Trump, Dementia, Collective Pathology

Faces of Donald Trump

This is the most detailed and devastating critique of Trump I have seen in a while. It turned up on Quora, but since we can’t link to it, I’m quoting it here.

By Mike Burch / Works at Alpha Omega Consulting Group (company)

Will Trump last until the election? He seems to be deteriorating much faster than Biden.

Trump has been deteriorating rapidly and large numbers of mental health experts have said so. For example… According to psychologist Dr. John Gartner, a professor for 28 years at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Trump’s mispronunciations of simple words and his inability to formulate complete sentences appear to be signs of growing dementia. And Dr. Gartner is by no means the Lone Ranger:

  • A petition for licensed medical professionals had 1,867 signaturesthe last time I checked, with 92 new signatures on 3–27–2024 alone. The signers agree that “From our years of training and experience, we are convinced that, while a definitive diagnosis would require further testing, Donald Trump is showing unmistakable signs strongly suggesting dementia, based on his public behavior and informant reports that show progressive deterioration in memory, thinking, ability to use language, behavior, and both gross and fine motor skills.” The signers agree that:
    • Trump “shows a shocking decline in verbal fluencyfrom his previous baseline.”
    • “People who worked closely with Trump during his administration are reporting a shocking deteriorationin just 4 years.”
    • Trump has repeatedly confused people and generations and the Dementia Care Society says “confusing people and generations” is a sign of advanced dementia. Examples of Trump confusing people, including members of his own family, and generations are provided herein.
  • Over 700 mental health expertssubmitted a petition to Congress warning of Trump’s declining mental health.
  • The Duty to Warn Coalition is an association of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals who have concluded that Trump is psychologically unfit to be president and that they have an ethical responsibility to inform the public of the danger he represents.
  • Lance Dodes, a supervising analyst emeritus of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and a retired Harvard Medical School professor, said there is “overwhelming evidence” that Trump is suffering from dementia because he repeatedly shows “confusion about reality.” There are many examples of such confusion herein.
  • Justin Frank, a former Professor of Psychiatry at George Washington Medical School and author of Trump on the Couch, told David Pakman that Trump is showing signs of early frontotemporal dementia such as sniffingwhile talking, slurring his words, repeating himself, “word-finding” (hunting for the right word and sometimes not finding it, as when Trump meant to say “three years later” but nonsensically said, “three years lady lady lady”), and shaking his shoulders when he can’t produce the correct word. Such symptoms begin to occur in a dementia patient’s late sixties and seventies, so Trump fits the profile.
  • New York psychologist Suzanne Lachmann said Trump will “seemingly forget how the sentence began and invent something in the middle” resulting in “an incomprehensible word salad”—a behavior observed “frequently in patients who have dementia.”
  • Vincent Greenwood, executive director of the Washington Center For Cognitive Therapy, says Trump is showing “confusion with increasing regularity.” Greenwood told Salonthat “We all stumble over and mispronounce words occasionally. This is not what is going on with Trump. The incidence of these kinds of mistakes takes him into this realm of phonemic paraphasia, which is a sign of underlying brain damage, not just aging. Even when compared to his speech of a few years ago, you can observe a noticeable difference. When you compare it to his speech as a middle-aged man, the shift is radical and ominous.”
  • Amanda Marcotte of Salonsaid, “It’s getting harder by the day to ignore that 77-year-old Donald Trump is decompensating rapidly. He wasn’t all that healthy or coherent to begin with, but lately, watching him speak one has the feel of getting cornered by the weird creep at the nursing home.”
  • Harry Segal, a senior lecturer at Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical School, has recommended that Trump should withdraw from the 2024 election and seek immediate medical help.

In an interview with Chauncey DeVega of Salon, Dr. Gartner observed that Trump is showing “gross signs of dementia” and is “dangerously demented.” It bears noting that dementia is hereditary and Trump’s father, Fred Trump, died with severe dementia unable to identify members of his own family.

Dr. Gartner told DeVega that Joe Biden’s occasional gaffes “are well within the normal limits of aging.” Trump, however, appears to be showing gross signs of dementia. This is what Dr. Gartner told DeVega, verbatim:

I had to speak out now because the 2024 election might turn on this issue of who is cognitively capable: Biden or Trump? It’s a major issue that will affect some people’s votes. Not enough people are sounding the alarm, that based on his behavior, and in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented. In fact, we are seeing the opposite among too many in the news media, the political leaders and among the public. There is also this focus on Biden’s gaffes or other things that are well within the normal limits of aging. By comparison, Trump appears to be showing gross signs of dementia. This is a tale of two brains. Biden’s brain is aging. Trump’s brain is dementing.

