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Forget Joe Biden: Is Donald Trump in Cognitive Decline?

Donald Trump
By Gage Skidmore: President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Donald Trump: Could Be in Mental Decline Too – Much has been made about accusations that President Joe Biden’s mental cognition is in decline. He has exhibited plenty of misstatements, speech that doesn’t make sense, illogical tall tales, and situations in which he looks lost on stage.

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But what about Donald Trump and his mental acuity?

Is he also going downhill and exhibiting symptoms of mental health maladies?

Donald Trump Struggles with Oral Communication

Donald Trump has shown in some speeches since he left the White House a propensity to wander, and he lacks a coherent logical track to some of his pronouncements.

Nine months ago on a podcast, Donald Trump was asked about his views on the war in Ukraine. He ended up talking about windmills during the rest of the interview.

In 2021, I saw Trump give the keynote speech at CPAC Texas, and he was meandering all over the place.

In rallies, he often speaks coherently without notes and covers many grievances, but his speech in Dallas to the attendees at the conservative conference made little sense to me.

Body Fat Leading to Brain Problems?

This type of speech pattern may be because of Trump’s unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and obesity, according to Dr. Gary Wenk writing in Psychology Today.

Wenk believes there is evidence that Trump’s hefty frame and high body mass index could lead to his aging brain. This may hamper his cognition and could lead to dementia.

“Mind-wandering, confusion, and a reduced ability to organize and focus thoughts are classic early symptoms of dementia, Wenk wrote. Trump’s obesity may exacerbate this condition. Wenk believes that people like Trump who are overweight can experience an inflammation of the brain that leads to less than stellar brain functioning and cognitive decline. There have been scientific studies on this condition.

Donald Trump: His Speech Was Sharper Years Ago 

The news source STAT which looks at life science analysis and health policy conducted a study in which they took a sample of his media appearances and statements from decades ago and compared them to what he has said while president.

STAT then showed the findings of their speech analysis from Trump to psychologists, psychiatrists, and those who practice neurolinguistics. STAT revealed that “they all agreed there had been a deterioration, and some said it could reflect changes in the health of Trump’s brain.”

Slurring Speech and Perhaps Hiding Trembling Hands

In 2018, the Atlantic’s James Hambling speculated that Trump was having neurological problems.

The evidence Hambling uncovered was unscientific, but he gave examples of Trump’s unsteady hands, and slurring of words during public speaking. Trump has drank water holding cups with two hands that appeared to show he was hiding a tremble or shake. His voice sounded different too.

Hambling interviewed neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta and Gupta said there were times when Trump slurred his words.

Did Donald Trump Lose It in 2020?

Others complained about Trump’s mental state after the 2020 election when Trump was obsessed that the election had been stolen from him.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley was so concerned with Trump’s mental health that he told his staff that Donald Trump was going into serious decline, according to the book Peril on the Trump presidency by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Milley is obviously no health professional, but he did notice a change for the worse exhibited by Trump’s “manic” behavior at the time.

He Is Getting Older

Donald Trump is 76 and would be 78 if he was re-elected and sworn in by 2025. It stands to reason that he is not as sharp as he was when he was in his forties and fifties. The doctors interviewed by STAT have not personally examined Donald Trump in a way that allows them to officially diagnose the former president with mental acuity problems. They just unscientifically looked at his old interviews. To really diagnose Trump with any brain malady he would have to be hospitalized and observed for a significant period of time where doctors could administer a battery of tests. It would only be fair if Joe Biden went through a similar evaluation.

Is All This Speculation Overblown?

So, Trump’s alleged cognitive problems are mostly speculation from afar.

It appears to me that at least parts of one speech I observed did not make sense, but this does not mean Trump is in mental decline. I am not qualified to evaluate him. Maybe he was just having a bad day. He has appeared to slur his words which is curious, and he sometimes gives answers that are bizarrely off topic.

He does look to have a paunchy belly which could signal he is overweight, but it is not definitely proven that his weight could lead to deteriorating brain functioning. However, alleged health problems are another reason why the public is not excited that Biden and Trump may have a rematch. They both have lost a step doing the most difficult leadership job in the world. This is not good for the future of the country.

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.



  1. Michael Robinson-Williams

    January 10, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Both parties, the former POSTUS and our present POTUS are aged men who have done what they could to further their ideology of what America needs. At this time in our history, we need leadership that will not divide but unite us as a country that has a true vision for the economy, education, mental and healthcare systems, social disparities, diseases affecting most nations, the world alliances and the general well-being of peace here in the USA first and foremost.

  2. Liz Williams

    January 10, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    It is notable that Joe Biden has always stuttered. Sometimes his word stumbles are nothing but a little stuttering. As long as I’ve heard Joe, he has these long stories. I can understand the context as far as who he is speaking to, almost like Grandpa Joe. Most of us do slow down as we age.
    The true cognitive decline, trembling, holding a cup with 2 hands is concerning for Trump. I hope he has that checked out.

