Shrinks Warn About a Presidential Candidate's Dementia — But It's Not Joe Biden's

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

As the world watches Old Joe Biden turn into a turnip before our very eyes, a couple of psychologists have gotten international media attention by being among the first health care professionals to come right out and say that they believe the president is suffering from dementia. The catch is that Old Joe is not the president they have in mind. That’s right: these shrinks, apparently worried that Donald Trump might survive all the legal traps and frameups that the Democrats have thrown at him and return to the White House, are warning about Bad Orange Man’s dementia, not that of the senescent corruptocrat in the Oval Office. 

To be sure, it’s a disquieting indication of the health of our body politic that the two likely presidential candidates will be 78 and 81 at the time of the November election, but only one of them is suffering from obvious severe cognitive issues, and it’s not that man whom the left regards as the focus of evil in the modern world and the most severe threat to all that we hold dear since Satan offered Eve a delicious fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But if Trump can be convincingly portrayed as just as cognitively debilitated as Old Joe, it will take one of the key campaign weapons away from the Republicans: Hey, at least our guy can still think straight.  

And so this pair of psychologists, Dr. Harry Segal, a senior lecturer at Cornell University, and fellow psychologist Dr. John Gartner, have begun a painstakingly professional, one hundred percent disinterested podcast, “Shrinking Trump.” The Daily Mail reported Monday that this exercise in staggeringly fair and objective medical analysis endeavors to “dissect the reasons for Donald Trump's rapid mental deterioration.”

Gartner warns: “I always say to people: Look at Donald Trump right now, because that's the best Donald Trump you're ever going to see because dementia is a deteriorating illness and his rate of deterioration is accelerating.” Trump has indeed likely lost a step or two, but even granting that, he demonstrates on a daily basis that he is far sharper than Old Joe. We don’t see Trump clutching cards on which his aides have printed out, in painstaking detail, exactly what he is supposed to say and do at any given moment.

We don’t see Trump shuffling along as if he were a thousand years old and barely able to take a step. We don’t see him shaking hands with thin air. We don’t see him repeatedly defeated by the difficulty of climbing stairs. We don’t see him staring vacantly ahead, clearly having no idea of where he is or what he is supposed to be doing, and having to be led around by his colleagues who are desperate to insist that the emperor is wearing splendid new clothes.

Segal and Gartner, however, are ready with an explanation for this: they blame the media. Yes, really. There are actually two reasonably sentient beings on planet Earth today who would have us believe that the establishment media, after blackening Trump’s name and reputation in thousands of ways over the last eight years, is actually now covering for him. This would be like saying at the height of the Cold War that Pravda was pro-Reagan, but that’s their story, and they’re running with it. Gartner lamented, “I don't know what it will take for the mainstream press to actually ask the question, 'Is there something wrong with Trump's brain?' I think, even if he was caught wandering down Fifth Avenue in his pajamas, they wouldn't ask the question. 

Well, maybe he has a point there. If I saw Trump wandering down Fifth Avenue in his pajamas, my first thought would be that he was trying to beat all his legal troubles by feigning insanity, taking a page from the book of 1980s crime boss Vinny “The Chin” Gigante, who used to wander the streets of Little Italy in pajamas and once even attended an arraignment dressed that way. Hey, it could work!

Segal and Gartner even claimed that Trump is worse off than the alleged president, for “while Biden may confuse names and dates, it is more concerning that Trump actually confuses people.” Why? They didn’t bother to explain. They just sound the alarm that “the ex president's verbal blunders are examples of phonemic paraphasia, the swapping of words for others that sound similar, which can also be an early sign of dementia.”

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They also claim that Biden corrects himself and Trump doesn’t. Gartner says that a principal sign of cognitive decline “is a lack of awareness that you have cognitive decline when you are making these mistakes and you don't correct yourself because you're not aware you've made a mistake.” Biden, you see, corrected himself once when he said Iraq and meant Ukraine. They didn’t mention all the other times when Old Joe didn’t correct himself at all, such as when he claims that his son Beau was killed in Iraq.

Maybe Segal and Gartner don’t think that chronic lying is a sign of cognitive decline, and maybe it isn’t. But it certainly is, or ought to be, a sign that someone shouldn’t be president.


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