Nuclear Tweets and Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Yesterday, Donald Trump, President of the United States, tweeted this:

Donald Trump, nuclear button, Kim Jong Un, nuclear button tweet

Immediately, commentators, news anchors, columnists and other pundits began wondering whether he understood the gravitas of his office and the true impact of a nuclear strike.

The New York Times commented:

“The president’s tone also generated a mix of scorn and alarm among lawmakers, diplomats and national security experts who called it juvenile and frightening for a president handling a foreign policy challenge with world-wrecking consequences. The language was reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s boast during the 2016 presidential campaign that his hands, and by extension his genitals, were in fact big enough.”

The Washington Post called it “loony.” CNN described it as, “a measuring contest provoked by the President of the United States against an unstable dictator pursuing a nuclear capacity. Politico says he has returned to “his full combative form.” The Wall Street Journal typically reported the Tweet without comments.

Many are wondering why any occupant of the White House and holder of the most powerful office in the world would say such a tacky, inflammatory, and irresponsible thing to the leader of another country, much less a leader who is himself not well balanced. I am not a doctor; I am not qualified to make a diagnosis.  But I can observe behavior and connect the dots.

Knowing the Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Before I forget, I want to write my last piece for “The Next Phase” of 2015, which is now my first article for 2016, as I did not finish it until New Year’s Day, about Alzheimer’s Disease. Most people blanch when talking about Alzheimer’s Disease, and with good reason. It, something it has affected, or both, are fatal 100% of the time.Many people associate Alzheimer’s Disease only with loss of memory but it manifests in many more ways. Here are 10 early signs and symptoms from the Alzheimer’s Association:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty in completing familiar tasks, at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking and writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

What we observed with a family member is that, under stress, she sometimes lashed out in bursts of anger, make inappropriate comments to anyone in the vicinity, and become very devious while attempting to cover up her memory loss. Alzheimer’s sufferers may become very suspicious and suffer from delusions and can be easily agitated.

Alzheimer’s Disease is also genetic: your chances of developing it increase by up to four times if a parent or sibling has the disease. President Trump’s father, Fred, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 80.

My Point – and I Do Have One

The White House at Dawn, insomnia, Alzheimer's Disease, Donald TrumpHere’s my point: irrational behavior comes from irrational people. Rational people do not threaten nuclear war like they are comparing genitals or the size of the bicycles Santa brought. We need to know—and as soon as possible—whether President Trump’s mental state renders him fit to hold the office.

We have reason for concern, based on those Alzheimer’s symptoms and signs:

  • Mr. Trump’s vocabulary has been shrinking and he uses the same words over and over. He often doesn’t complete the sentence he started or says things that make no sense—most recently demonstrated in his interview with the New York Times.
  • He has been documented as not knowing that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are part of the United States.
  • He is on video as not knowing who is with him, or even that the limo at the bottom of Air Force One’s steps is his.
  • He avoids the demands of his very demanding job by playing golf more often than any president in modern history and taking his briefings from Fox News instead of his security teams.
  • In terms of social act ivies, he held no state dinners in his first year and only one press conference. We now know that goes to bed at the same time as a toddler and watches TV, while claiming to work until midnight.
  • Despite having the White House chef at his disposal, he often eats a McDonald’s hamburger because, reportedly, the food is already prepared so it minimizes his chances of being poisoned.

The Big Checkup

Next Friday, POTUS is getting his annual checkup and the doctor has said he will make the results public. This would give me great hope, except that the President must consent to which details are released and to whom.

In December of 2015, Dr. Harold Bornstein, Mr. Trump’s physician of 25 years, said this in a signed statement that is atypical of the guarded language doctors typically use.

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,”

Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, will conduct this year’s physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I would expect Dr. Jackson to perform the kind of mental test that doctors typically use on a patient of the President’s age—particularly one whose father developed Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mine gave me a list of words and asked me to remember them. Later in the exam, I had to repeat them back. I had no problem so I don’t know what Step Two is for someone who can’t remember the words.

Revelation or Protection?

man with head in the sandThe White House staffers and a complacent Congress continue to protect this president, the way Republicans protected Ronald Reagan in his second term.

Given the stakes, the American public needs to know who is leading them and what his mental state may be.

A president who experiences delusions and bouts of spontaneous aggression, who unravels under stress and whose judgment is decreasing endangers us all.