DeVega said Dr. Gartner advised him that, based on Trump’s speech, memory, recall, and other behaviors, he appears to be “hypomanic” and “cognitively deteriorating at a rapid rate.”

Dr. Gartner also told DeVega that “the diagnostic signs are not subtle” and would be obvious to laypeople.

Dr. Gartner has noted that during his speeches Trump appears to be spiraling into “phonemic paraphasias” which means “the substitution of non-words for words that sound similar.” Such symptoms “are not normally seen until a patient enters the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Gartner told John Iadarola of The Damage Report that phonemic paraphasias is always evidence of brain damage. ALWAYS.

In an interview on the David Pakman Show, Dr. Gartner said that he consulted other mental health experts and they all agreed that no one commits such “phonemic paraphrases” without brain damage. When he asked other experts if they had ever seen such non-word pronunciations in people without brain damage, “They said ‘no.’”

Dr. Gartner called Trump’s inability to pronounce simple words or to complete coherent sentences a “neurological smoking gun” and a “real breakdown in the capacity to think and use language.”

Such symptoms, according to Dr. Gartner, are “formal evidence of dementia.”

In his interview with Pakman, Dr. Gartner called what Trump is experiencing a “basic breakdown” in his ability to use language to express his thoughts.

Dr. Gartner also described “enormous regression” in Trump’s ability to express himself. He furthermore noted that Trump’s repeated used of superlatives is a sign of dementia, an indication of his “impoverished vocabulary.” Rather than finding more appropriate adjectives, Trump’s malfunctioning brain keeps coming up with “wonderful” and “beautiful” even when such terms are completely inappropriate. For instance, Trump called Vladimir Putin’s excuse for invading Ukraine and mass-murdering Ukrainian children and their mothers “wonderful.”

This is how Dr. Gartner described what happens when Trump can’t remember a simple word:

When Trump can’t find a word his whole demeanor changes. It’s almost like someone pulled the metaphorical plug. Trump looks blank, stops in mid-sentence (or mid-word), his jaw goes a little slack, and when he starts to talk again, he slurs, speaks haltingly, and often looks confused. Trying to get the word out, he shifts to a non-word that is easier to pronounce. When people are losing their ability to use language they use non-words. They start with the stem of the real word, and then they improvise from there.

Dr. Gartner noted that Trump also exhibits “semantic paraphasia” which involves choosing the incorrect words, such as Trump saying, “I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges of that investigation.”

Another sign of dementia goes beyond forgetting and mixing up names, to mixing up “generations.” The Dementia Care Society says “mixing up people and generations” is a sign of dementia.

We have seen this repeatedly with Trump:

