White House calls it 'laughable' to question Trump's mental fitness

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders proclaimed Thursday that it is “disgraceful and laughable” to question President Trump’s mental fitness.

At her daily press briefing, Sanders was asked what the administration’s reaction was to suggestions in Michael Wolff’s upcoming book, “Fire and Fury,” that he is mentally unfit to serve as president.

“It is disgraceful and laughable,” Sanders replied. “If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there, wouldn’t have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen.”

The exchange came the day after the White House released a statement in Trump’s name saying that his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, had “lost his mind.” Bannon was a key source for some of Wolff’s most damaging anecdotes.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” the statement read. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Related: 10 things from the explosive new book drawing fire and fury from Trump

Trump has also publicly questioned the mental fitness of his predecessor.

In 2014 during the Ebola outbreak, Trump wondered aloud about President Barack Obama’s mental health for allowing planes to fly from affected countries to the United States.

“I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama’s mental health,” Trump tweeted. “Why won’t he stop the flights. Psycho!”

And Trump has often labeled his perceived adversaries in politics and media — including Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Megyn Kelly, even Dennis Rodman — as “crazy.”

In excerpts of Wolff’s book published online, aides say Trump is increasingly repeating himself in conversation and “failed to recognize a succession of old friends” at Mar-a-Lago recently.

Questions about Trump’s mental competence have arisen before and throughout his unorthodox presidency, often sparked by his Twitter outbursts. Earlier this week, Trump’s fitness was called into question by national security analysts after the president taunted North Korea’s Kim Jong Un with a suggestive tweet about the size of their respective “nuclear buttons.”

Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at Washington’s Ethics & Public Policy Center and veteran of three Republican presidential administrations, said Trump’s recent behavior is “more evidence we’re watching an American president psychologically, emotionally and cognitively decompose.”

Amid the questions about Trump’s mental health, the White House opted to begin the briefing with a pre-recorded video — including cuts — of the president claiming that the recent uptick in the stock market was due to the recently passed tax bill. Trump has done just one press conference during his time in office, a February 2017 marathon that was criticized for its rambling nature and frequent nonsequiturs.

A May 2017 STAT study found that the evolution of Trump’s word choices over the last decade could be tied to cognitive decline.

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