- Donald Trump insists on putting the issue of his own fitness for office right in the middle of the campaign.
- This is not going well for him.
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. Watch the clip, then watch it again: Trump even praised himself for getting extra points after remembering the five words in the correct order. Extra points. “It’s actually not that easy,” Trump said. “But for me it was easy.”
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. When Trump pulled this stunt with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace practically laughed at him. The test requires takers to correctly identify an elephant, Wallace pointed out. “It’s not the hardest test,” Wallace said. 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?