  • When Trump said there were “airports” during the Revolutionary War.
  • When Trump said we are in danger of entering World War II.
  • When Trump said homelessness is “a phenomenon that started two years ago.”
  • When Trump said his father was born in Germany but it was his grandfather. No member of Trump’s family has lived in Germany since 1904.
  • Michael Wolff observed that Trump frequently didn’t recognize old friends of his. That is a far cry from just forgetting or confusing their names. When my elderly mother suffered with dementia, at one point she didn’t recognize me, her eldest son. That was a flooring realization for me, a hammer blow. In my opinion, while being a layperson in this regard, the single biggest sign of dementia is not forgetting or confusing names, but having a loved one or close acquaintance replaced by a blank. And there are many such blanks in Trump’s rapidly deteriorating brain.
  • When Trump forgot his anti-immigrant agenda and told a Wisconsin audience, “If illegal aliens invade your home, we will deport you!”
  • When Trump gave great credit to Joe Biden by telling the same Wisconsin audience, “Three years ago we were a great nation.” Apparently Trump has forgotten when he left office, since Joe Biden is in the fourth year of his presidency.
  • When Trump gave great credit to Barack Obama by saying the problem with illegal immigrants entering the US was fixed in 2016. Apparently Trump has also forgotten that he became president in 2017. And of course no one has “fixed” the problem.
  • When Trump said the Twin Towers were attacked on “7-11” confusing the convenience store chain with 9-11.
  • When Trump said during a rally in Dayton that Joe Biden ran against and defeated Barack Obama: “Joe Biden won against Barack Hussein Obama, has anyone ever heard of him? Every swing state, Biden beat Obama, but in every other state, he got killed.” This isn’t just confusing two people, this is Trump’s brain making up nonsense. And quite obviously, if Biden won only the swing states he would have lost the election in a landslide. So the whole spiel is deranged.
  • When Trump said at least eight timesthat he ran against Barack Obama in 2016, or is running against him in 2024. And when he said Putin doesn’t respect Obama and is starting to talk “nuclear” as a Virginia audience fell silent in disbelief. While Trump claims such gaffes are “intentional,” we know he’s lying because during a speech in North Carolina on 3/2/2024, Trump caught his mistake and corrected it. After saying he beat Obama in 2016, in “an election that everyone said couldn’t be won,” Trump paused, then provided the correct name, saying, “We beat Hillary Clinton.” Thus his claim to be “intentionally” using the wrong name is just another Trumpian lie. I suspect Trump’s handlers have cautioned him about such slips, but he remembered too late in the NC speech.
  • When Trump said four timesthat Nikki Haley was in charge of security on Jan 6., although she had never been in charge of any kind of security outside South Carolina when she was governor there nearly a decade ago. Nor had Nancy Pelosi ever been in charge of Capitol Hill security, if that was who Trump meant. Apparently, Trump has forgotten that he was still president on Jan 6., and was thus in charge of all branches of the U.S. military, including the National Guard.
  • Trump has said, more that once, that he is running against the person who was in charge of security at the Capitol. But he is running against Nikki Haley and Joe Biden, neither of whom were in charge of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Nor was Nancy Pelosi. It is very hard to understand what is going on inside Trump’s confused and deteriorating brain. He hasn’t just confused names, and hasn’t just confused people and generations, but has confused his own lies with reality, creating “alternate” people who never really existed, like an insane person claiming to have had married Jessica Rabbit.

As Dr. Gartner pointed out to The Damage Report, a person not knowing the identity of the current president is a sign of dementia or extreme disorientation. If you were in an emergency room and couldn’t identify the current president, that would be a “very serious indicator” that something was wrong with your brain.

Trump’s “explanation” that he says Obama when means Biden “on purpose” does not explain why he thinks his father was born in Germany, or why he thinks World War II is in the future, or why he thinks there were “airports” during the Revolutionary War. Furthermore, Trump has repeatedly confused people he knows well, some intimately:

  • Melania became ‘Mercedes’ after Trump paused and apparently struggled to remember his wife’s name, then failed and came back with an approximation.
  • Trump even got his own name wrong before correcting himself: “…Donald PRUMP, Donald Trump, I love Donald Trump.” When Trump realizes that he got a word wrong, he will often repeat it, another sign of dementia.
  • Trump got the name of his latest business wrong, twice in a single sentence: “…by building something called TROTH Truth SENTIAL…”
  • Trump got the name of someone he knows well wrong, when he said “… a RINO named Mitt RHYME-KNEE, Mitt Romney…”
  • In a speech Trump said, “Secretary Pompeo is here,” then corrected himself, “Secretary of State,” but immediately got the next name wrong, “Mike Bolton, John Bolton is here.”
  • Trump said Jeb Bush, who was never president, got the US into its war with Iraq. I don’t know anyone who thinks Jeb Bush was president. He never came close. Trump shared debate platforms with Jeb Bush and knew very well who he was, at one time.
  • After once again praising the dictators Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un during a November 8 rally in Florida, Trump said Kim Jong-un leads a country of 1.4 billion people. North Korea has a population of just 26 million. Apparently, Donnie Dementia thinks Kim Jong-un is the powerful dictator of China!
  • Trump called Argentina a “great guy” who loves Trump.
  • Trump apparently forgot who the Taliban are, or doesn’t care, and praised a Taliban leader for calling Trump “your highness.”

There seems to be a very clear trend at work here, and that trend suggests a mind that is no longer functioning on all cylinders.

