We can probably all agree that Trump is a clinical narcissist. He may even be a sociopath. So when Trump has his physical this month, there is no need to test for these–though, in an ideal world, we would. It wouldn’t hurt if Trump had a psychiatric evaluation marking one or more of his mental conditions as “official,” but that’s not likely to trigger Vice President Pence and the cabinet to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment for the removal of Trump from office.
Dementia, however, might.
What I want your opinion on is Trump’s upcoming physical evaluation: should he be checked by a physician, or a team of physicians, not just for the health of his heart, but for the health of his brain, i.e. for dementia? That’s very different from whether Trump matches the DSM for this or that mental disorder.
I want to know if a team of neurological specialists judges Trump to have a serious medical condition. I want to know this because Trump has not yet started a war, nor used nuclear weapons, but he could over the next three years. It’s not about whether Trump’s mental states are, say, marked by delusional episodes–it’s obvious that they are–his Alex Jones fandom being Exhibit A. What’s at issue for me in his January physical exam is whether his brain is actually, objectively, clinically diseased.
If the rules of the game for Trump’s check-up this month includes the restriction on the physicians evaluating him that dementia-checking is off the table–then, Houston, we have a problem. One can’t be referred to a specialist for something one is not evaluated for, agree?
And so, should Trump’s medical check-up this month include some sort of sustained initial evaluation for dementia–he is 71, after all–and with specialists getting involved if signs are evident?
That’s all I’m asking. My concern is that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” regime is going to be put in place surrounding the question of Trump and dementia; that the politicos around Trump will keep this “elephant in the room” from going public by simply insisting to the physician or physicians involved that they are there to evaluate his general bodily health (his blood pressure, his basic blood levels, etc.), not his brain’s health.
It’s hard to imagine a narcissist and habitual liar like Trump submitting to sufficiently sustained questioning from a group of physicians looking to evaluate him for dementia–even as he shows public signs of its onset. Trump almost certainly does not want to know if he has clinical dementia–though if Trump were a decent man, one would think he would want to know, if not for his own safety, then at least for the safety of the country and the world.
Would you try to go on being president if a group of specialists diagnosed you with dementia?
So do you agree that Trump should be thoroughly evaluated for dementia as part of his January physical exam even if he himself does not actually want to know? Surely, given Trump’s access to nuclear weapons, a dodged or delayed diagnosis would be enormously reckless, don’t you agree?