MSNBC anchor Ari Melber brought on "a Trump critic who knows the man better than most" to help decipher reports that President Donald Trump is denying the "Access Hollywood" tape. Tony Schwartz co-authored The Art of the Deal with the real estate developer.
"What does it mean when Donald Trump says the thing that he apologized for and admitted he said, was maybe a hoax?" Melber asked.
"That he is decompensating. That's a psychiatric term, but what it means in simple terms is he is losing his grip on reality," Schwartz suggested. "His reality testing is really poor and I believe that's exactly what's going on."
"You have known him for quite some time," Melber noted. "When you see Donald Trump today, when you see what he's saying that is false, is it about what you saw then or do you see a change?"
"There is a pretty dramatic change. He is more limited in his vocabulary, he is further from, as I said, this connection to what is factual and real. He is more impulsive, he is more reactive," Schwartz observed. "This is a guy in deep trouble."
"We need to be really bringing in psychiatrists because this is a man who is deeply mentally ill and literally, I know that two different people from the White House -- or at least saying they they were from the White House and it turned out to be a White House number -- who have called somebody I know in the last several weeks to say, 'we are deeply concerned about his mental health.'"
"Wait a minute," Melber interrupted. "You're saying you have knowledge of people calling from a White House line raising that question? Why would they do that? How do you know?
"I know because I know the person that they called and this is a person who I absolutely trust, who has great integrity," Schwartz answered.
"I believe there are people who are concerned," Schwartz concluded. "Most of them, I think, are hostages to a cult leader. When you watch Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you really feel as if you're watching somebody who is being brainwashed, or has been brainwashed."
"I believe what is causing his decompensation at this level is his belief that they are going to get him on Russia," Schwartz suggested. "And I think Trump is terrified of that. So he is both striking out and he is deflecting, he is in a survival state."
"I've said this before, he is in a state of fight or flight," Schwartz concluded. "You lose the capacity to reflect and think rationally and logically and you simply lash out and react in an attempt to defend yourself. What he is defending against is an inner sense of emptiness."