These are examples of Trump’s non-words and nonsensical word replacements:

  • Trump mangled his most famous catchphrase: “We have to make our country GAY…”
  • Later became LADY. — This is a glaring example because both words are very simple, easy to pronounce, and have nothing to do with each other. Trump saying “Three years LADY LADY LADY” when he meant “later” and getting the word wrong three times, is not normal, even to a layman like me. Again, Dr. Gartner, an expert, said phonemic paraphasias is alwaysevidence of brain damage.
  • Sometimes it’s impossible to understand what Trump is saying. For instance, during a speech about the coronavirus he said, “…HOLOGIC CEPHE CEPHAHIDE…”
  • At a rally in Schnecksville, PA on April 14, 2024, Trump said, “Just this week it was reported that an illegal AGGLE IN THIN” then gave up trying to say the simple word “alien” as if it were impossible for him. Trump also said that as a country we show “great WEEKNICKS” rather than “weakness.”
  • Another string of non-words: “Saudi-Arabian-Russia will ‘reeh-ferh-uhr-ahhh’…” This word salad or melange caused Stephen Colbert to observe that “Trump can’t even say the word ‘Russia’ without climaxing.”
  • Sometimes Trump uses real words but they make no sense: “This is not about VIRTUE CYCLING and SIGNING…”
  • Stock market became SLOCK ROCKET. During this speech Trump paused, then came back with the correct term. So at times he catches his mistakes and corrects them, but usually not.
  • Trump sometimes creates strings of non-words: “Americans of all walks of LICE ROFE UP, rose up.”
  • Another correction: “Michigan gave us MOTANG, gave us Motown…”
  • Trump confuses words that no one with a normal brain would confuse: “They sacrificed every day for the FURNITURE, future.”
  • Also, “If you care about law and AUTO, law and order…”
  • Sometimes Trump can’t get a word right even when he realizes that he mispronounced it: “When they gazed upon YO SEMITES, YO SEMINITES…”
  • Also, “… AN ENOMOUS, AN OMINOUS gutless coward…”
  • Entire sentences can make no sense: “They delivered a swift and SWOOP SWEEPING it was swift and it was sweeping like nobody’s ever seen anything happen.”
  • Simple words become non-words: “Mayhem will not be TOLERITED any longer.”
  • Parental consent became PARENTAL CONSULT.
  • In a speech Trump said “Last year alone ICE ‘offices’ removed 10,000 ‘suspesdig’ gang members.”
  • Trump particularly struggles with Venezuela, which at various times became:
    • ‘Ven-esh-wail-uh’
    • ‘Ven-ez-wail-lass’
    • ‘Ven-ez-wellzso’
    • ‘Ven-ez-wellez’
    • or just “Venez-’ followed by silence.
    • At one rally Trump produced this word salad: “in Venezuela the you ‘gee cee Maduro Ven-ez-uerah’ uh, uh, unbelievable!”
  • Trump started a speech with gibberish: “And let me begin by wishing you a ‘beyootifool-ehh-gluck’…”
  • Trump said a soldier was awarded the “combat INFANTROOPEN badge” when he meant “infantryman.”
  • Trump said, “I’ve had more investigations than Jesse James and Billy the COULD.”
  • Trump said, “No more DROK BOK, drop boxes…”
  • Beneficiaries became ‘benefishers.’
  • Plasma became ‘plozma.’
  • Bipartisan solutions became ‘bipartis solushus.’
  • “As bad as it is” became “azzbadidtizz.’
  • Armed forces became ‘forcive’ and ‘forshuh.’
  • Applicable became ‘appliculbulls.’
  • Renovations became ‘renoversh.’
  • Pivotal became ‘pivvittable.’
  • Lawmakers became ‘lawmarkers’ more than once.
  • Obama became ‘Obamna.’
  • FDR became “Franklin ‘De-lay-no’ Roosevelt.”
  • Missiles became ‘mishiz.’
  • Supply chain became ‘supply chern.’
  • Christmas became ‘Crissus’ and “the ‘eastwisemen’ traveled (pause as if recognizing his mistake) far, far (pause) afield.”
  • Sometimes it’s impossible to understand what Trump is trying to say:
    • “Enen they announced there was no by yesno.” (Some sort of vote?)
    • “Our army man the amp, it ‘ranned’ the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything!” (During the Revolutionary War, our army took over nonexistent airports, manned the amp (amplifier?), and did something, who knows what, to the ramparts.)
  • Bipartisan became ‘bipars.’

According to Dr. Gartner, “This is a fundamental breakdown in the ability to use language. If you were talking to your father on the phone and he did this, you would think he is having a stroke. There is no healthy older person who speaks that way.”

