Press: Top psychologist says Trump likely to fall off mental cliff

Whoever said it first, the words of advice usually attributed to Dale Carnegie have been around since the 1940s: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And nobody’s practicing that more today than Donald Trump. 

He complains about being slammed with so many lawsuits and denounces them as part of a “witch hunt,” but Trump is actually taking full advantage of his trials. He is turning every court appearance into an opportunity to speak to the media — even though he seldom says anything new, and sometimes what he says makes no sense at all. 

Outside a New York courtroom last week, for example, Trump somberly declared: “We can’t have an election in the middle of a political season. We just had Super Tuesday, and we had a Tuesday after Tuesday already.”   

After which gobbledygook, most reporters just shook their heads as if to say “There he goes again, talking pure gibberish. But that’s just Trump being Trump.” 

But after hearing Trump denounce having “an election in the middle of a political season” (when else do you have elections?), on top of his confusing his primary opponent Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and asserting on several occasions that he was running against Barack Obama, not Joe Biden, I wondered whether he was just confused or could there be something else going on. Could Trump be losing it, mentally? 

For answers, on my podcast, the “Bill Press Pod,” I turned to one of America’s leading psychologists, Dr. John Gartner, who was professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Center for 28 years and, along with 36 other psychiatrists and mental health professionals, was a contributor to the 2017 bestselling book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” 

I was stunned by Dr. Gartner’s professional analysis. 

First, I asked Gartner whether he perceived any difference between the cognitive ability of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Absolutely, he replied. “It’s like comparing apples and rotten oranges.” It’s not just a case of two old men roughly the same age, both showing signs of diminishing sharpness of the mind, Gartner stressed. There’s a huge difference between the two, he said. He could not have put it more clearly: “Biden is aging. Trump is dementing.” 

As a mental health professional, Gartner’s been observing Trump for years, I noted. Has he seen any diminishment in mental acuity, I asked. Totally, he replied. When he first wrote about Trump in 2017, Gartner was talking about intermittent examples of mental collapse. “Now,” he said, “he is getting worse. He can’t get through a whole rally without revealing himself. And, because this is a progressive illness, he will continue to get worse. And if he is like most patients like this, at some point, he is literally going to fall off the cognitive cliff and he will be completely incapacitated.”  

“Do you think he’s close to the edge?” I asked. And here’s where Gartner stunned me. “I am certain that if he is reelected,” Gartner said, “he will become cognitively incapacitated. There’s no way at the rate of deterioration that he’s showing that he can make it through four more years without falling off the cliff.” 

Woah! A top psychologist says that Donald Trump will be “cognitively incapacitated” in less than four years. Maybe Nikki Haley was right in calling for all candidates over 75 to a mental competency test. Certainly, Americans should know if a candidate’s likely to die of cancer in the next four years. They also deserve to know if a candidate’s likely to fall off the mental cliff. 

Press hosts “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”  

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