Because President Donald Trump has been spotted holding water bottles a few times with both hands, a committee should be formed to examine his brain in order to make recommendations about his removal from office via the 25th Amendment. Such is the fantasy of one James Hamblin, a senior editor at Atlantic magazine who, perhaps, should have his brain examined for proposing such a nutty idea.
Hamblin even analyzed Trump's speech patterns when he was interviewed years ago by Larry King and Oprah to make the determination for brain analysis by committee. This bizarre proposal comes as no real surprise since several months ago Hamblin proposed that we give up beef for beans in order to reduce climate change. Hamblin's latest idea is equally as full of flatulence as we shall see in Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump?
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Trump’s grandiosity and impulsivity has made him a constant subject of speculation among those concerned with his mental health. But after more than a year of talking to doctors and researchers about whether and how the cognitive sciences could offer a lens to explain Trump’s behavior, I’ve come to believe there should be a role for professional evaluation beyond speculating from afar.
I’m not alone. Viewers of Trump’s recent speeches have begun noticing minor abnormalities in his movements. In November, he used his free hand to steady a small Fiji bottle as he brought it to his mouth. Onlookers described the movement as “awkward” and made jokes about hand size. Some called out Trump for doing the exact thing he had mocked Senator Marco Rubio for during the presidential primary—conspicuously drinking water during a speech.
Case closed! Immediate removal from office via 25th Amendment due to awkward water bottle handling.
Then in December, speaking about his national-security plan in Washington, D.C., Trump reached under his podium and grabbed a glass with both hands. This time he kept them on the glass the entire time he drank, and as he put the glass down. This drew even more attention. The gesture was like that of an extremely cold person cradling a mug of cocoa. Some viewers likened him to a child just learning to handle a cup.
Aha! Solid evidence for his removal from office in contrast to the fact-free Russia collusion theory.
Then there was an incident of slurred speech. Announcing the relocation of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a dramatic foreign-policy move—Trump became difficult to understand at a phonetic level, which did little to reassure many observers of the soundness of his decision.
Just one incident of slurred speech is enough to go through the emotions of examining his brain before 25 Amendmenting him out of office.
Though these moments could be inconsequential, they call attention to the alarming absence of a system to evaluate elected officials’ fitness for office—to reassure concerned citizens that the “leader of the free world” is not cognitively impaired, and on a path of continuous decline.
Especially if such a leader is a Republican.
After age 40, the brain decreases in volume by about 5 percent every decade. The most noticeable loss is in the frontal lobes. These control motor functioning of the sort that would direct a hand to a cup and a cup to the mouth in one fluid motion—in most cases without even looking at the cup.
You cannot be president if you are unable to take a drink from a water bottle in one fuid motion. Oh, and also if you are a Republican.
Hamblin then analyzes Trump's speech patterns from thirty years ago during interviews with Larry King and Oprah in comparison with today and concludes possible dementia...or even Alzheimer's:
Though it is not possible to diagnose a person with dementia based on speech patterns alone, these are the sorts of changes that appear in early stages of Alzheimer’s. Trump has likened himself to Ronald Reagan, and the changes in Trump’s speech evoke those seen in the late president. Reagan announced his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 1994, but there was evidence of linguistic change over the course of his presidency that experts have argued was indicative of early decline. His grammar worsened, and his sentences were more often incomplete. He came to rely ever more on vague and simple words: indefinite nouns and “low imageability” verbs like have, go, and get.
Finally, Hamblin's solution to the water bottle handling and linguistic change problem--- A presidential fitness committee run like the Congressional Budget Office:
A presidential-fitness committee—of the sort that Carter and others propose, consisting of nonpartisan medical and psychological experts—could exist in a capacity similar to the Congressional Budget Office. It could regularly assess the president’s neurologic status and give a battery of cognitive tests to assess judgment, recall, decision-making, attention—the sorts of tests that might help a school system assess whether a child is suited to a particular grade level or classroom—and make the results available.
Such a panel need not have the power to unseat a president, to undo a democratic election, no matter the severity of illness. Even if every member deemed a president so impaired as to be unfit to execute the duties of the office, the role of the committee would end with the issuing of that statement. Acting on that information—or ignoring or disparaging it—would be up to the people and their elected officials.
And we pretty much already know how such a committee loaded with Trump deranged loons would rule.
Much more interesting than examining Trump's brain would be to place electrodes all over the head of one James Hamblin and analyze the jump in brain waves whenever the name of Trump is mentioned.