In his Pakman interview, Dr. Gartner said such mispronunciations, in which the stem of the word is used, but the demented mind comes up with a nonsensical non-word ending, is “hard clinical evidence of brain damage.”

There is no guesswork involved. Trump has brain damage, and it’s getting worse, rapidly.

In the comments Paul Peterson noted:

Good update. Yes, this also supports Wernicke-Korsakoff “Frontotemporal dementia”, with “confabulation” endings to sentences, where “angry bird” words are filled in, from Amygdala cache memory.

Another symptom of dementia is tangential speech, or confabulation, and no one in my experience has ever been more tangential, or more “rambling” in incoherent ways, than Trump.

An example, one of many, of Trump’s rambling confabulations, is his rant about magnets. Trump ranted that the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier should have used “John Deere” hydraulics rather than electromagnetic elevators and catapults. Trump concluded his confabulated rant by saying: “Think of it, magnets. Now all I know about magnets is this, give me a glass of water, let me drop it on the magnets, that’s the end of the magnets. Why didn’t they use John Deere? Why didn’t they bring in the John Deere people? Do you like John Deere? I like John Deere.”

Of course water does not destroy magnets nor demagnetize them. Magnets can be used underwater. I am unaware of John Deere having anything to do with aircraft carrier elevators or catapults. I rather doubt that an ultra-sophisticated American aircraft carrier is going to use tractors to haul ultra-expensive jets from storage to the flight deck. Trump makes less sense than any elderly person in my personal experience.

Trump instances of phonemic paraphasias, semantic paraphasia, tangential speech and other “doddering grandpa moments” include:

  • Trump says things that make no sense, like “We’re going to defend pro god…” then stops speaking, his face grows blank, his jaw goes slack, he looks around as if at a loss for what to say, then comes back with something completely unrelated, like “Context and content!”
  • Trump described his plan for the US missile defense system as: “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Boom. OK. Missile launch. Woosh. Boom.”
  • Such nonsensical “word salads” are increasingly common in Trump’s speeches. He seems to slip into, then back out of, coherence. And he’s more out than in, these days.
  • Trump can no longer say the name of the country he once presidented: United States became ‘United Shersh’ and ‘United Shates’ and ‘United Statshe’ and ‘United Stage.’
  • Trump said the ‘United Stage’ is a nation that’s no longer ‘respectered.’
  • Crooked Joe became ‘Cricket Joe’ and his administration became the Biden ‘administrating.’
  • Trump not only said there were airports during the Revolutionary War, but during a meeting with Justin Trudeau, he accused Canada of burning down the White House in 1812. Of course it was the British who burned Washington in 1814.
  • Trump claimed more than once that F-35s are invisible and can’t be seen: “Even if it [the enemy] is right next to it, it can’t see it.” Trump apparently doesn’t understand a plane being invisible to radar but visible to human eyes.
  • Trump said “windmills” kill whales and their noise causes cancer.
  • Trump said injecting disinfectants into the lungs would “knock out” the coronavirus “in a minute, one minute” and that it would be “almost like a cleaning.” No, it would be more like instant death.
  • Trump took allegations that Hillary Clinton “acid washed” her emails to mean that she actually poured acid on her computer! Trump thinks BleachBit, a program that clears unneeded files from disk drives, is a super-powerful “acid” that “will destroy everything within 10 miles.” OMG, what a moron! If that were true, Hillary Clinton would be a Superwoman capable of withstanding acid as powerful as a nuclear explosion!
  • Trump nonsensically said, “You can’t have an election in the middle of a political season.” After all, elections are what political seasons are all about.
  • Trump said his presidency “will bring crime back to law and order.”
  • Trump said Hungary shares a “front” with Russia, but Hungary has no border with Russia.
  • During a 2019 cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump argued that the Soviet Union “was right” to invade Afghanistan in 1979 because “terrorists were going into Russia,” an argument that is historically inaccurate. The Wall Street Journaleditorial board reacted strongly to Trump’s comments in an op-ed: “Right to be there? We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government.”
  • Trump said, “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan.” That, too, is historically inaccurate. There were many reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union and it didn’t go “bankrupt.”
  • Trump told reporters that China respects him for his “very, very large brain.”
  • Proving that his brain is not incredibly large, Trump said Puerto Rico is surrounded by “water, big water, ocean water.”
  • Trump called Hurricane Florence “one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”
  • Trump wanted to nuke hurricanes and has apparently never heard of nuclear fallout.
  • In a speech Trump claimed, “We’ve ended the war on beautiful clean coal.” Trump went on to say that a new coal mine was opening where the miners would take out “clean coal” which he explained to mean that the miners were going to clean the coal. Like washing dirty dishes, presumably. Of course there is no such thing as “clean coal.”
  • Trump not only said repeatedly that he defeated Barack Obama for the presidency in 2016, but he claimed that he won all 50 states, when he didn’t win his home state, New York, or the state with the largest population, California. Trump lost resoundingly in two of the highest population states. It wasn’t even close.
  • Trump claims he has been “treated worse” than Abraham Lincoln. The confederate states seceded from the Union after Lincoln was elected, and when the South lost the war, Lincoln was assassinated. Trump has been treated very mildly compared to Lincoln.
  • Trump has repeatedly claimed to have “aced” a “very difficult” test for cognitive impairment that any normal person can pass easily. There is nothing at all “difficult” about the test, suggesting that either Trump didn’t take it or didn’t pass it and is lying. Only the mentally impaired would consider the test “difficult.” Trump has claimed that “no one” gets “person, woman, man, camera, TV” in the correct order. Only Trump can remember five words in the proper order. According to Trump, the astonished doctors said, “That’s amazing. How did you do that?” But in the interview where Trump demonstrated his amazing one-of-a-kind ability, within less than a minute he got the order wrong, reversing the order to “man, woman.”As Dr. Gartner told Salon, “Trump is bragging about passing the MOCA, a screening test for dementia, as if it made him MENSA, when it’s a test any kindergartener should pass.”

