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Forget Joe Biden: Is Donald Trump in Cognitive Decline?

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