President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to defend his mental state against a flurry of anecdotes and attacks stemming from journalist Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, an insider account of the first year of the Trump presidency.
“Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump wrote in part.
Trump cited as evidence his accomplishments in business and entertainment, as well as his ascent to the Presidency “on my first try.”
Wolff’s book includes a variety of behind-the-scenes stories that paint Trump as, at best, distracted and unfocused. The book incorporates substantial information from former campaign manager Steve Bannon, including an on-the-record remark describing a Trump campaign meeting with Russian lawyers as “treasonous.” It also quotes Fox News head Rupert Murdoch referring to Trump as “a f–king idiot.”
However, Wolff has been accused of questionable journalistic practices in the past, and Trump and his allies have sought to undermine the book’s claims and halt its release. But Bannon has not retracted his statements, leading to a dramatic rift with both Trump, and Bannon’s financial backers.
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Trump prefaced his defenses by writing that his opponents in politics and the media “are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook” by questioning his mental stability.
Rumors that Reagan was struggling with some sort of mental handicap hung over much of his presidency. Reagan was ultimately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years after leaving office. Reagan’s son, Ron Reagan, later stated he had seen signs of mental decline while his father was in office.
In 1981, Reagan became the oldest person to begin a first presidential term, at age 69. Trump supplanted that landmark when he took the oath of office last January, at age 70.