It’s not just the fact that President Trump was put on video yesterday in place of a face-to-face encounter with the press, it’s that, when you actually watch it, the screen cuts suggest the possibility that this was pieced together from more than one attempt by Trump to read through the short text smoothly. And his speech seems effortful, not at ease, slow and on the verge of slurring–even in this very brief appearance. It’s a marked contrast from a year ago, at his February press conference, when he seemed more in command of himself and of his speech. He appears ill here. I wonder why more is not being made of what sounds to me like hints of the same slurring problem that he had in Israel last month.
Contrast this with what looks to be better health and a relatively better sense of command a year ago in February 2017 (at his only press conference since becoming President).
I’ll make a prediction: I’m betting Trump will not hold a single press conference in 2018–precisely because he is in accelerated cognitive decline. He’ll be highly guarded from spontaneous exchanges with reporters by his handlers–especially when before cameras–and perhaps he will even dodge extended interviews with newspapers as well (especially after botching his recent NYT’s interview, sounding, again, oddly incoherent).
Look, for instance, at the weirdness of this USA Today article from yesterday. Why is he apparently requiring a shield from the least sparring with journalists? If he is cognitively sharp, and can sustain coherent thoughts on a range of subjects relevant to his responsibilities as President, why wouldn’t he want to put these powers on display, vanquishing his enemies? He’s hiding behind an Oz curtain. Why?