Dr. Gartner noted several symptoms of dementia in a single Trump speech, the one before CPAC:

This weekend, Trump showed more evidence of his accelerating dementia. Trump named the wrong month for the primary, said that Putin would rather see Biden as president and he [Trump] agreed with him, and that he made Israel the capital of Israel. But most important are the fundamental breakdowns in his ability to use language. Once you become aware of a symptom, you start to notice it, whereas before you might have overlooked it.

Indeed, the symptom’s of Trump’s dementia are everywhere: in his speeches, interviews and tweets.

In his Pakman interview, Dr. Gartner said these are “clear signs of dementia” and very different from Joe Biden confusing names and dates. Gartner pointed out that at age 66 he too sometimes confuses names and dates, yet is a much better psychologist at age 66 than he was 20 years ago.

Trump is evidencing formal thought disorder, where his basic ability to use language is breaking down.

Trump also has physical symptoms according to Dr. Gartner:

These physical symptoms include a wide base to his gait, his leaning posture, and his loss of fine motor control. … In my opinion, Trump is showing a level of symptoms where no real expert would think that there is not something seriously wrong with his mind and brain.

Even before Trump began exhibiting symptoms of advanced cognitive decline, numerous mental health experts observed that he had exhibited symptoms of being a malignant narcissist, psychopath and/or sociopath, such as a lack of empathy and wildly inflated ego.

Trump has a stunning lack of awareness of his limitations. These are things he said “nobody knows” except for Trump, which means he assumes that if Trump didn’t know something, no one else could either:

  • “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”
  • “Few people have ever heard of a Category 5 [hurricane].”
  • “Nobody ever heard of a caravan.”
  • “Nobody heard of Osama bin Laden until the World Trade Center.”
  • “Nobody heard the word ‘trillion’ until 10 years ago.”
  • “Nobody had even heard of Ebola” in 2012 or 2014.
  • Trump has said that immigrants “don’t speak languages” and speak languages that “nobody speaks.” Trump seems to think that if he doesn’t speak a language, no one else can speak it.
  • Trump has claimed multiple times that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America, something Adolf Hitler said about Jews.

