Under Trump, US Debates A Leader’s Mental Fitness As Never Before

President Trump’s mental health has burst into public consciousness, following release of the explosive tell-all book “Fire and Fury” and Mr. Trump’s eye-popping Twitter response – in which he called himself a “very stable genius.”

The book, by journalist Michael Wolff, describes a chaotic White House riddled with infighting. In an interview on NBC’s “Today,” Mr. Wolff asserted that “100 percent of the people” around the president – including senior advisers and family members – question his intelligence and fitness for office.

But anyone who thinks the Trump presidency is on the ropes or that he’s about to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment to the Constitution – a topic Wolff claims White House aides discussed repeatedly – has another think coming, analysts say. And, it can be argued, Mr. Trump may in fact come out on top when all is said and done, given the questions surrounding the reporting techniques used by Wolff, and factual errors in the book.

In addition, efforts by mental-health professionals to raise alarm bells about Trump’s stability may well backfire, as none have formally evaluated Trump. The American Psychiatric Association’s longstanding code of ethics prohibits drawing conclusions about a person’s mental state without an in-person examination.

The flaws in Wolff’s book – which the author himself admits was produced hastily – have played into Trump’s narrative of a press corps eager to take him down, and that could help him survive this latest maelstrom.

“At least he’s going be inoculated with his base,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “He’s also probably going to get the benefit of the doubt among some right-leaning conservatives and potential independents in key states going forward,” particularly in the midterm elections this November.

Mr. O’Connell also sees a lot of the “mainstream media” angry that Wolff beat them to the punch. “I think they would have preferred to build the ‘Trump is nuts’ narrative over time, and now it could undercut their reporting and be a blessing for Trump,” he says.

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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Analysis & Political Strategy