "What's the Montreal Cognitive Assessment mental test Trump took?" – as if any test that Trump could pass, much less ace, must be a sham.
Newsweek reminds curious readers, "Trump's cognition test doesn't tell us everything about his mental health." No kidding! As if a ten-minute test would – any more than an issue of Newsweek would tell me everything about world affairs.
The Washington Post also tries to throw cold water on the cogitative test by telling us, "Trump's cognitive test was created by a Lebanese immigrant to Canada." Good thing Trump didn't point that out, else he would be called a racist, xenophobic bigot. I thought immigrants were sacred to the media and the left. What if the test-developer was a Canadian DREAMer? How is his immigration status relevant?
That's a roundabout endorsement for DACA, of course. The WaPo couldn't help but turn the article toward immigration. The test-developer "told The Post he was well aware of the sweeping crackdown on immigration Trump has pursued in his first year in office, but said he preferred to stay in the scientific portion of the debate." Good advice for the media, too, but that will never happen.
The test is called the Montreal Cogitative Assessment. It's a ten-minute test "[t]o assist first-line physicians in detection of mild cognitive impairment, a clinical state that often progresses to dementia." It's a screening test, not a definitive means of diagnosis, "[w]ith high sensitivity and specificity for detecting mild cognitive impairment." President Trump received a perfect score.
Were there any calls for Mrs. Clinton to undergo such testing based on her double-vision and prism glasses, falls, coughing fits, and bizarre facial tics? Or for President Obama when he claimed to have campaigned in 57 states and pronounced his Navy "corpse-man" comments?
My, how times and curiosity have changed. In September 2016, WaPo reporter Chris Cillizza cried out, "Can we just stop talking about Hillary Clinton's health now?" Now the WaPo can't talk about much besides Donald Trump's health. Nor can the myriad psychiatrists who never met Trump but seem quite comfortable diagnosing him with "psychological instability," "volatility," "loss of touch with reality," and "violence as a means of coping."
What's the punch line on the president's physical? "Excellent health" per his physician – with the caveat that for a man in his early 70s, with about 30 extra pounds, a less than ideal diet, a lipid profile reflective of his genetics or lifestyle, but a never smoker or drinker, he is doing just fine. Will he have a heart attack someday? Good chance. When? Who knows?
It's ironic that those most eager for Trump to go away are suddenly concerned over his heart health. I would think CNN would be cheering his lipids and his calcium score. After winning four Fake News Awards, the network would have much preferred Trump having been diagnosed with some horrible and incurable disease.
Will Trump live forever? Just to spite the media, he probably will.
Since the cognition issue has been shot down, now the focus will shift to Trump's weight – the "Girther Movement," as it has already been called. I guess fat-shaming is no longer taboo, at least when it comes to Trump.
Big media will bray like a pack of donkeys, further reinforcing their irrelevance as a political force, while the president pushes forward with his agenda – whether as a "very stable genius" or as a "cognitive whiz."
Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.