White House panics over widespread questions about Trump’s “fitness for office”
The chatter is becoming louder and louder as a bipartisan chorus raises concerns about Trump.
Conceding that “a lot of people on TV” are now questioning Donald Trump’s fitness for office and his mental stability, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Thursday the discussions are “way over the line.”
“I think the man, frankly, suffers from mental illness,” said a former Republican senator from New Hampshire, Gordon Humphrey. “I think he is unfit to be president.”
The public discussions about Trump’s mental unfitness for office have become so widespread, USA Today reports the trend has created a “cottage industry” among experts and observers eager to diagnose what they see as Trump’s many dangerous psychological deficiencies.
It was the diagnosis offered up Tuesday night by James Clapper, the former national intelligence director and a veteran of several administrations, that seems to have most rattled the White House.
“I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office,” Clapper told CNN. The Washington Post labeled Clapper’s comments, coming from a lifelong military and intelligence professional, to be “extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented.”
Trump responded Thursday morning with a taunting tweet:
James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
But it’s not just Clapper. More than half of Americans think Trump is “unstable.”
In July, when a Senate colleague confided to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that Trump might be “crazy,” she conceded, “I’m worried.”
Last week, Republican Sen. Bob Corker from Tennessee announced, “The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.” Note that Corker was reportedly on the short list to be Trump’s secretary of state. Now, seven months into Trump’s first term, Corker suggests Trump is unstable.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Tony Schwartz, who co-authored Trump’s 1987 book “Art of the Deal,” announced that Trump is “prima facie mentally ill”:
Trump is prima facie mentally ill. It doesn't take a psychiatrist to make that diagnosis. It is obvious on its face.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 20, 2017
Also on Sunday, former Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN, “Republicans in Congress, the highest of intelligence officials, the highest of military officers in our country, leaders of the business community — all of whom have dealt with the White House, and many of them dealt personally with Donald Trump — have come to believe that he is unfit for the presidency.”
Added historian Douglas Brinkley, “He’s not mentally stable.”