Other examples of Trump’s lack of awareness and/or outright dishonesty:

  • Trump has claimed that he “built the greatest economy in the history of the world” and was “the greatest jobs president God ever created.” In reality, Trump presided over the greatest American job loss since the Great Depression.
  • Trump repeatedly lied about the coronavirus while 400,000 Americans went to their graves on his watch. Trump’s lies included that the coronavirus was a hoax, just the flu, limited to a handful of people and completely under control, sure to vanish with the spring heat, etc.
  • Trump lied when he told journalists he knew nothing about $130,000 in hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. In reality, Trump had already reimbursed Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer and “fixer,” and had set up a Delaware cover company to keep the payment secret.
  • Trump repeatedly claimed a bigger, better healthcare plan was coming “in two weeks” when in reality there never was a Trump healthcare plan. Rather, Trump tried to wreck Obamacare without having a replacement plan for all the Americans he would have killed, if he had succeeded with his evil plot.
  • Trump claimed over 150 times that he got the Veterans Choice program passed after other presidents had tried and failed for years. But in reality the Veterans Choice program was passed during the presidency of Barack Obama in 2014.
  • Trump falsely claimed multiple times to have been named Michigan’s Man of the Year, when he never lived in Michigan to be eligible for the award.
  • Trump’s biggest lie is called theBIG LIE — that he won the 2020 election when in reality he lost in a Biden landslide by more than 7 million popular votes and by a 306-232 margin in the electoral college.

Trump’s lack of awareness of what is happening to him mentally is a big part of the problem:

One of the things that’s most notable is Trump’s lack of awareness when he makes these mistakes. He very rarely corrects himself or goes back, typical for someone with this kind of organic decline. Ironically, Trump boasted that “If I were cognitively impaired, I’d know it,” but actually he wouldn’t, and he doesn’t. Sometimes a patient with organic brain damage will have what we call a “catastrophic reaction,” where they suddenly realize “Oh, my God, I can’t think!” They’ll then have an anxiety attack or begin weeping because their denial has been broken through and suddenly, they realize just how serious their condition is.

Trump’s lack of awareness extends to his loose talk about “entitlements,” either not knowing or not caring what will happen to millions of less-well-off Americans if vital lifelines are cut. The pampered Prince of Entitlements, Trump callously calls for cuts while cheating on his taxes, overbilling the government, and looting the treasury. Trump claims to “love” the poorly educated, but he will take away what his base needs most: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Remember when Trump tried to destroy Obamacare without having even the germ of a replacement plan? Well, Trump told Joe Kernen in a March 11, 2024 interview that “there is a lot” that can be done to cut “entitlements,” meaning Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. First, these are not “entitlements” because they’re funded by taxes paid by working people who are increasingly poor these days and will have to rely on Social Security and Medicare simply to live in their old age. These are not entitlements, but a matter of life and death to millions of Americans. Trump told Kernen, “There’s tremendous amounts of things and numbers of things you can do” to sever those all-important, critical lifelines. Trump has shown the same sort of callous disregard for victims of school shootings, whom he declines to protect with bans on assault weapons.

Trump “love” is a very curious thing:
does he love our kids half as much as his bling?
—Michael R. Burch

MAGA is a big part of the problem, by applauding and cheering Trump’s deeply disturbed and disturbing behavior:

As for Trump’s MAGA people and other supporters, in a healthy relationship, they would become concerned for Trump and realize that what appears to be his worsening cognition and other behavior actually makes him not qualified for the presidency and that he should seek help. Instead, the worse Trump’s behavior becomes the more they seem to adore him. This is textbook collective pathology.

As a translator, editor and publisher of poems about the Holocaust, I must note that the collective pathology of Nazi Germany, in which Hitler expressed similar pathologies and received wild applause and adulation in return, led to the destruction of Germany. Ditto for Mussolini and Italy. Ditto for Hirohito and Japan. Ditto for Putin, who is in the process of destroying Russia with his murderous invasion of Ukraine.

There is invariably a severe price to be paid for adulating a psychopathic leader.

And things are only going to get worse, where Trump is concerned:

Whatever personality disorder someone has, it gets dramatically worse as their cognitive functions decline. All of Trump’s viciousness, hostility, and unpredictable and other pathological behavior is only going to get worse. In the end, Trump and the MAGA movement are a cult, and he is the leader.

But MAGA is not the only problem. The so-called “mainstream media” with its false equivalence of a mild Joe Biden gaffe to a Trump meltdown, is a big part of the problem:

I don’t want to say the mainstream media is covering up Trump’s cognitive disability, but they certainly aren’t covering it like the five-alarm fire it is. The media will show Trump being combative and saying something outrageous and his audience reacting to it — but they are consistently not showing the parts of Trump’s speeches and interviews where his eyes go blank, his jaw goes slack, he looks confused, and slurs words, uses non-words, can’t finish a sentence, rambles, perseverates, confabulates and babbles incoherently. That’s what should make the 6 o’clock news. Doesn’t the media have a duty to warn the public that the man who wants the nuclear codes back (not including the ones he probably stole) is publicly displaying unimpeachable evidence of a broken and deteriorating brain?