  3. GhostTomahawk

    January 10, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    @Liz. How eager you are to excuse our overlook what is obvious to all of us about Joe Biden. What about shaking hands with air? Walking around lost. The way he walks and shuffles his feet while looking down. How about how Jill Biden having to guide him holding his arm

    Joe was done in 2020 which is why he was hidden from the public.

    Is Donald Trump declining? I’m sure. He’s closing in on 80. Which is why America needs to expel its geriatric leadership for younger healthier sharper Americans to serve who are in their prime.

  4. William Huffer

    January 11, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Cognitive decline is not only caused by amyloid deposits on brain tissue and the cumulative effects of improper lifetime diet choices, but also by the decline in effectively physical, mental, and intellectual activity which serves as the clothesline and underlying fountain of any person’s ability to entertain, develop, innovate and change the present world perceptions and effectively plan for future conditionality. The results of candidates’ brain scans should be public knowledge, as well as their individual efforts to maintain and develop greater mental acuity, as well as the content and depth of their thought and ability to self-examine its consequences. Simply put, if a leader cannot think deeply and understand correctly the things of the present, he or she cannot develop correct insight and be adequately equipped to project and proclaim a vision for the future. Thus, the first prerequisite of any effective leader is intellectual honesty and the ability to self-discern personal betrayal. Politics is all about getting what you want, not what you need. This is the inherent flaw, and the trap into which people who are not intellectually honest and morally corrupt easily fall. We need younger, more responsible people, especially women and minorities to change the prevailing milieu.

  5. art salas

    January 11, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    you all talking about sloppy Joe

  6. Dave Nelson

    January 12, 2023 at 12:53 am

    If my memory serves, Trump’s father was diagnosed w/ dementia at age 72.

    IMO Trump’s brain already makes him unqualified to return to the White House. He is deep into the Narcissistic Personalty Disorder. Such persons will ALWAYS put their own self image ahead of EVERYTHING, and that includes our Constitution. They have no loyalty to any person, will lie with abandon whenever it serves their purpose and have no regrets about any of the awful things they do.

    That is because EVERYONE is expected to be fawning and serve the Narcissist — just look at the MAGA people., duped, every one of them.

  7. Dave Nelson

    January 12, 2023 at 12:54 am

    What Michael Robinson-Williams wrote, to which I’ll add clarifying point: Let us NOT elect anyone over the age of 60.

  8. Allie

    January 12, 2023 at 11:17 am

    And the same claim can be made about tRump. He is even worse than Biden

  9. hermina deason

    January 12, 2023 at 3:42 pm


  10. Jim G

    January 12, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    Joe Biden signed on to do one thing and one thing only… defeat Trump… and he did that. All this other stuff is part of the DNC’s wish list. They (DNC) knew it was a short term fix… they should have been developing the next battle plan, developing a New Leader… Plain and simply…Getting Ready. but no…
    “We’re” (all Americans) blowing it. This is a chance to fix this thing of our’s… this thing called America. Like the song says… “they tore down Paradise and put up a parking lot”…
    Don’t destroy what We got…

  11. Marcin Godziejewski

    January 13, 2023 at 10:51 am

    fat shaming how dare you

  12. darksnark

    January 13, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    This title is actually a question?

  13. J Williams

    January 15, 2023 at 9:59 am

    Corporations show the door to senior execs when they turn 60 siting cognitive decline. We are given octogenarians to vote for because ‘its their turn’. McConnell, Pelosi and the rest of the old people in congress should retire to their million dollar compounds and let younger people try to fix what their ‘in cognative decline brains’ have done to this country.

  14. Richard C Combes

    January 15, 2023 at 10:09 am

    Start with, “We are going to build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it”.

    I see no decline at all.

  15. Marlene Schaefer

    January 15, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    I believe it is time to restore our nation to stability and let voters
    be able to choose a candidate who is mentally stable and qualified to
    make decisions favorable to our nation, rather than advantageous to a political party or factions of a political party. Perhaps a candidate
    for each party who exhibits new ideals and a willingness to move our
    nation forward.

  16. Michael

    January 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Hermina you type with all Cap’s and your spelling is that of a 4th grader. Yet I’m sure you think people should take your post seriously. It goes to show the Maga folks are just like the guy they all fall all over. Look no further then those interviewed at Maga rallies. They prove how easily it must of been to put Hitler in power with Propaganda and absolutely insane narratives. I suggest less whiskey and more sleep Buddy.

  17. MauiPat

    January 15, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    I’m sure by now everyone is aware what covid does to the brain. So there’s that.

  18. John Zeigler AuD

    January 16, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    We NEED younger – stronger – healthy – leadership in the USA. Fight for term limits… the Presidency is NOT the only office that has been just awful. AMERICA – wake up! Vote for and demand term limits NOW!

