by Tim Keller
“How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? Right? How about that—how about that whole deal?”
In case you haven’t been keeping up with any of the major news networks lately, the zaniness of The Donald Trump Show is a gift that keeps on giving. The frontrunner in the GOP nomination process seems to spew something utterly nutty on a daily basis.
The political candidate didn’t seem to be aware of a couple of crucial facts regarding the beloved former Penn State head coach. First, he was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees in 2011 after an FBI investigation found that he had concealed details of his colleague Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children. Second, he’s been dead since 2012.
When Sean Hannity asked Trump which government agency he’d eliminate, he told the Fox News host “The Department of Environmental,” which doesn’t exist. Perhaps Trump meant the Environmental Protection Agency, but it’s still the kind of misstep that cost Rick Perry the nomination.
The list keeps on going. Trump even managed to win New York despite saying the September 11th attacks happened on 7/11. But it goes deeper than silly surface gaffes that could be attributed to a slip of the tongue. Trump’s statements have started to resemble those of a man who’s losing his grip on reality.
What if Trump isn’t just an eccentric? Is it possible he’s showing signs of a serious illness like Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Let’s look at the evidence.
According to the Alzheimers Association website, at least two of the following 5 mental functions must be “significantly impaired” for a dementia diagnosis to be considered.
One of the classic symptoms of Dementia is memory loss. Donald Trump loves to talk about having the “world’s greatest memory,” but the record abounds with instances where he’s had a lapse. A letter he wrote requesting leniency for a cocaine dealer associated with his business slipped his mind when he was questioned by the Division of Gaming Enforcement about it. His recollection also came up short last year when the presidential candidate claimed he had seen “Muslims cheering” in Chicago after 9/11.
Communication and language
During the August 2015 debate, Trump told the audience that “we need brain in this country to turn it around.” It wasn’t just a bizarre way to say the country needs more intelligence in government. It was not grammatically correct. It lacked the basic grasp of the English language that an elementary school student should have available. It might be easy to dismiss this as another simple slip of the tongue, but the man has a degree from the Wharton School of Finance. Not an easy program to get into. Presumably he was more than capable of putting together complete sentences as a 20-something.
Ability to focus and pay attention
At an interview with the Washington Post editorial board, an interviewer asked Trump whether he would be willing to use tactical nuclear weapons against ISIS. Here’s his reply:
Trump: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting (unintelligible)…
Ryan: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?
Trump: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?
Read it again. If Barack Obama started talking like this, he’d be in an MRI machine within the day. But this kind of unfocused babbling is par for the course for Trump so we don’t register it as a red flag anymore. You can’t chock this one up to evading a difficult question, either. There’s not a lot of support for the use of nukes, even in America, and even against ISIS. This sounds like a man who’s paranoid, can’t focus, and fails to even grasp an extremely straightforward question.
Reasoning and judgment
Donald Trump’s personality simply oozes poor judgement when it comes to a variety of topics. It’s arguably true, however, that his campaign has benefited from it enormously. His reputation as a straight talker is dependent on his unfettered mouth, and may be why his supporters see him as such a political outsider. But given his treatment of Muslims, POCs, and especially women, it’s hard to believe this is a man who is fully in control of his faculties and judgement. After all, any child could tell you that a political race is dependent on popularity. What reasonable man would broadly disrespect such a wide range of people?
Trump’s family should be worried. Because in spite of all this anecdotal evidence, another fact sticks out. Death and Taxes ran a piece back in October where they explored a lot of this same evidence. The Donald’s father, who died in 1999, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, a form of Dementia. It’s possible his dad passed on more than a huge fortune to his son.
You might say that attacking a man who is potentially undergoing one of the most awful medical sentences one and one’s family could experience is unfair and cruel, but that’s precisely the point. As much fun as it is for liberals to attack the GOP frontrunner who’s been demolishing all the opponents who have stood before him, the tone changes if the substance of those attacks rests on the man actually having a serious mental disorder. For the good of the country and the presidential race, it would behoove all of us, especially his family, if Mr. Trump would get himself checked out for Dementia and other related illnesses…and maybe release those findings to the public.