- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 7, 2018

Michael Wolff’s salacious tell-all book about President Trump’s first year in the White House is feeding into the narrative that the president lacks the mental fitness to hold higher office.

Democrats and members of the media harped on the book on Sunday as speculation about Mr. Trump’s intellectual capacity reached a fever pitch. Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said it has become clear that “we have a seriously flawed human being in the Oval Office.”

“Well, look, I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised by what has been revealed in the Wolff book in terms of the questions that people working closest with the president have about his capacity to do the job,” Mr. Schiff said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I don’t think there’s anyone in Congress, frankly, of either party who does not concur at least privately with those observations and concerns.”

In a tweet on Sunday, Mr. Trump dismissed the speculation as “Fake News” and compared his plight to that of Ronald Reagan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five year after he left the White House.

“I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President,” he said in the tweet. “Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!”

Mr. Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” paints a picture of the Trump White House as full of discord and infighting within the president’s inner circle.

The magazine columnist said whether to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of the president if he is deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” is a continual topic of conversation in the West Wing.

“I mean, it’s an extraordinary moment in time,” Mr. Wolff said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The last several days focused on my book I think are proof of this. This is — what happened here? What’s going on here? This is, you know, I think not an exaggeration and not unreasonable — it’s not unreasonable to say this is 25th Amendment kind of stuff.”

Several members of the Trump administration defended the president on Sunday against the account of the White House presented in the book.

White House adviser Stephen Miller called Mr. Trump a “political genius” and said Mr. Wolff’s portrayal of the president runs “contrary to reality.”

“The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction,” Mr. Miller said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And I also will say, that the author is a garbage author of a garbage book.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who said he briefs the president on an almost daily basis, dismissed the rumors as “pure fantasy.”

“Completely fit,” Mr. Pompeo said, when asked about the president’s health on “Fox News Sunday.” “I pause only because it’s such a ludicrous question. These are from people who just have not yet accepted the fact that President Trump is the United States president. And I’m sorry for them in that.”

“This is a man who is leading the United States of America and who engages with intelligence community in ways that are sophisticated,” he continued. “He deals with the most complex issues, and is handling them in a way that I have great admiration and respect for.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter, however, encouraged his media colleagues to investigate Mr. Trump’s mental stability, citing the president’s posts on social media bragging about the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal vis—vis North Korea.

“When a president of the United States threatens North Korea by invoking the size of his nuclear button, it is fair to ask about his fitness,” Mr. Stelter said Sunday on “Reliable Sources.” “If a leader of another country were to do the same thing, I think many commentators, many reporters will conclude that he is not well.”

Mr. Stelter had dismissed concerns about Hillary Clinton’s health as “conspiracy theories” during the presidential race.

CNN political analyst Van Jones said there needs to be a way to determine that the president is at least as mentally well as the military members in the nuclear chain-of-command.

“The people who are actually in charge of the nuclear arsenal have to be evaluated, but the commander-in-chief does not?” Mr. Jones asked rhetorically Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is a reasonable thing to discuss.”

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