In a split between the public and private factions of the Trump White House, spokespersons direct a frontal assault against those who question the mental stability of their erratic president while aides behind closed doors fret over the widening worry that their leader is”losing it” and could do something terribly dramatic if they do not bring him under control.
“The president is on the edge and could plunge over the deep end to create a major crisis with a foreign power or within the government,” an aide close to the inner circle says.
Publicly, White House Sarah Huckabee Sanders says “The White House perspective and disgust that people who do not know this president or understand the true depth of his intellectual capabilities would be so filled with hate they would resort to something so far outside the realm or decency.”
Trump is scheduled for his first ever White House physical exam on Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. When a reporter asked if the exam would include a psychiatric examination, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley responded with a curt “no.”
But other sources say aides, members of Congress and high-ranking military members worry about Trump’s latest tweets, including his claim that he is “a genius. ”
“That’s the kind of response a mental health professional would say could be indicative of someone who has something to hide about his or her mental capacities,” says a Navy psychiatrist.
He noted what he considered a “carefully staged” appearance by Trump before reporters at Camp David Saturday ludicrous with Vice President Michael Pence, Cabinet members and Republican leaders “nodding approvingly’ and “applauding on cue.”
“It reeks of pure show business,” the psychiatrist noted.
A carefully staged Trump speech on agriculture policy Monday was not covered live by most cable channels. Instead, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Nicole Wallace of MSNBC focused on Fire and Fury, Michael Wolffe’s book what raises serious questions about chaos in the White House and worries about Trump’s lack of focus and mental lapses.
Worried Trump aides say the White House, as usual, does not appear to have a developed communications strategy on how to deal with increased questions about the president’s mental problems.
“When you raise an issue like the mental acuity of the president, there is no organized effort to push back,” says one ally. “That lack of coordination raises the question: ‘Are the concerns based on real worries?'”
Talking points from the Republican National Committee focus on attempts to discredit Wolff and his book but does not offer a single answer about Trump’s fitness to be a president.
Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and inauguration chairman calls Trump’s style is “management by controlled and orchestrated chaos” but claims such a style is “mental instability.”
Other aides grumble that Trump’s Twitter addiction makes it harder to defend him.
“If he would stop typing out often coherent tweeks it would make it easier to defend him,” says one White House aide, “but most of the time, none of us has the foggiest idea what he is going to say in his attacks and then we have to play catch up and find a way to straighten things out. The president is his own worst enemy.”
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