‘A national humiliation’: America mocked for Trump and his ‘shaky mental state’
President Donald Trump hugged the US flag as he arrived to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. (AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM)

President Donald Trump's focus on defending his mental stability has been a catastrophe for America during a pandemic and economic crisis.

"Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV. Sadly, I suspect I don’t need to explain what I’m referring to here. If you’re reading this, you most likely already know what these five words are: a direct quote from President Trump, who told a visibly discomfited Fox News interviewer the other night that he had aced a mental-acuity test by correctly reciting them," Susan Glasser wrote in The New Yorker.

"Yes, it has once again come to this: the President of the United States bragging—twice, just this week, in Fox interviews—that he does not have dementia and daring Joe Biden to take the same cognitive test," she explained. "But Trump’s mental state has long been the elephant in the room for Republicans, and it’s not surprising that most G.O.P. officials refuse to mention it. Yet many Republicans have—brazenly, under the circumstances—followed Trump in questioning the fitness for office of Biden, a gaffe-prone septuagenarian who would be the oldest person elected to the Presidency should he beat Trump in November. If the stakes weren’t so very, very high, the entire debate that Trump insists on having over which of our Presidential candidates is possibly senile would be exactly the sort of public car crash from which you’d want to avert your eyes. It’s a national humiliation, an embarrassment. Can’t we just make it stop?"

"But this is one of those weeks in Trump’s America that does not allow for escapism. The actual news is as bad as Trump’s shaky mental state, or worse: unemployment claims are rising again. Federal aid for the businesses and individuals hardest hit by the crisis is about to run out. Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are back above a thousand per day for the first time since early June. Cases are rising at an alarming rate across the South and West. States that have pushed and been pushed by Trump to reopen before the disease was under control are now being forced to close back up. There is inadequate testing, and unacceptable delays in processing the tests that do take place," Glasser noted. "Trump has repeatedly been asked in recent days about a national testing plan, a national mask order, a national strategy to help schools serve students safely. He has rejected all of them."

"Beyond these ever-harder-to-ignore questions about Trump’s basic fitness to handle the complexities of the Presidency, there is an entire public debate over his mental health. A preening narcissist in the best of times, Trump’s lifelong self-absorption, lack of empathy, chronic untruthfulness, and apparent inability to distinguish right from wrong have led hundreds of psychiatrists to break with their profession’s rule against diagnosis without examination and call Trump mentally ill," Glasser explained.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported Trump has been telling the story for some time, while changing the names of the objects in the test.