  19. Northwest_Lighthouse

    January 17, 2023 at 1:14 am

    Age is simply a number for most of us. It doesn’t say whether someone is intelligent or not, capable or not. It is simply a collected accumulation of trips around the sun. If we judge our representatives by some arbitrary standard (that we would never stand for ourselves) in order to limit them in some way, we are not electing our representatives, but only our biases (which may be the case, either way.)

    The complaints about choices offered in an election may be valid for some. These are typically people who only participate in the process at the voting booth, and not in the earlier stages of seeking out better prospective candidates locally before the party bosses usurp the process with their cronies. It’s better to get your voice in early – before the ballots are printed – to make a field of candidates who actually represent the people of a district, and not a valueless party system. Term limits may help, but providing better candidates is still the real answer.

    Let’s also stop supporting Party candidates. Period. Change your voter affiliation to No Party Preference in your state and decrease the influence parties have on the process. People may be taught that we have a Two-Party System in this country, but that’s not true. The Constitution makes NO mention of parties anywhere. Before you blame the candidates, blame the parties behind them.

    And read what the Constitution says with regard to the roles of Congress and the President. Let’s stop looking at the President as if he/she is some kind of monarch. Current Republicans in particular seem bent on making the President a law giver, judge, and emperor all in one, who won’t do anything in our government without making sure the Boss likes it. It’s not what America is about and we need to get rid of these people.

  20. Stephen

    January 17, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I believe this was written as an unbiased and evenly tempered article. I appreciate the clarification that there have been no certified tests done by the interviewees; as well as the suggestion that it would be necessary to test both persons in a controlled setting before we could be sure.

    I think there is something to be said about old age. People get old and they can’t do what they used to. This article is taking that into account and not pointing unwarranted fingers at anyone. I agree that it’s time we find some younger leaders to fill this role.

  21. John S

    January 17, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    Elections have evolved from voting for the best to voting for the most popular. This fuels division. The American Psychiatric Association has been pushing for YEARS to have at least screening cognitive capacity for the most powerful person in the world. As noted below, former POTUS demonstrates many of the diagnostic behaviors of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD). If I had to choose a dementia type to lead the free world, I would pick Alzheimer’s every day. In early to mid-stages, they are much more redirectable, take advice and defer to others they perceive as knowledgeable. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is much more stubborn, impulsive, impaired ability to process potential consequences or plan. Add malignant narcissism and you hear “I know more than the generals.” Or “The scientists are surprised how much I know about viruses.” He is all for what makes him look good, even to the detriment of the nation’s security. (How far did he get with de-nuclearizing Korea, influence over Putin, etc.?) Remember him saying he didn’t want disabled vets in his parade because It would not be visually good for him.)
    Symptoms of FTD start gradually and progress steadily, and in some cases, rapidly. They vary from person to person, depending on the areas of the brain involved. These are common symptoms:
    • Behavior and/or dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, increased interest in sex, or a deterioration in personal hygiene habits
    • Socially inappropriate, impulsive, or repetitive behaviors
    • Impaired judgment
    • Lack of empathy
    • Decreased self awareness
    • Inability to use or understand language; this may include difficulty naming objects, expressing words, or understanding the meanings of words
    • Distractibility
    • Trouble planning and organizing
    • Frequent mood changes
    • Agitation
    • Increasing dependence
    To meet the behavioral variation, only 4 of the above are needed. He also meets the language variation including non-linear speech, intrusive ideas having nothing to do with the subject at hand.
    Most frustrating is that FTD does not have the memory deficit that Alzheimers has. Specifically, he is strong on memories that have an emotional charge, like grudges.

  22. Yvonne Comfort-Williams

    January 19, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    I am 87-year-old female who is intensly interested in politics and law. Believe me i have no desire to take charge of any political office, locally or nationally. I do however warn every one not to rush to judgement when judging we elderly folk as we can still have our uses. I want you to think of EAMON De La Vera of IRELAND who was instrumental in obtaining Independence for Eira and was well into his eighties.

  23. Tom Ato

    January 19, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    Nice way to get across your opinion with nothing to back it up. Too funny. Nice try.

  24. Edwardo

    January 19, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    I once flew F-14 then was a Navy SEAL but I knew when I could no longer do these things! The problem is that to get into upper politics requires lots of money and the people who can afford it don’t intend to give up that power! Term limits are the only answer! The ones in power now at the top will never leave and they have the ability to remain there due to money! Look at the 90year old from California!

  25. Willliam

    January 20, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    This whole podcast is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!

  26. Benjamin David Steele

    March 24, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    In Iowa, a local police chief was forced to retire at age 60 years old. It’s a state law to protect the public because a police chief is an important role. Considering that, why are so many of our present and recent presidents, Representatives, Senators, and Supreme Court Judges in their 70s and 80s? Isn’t running the country and deciding federal laws even more important than being a police chief? Why do we hold higher standards locally than we do nationally?

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