Yes, and a brain that was sociopathic and psychopathic to begin with, and is now getting worse and worse. Much worse.

A third critical problem is the people who will take advantage of Trump’s rapid mental decline, such as Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon.

The obvious comparison here is Ronald Reagan. I am no fan of Reagan and do not understand the worship of that man. We now have confirmation that towards the end of his presidency that he was basically senile. The United States and the world were very lucky that Reagan was surrounded, mostly, by very serious people who were institutionalists. By comparison, Donald Trump is surrounded by fascists, white supremacists, Christian nationalists, plutocrats, corporatists, and other malign actors who are going to take advantage of the situation to get what they want. That possibility — if not outright certainty — should terrify any reasonable thinking person. There will be no guardrails to Trump’s absolute most primitive, impulsive, destructive, and insane actions. There will be no pushback from within his inner circle and regime. It is certainly very possible that a person in a state of cognitive decline is in a state where they are highly vulnerable to suggestions and being manipulated by others. I can easily imagine a scenario where Trump is a figurehead and there is a real power behind the throne pulling the strings.

And so American voters are faced with a candidate for president who lies constantly; who tried to overturn the 2020 election through 62 fraudulent lawsuits, with fake electors in multiple states, and with an attempted coup; and who seems clearly psychopathic and now cannot pronounce simple words or frame coherent sentences.

When Trump can remember being president, it is having been President of the United Shersh, the United Stage, etc.

Why aren’t more mental health experts speaking out? According to Dr. Gartner there is fear of retaliation:

I’ve been reaching out to several colleagues who are real experts in this area. They were happy to share observations and diagnostic conclusions about Trump’s severe organic mental decline, privately, but even among colleagues who were once outspoken, there’s a new high level of fear, not to mention exhaustion, that we didn’t see before. Each of these experts convinced me they weren’t being paranoid when they believed there was a good chance they would lose their jobs if they went on the record, not to mention other forms of retaliation, especially for those who live in red states. … People who were enthusiastic members of “the resistance” against Trump and the MAGA movement are now saying, “I can’t do it. I’m intimidated.”

This what happens when millions of Americans support a demented sociopath. There is only one solution: to keep this demented sociopath from becoming president again, with our votes, then to begin the hard and difficult work of shoring up our system of democracy against future attacks by more competent sociopaths. — Michael R. Burch

The only realistic argument against Trump’s cognitive decline is that he never had much cognition to begin with. — Michael R. Burch



  1. don salmon on June 9, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    How does anybody still support this guy? What is the pathology there?

    • L. Cornetti on June 16, 2024 at 9:02 pm

      I can only presume that those millions who quake in his presence either a) have no grasp of the meaning of “dementia,” so consequently are incapable of foreseeing how catastrophic his occupying the WH could be, or b) don’t care if his health deteriorates to the point that he is incoherent as long as the Republicans in Congress act in accordance with their personal prejudices. Either way, we are in a very dangerous situation as long as he can be propped up and intone the proper dog whistles.

  2. Cheryl on June 13, 2024 at 9:31 am

    Our democracy needs love, light, truth and hope to survive. Trump and the GOP live in hate, darkness, lies and retribution. Vote to save our democracy. Vote for Joe Biden. God bless America!

  3. Margo Esser on June 15, 2024 at 1:56 pm

    For Heavens Sake, why would anyone vote for Trump?

  4. Gwydion Page on June 16, 2024 at 2:39 am

    This article vacillates between observations by clinicians of Trump’s mental decline and statements about Trump’s harmful political positions and dishonesty. Interspersing statements about signs of dementia with statements about objectionable policies and lies erodes the medical argument and makes the article tedious. No one is more appalled by everything about Trump than I am, but I would say that here an opportunity to make the compelling clinical case about his dementia unfortunately devolved into an off-topic political rant. Much of Trump’s malevolence is not due to his mental decline. His brain is rotting, yes, but he also has a rotten soul. And those are two different problems.

    • B Lyden on June 17, 2024 at 7:25 pm

      You are absolutely correct. It feels as if it was written by numerous people. incohesive. Ironic, if you think about it.

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