Evidence of Donald Trump’s dementia is ‘overwhelming’, says leading psychiatrist

There is “overwhelming” evidence that Donald Trump suffers from dementia, a leading psychiatrist has claimed, amid speculation about the former president’s mental health.

Dr. Lance Dodes, supervising analyst emeritus of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and retired professor at Harvard Medical School, was among those cited recently by Duty To Warn, which describes itself as an association of mental health professionals concerned about Trump .

“Unlike normal aging, which is characterized by forgetting names or words, Trump repeatedly shows something very different: confusion about reality,” he wrote in a statement released Friday, referring to Trump’s confusion with Barack Obama with Joe Biden.

“If he were to become president, he should be immediately removed from office by the 25th Amendment because he could not fulfill the responsibilities of the office,” added Dodes, who is also a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, citing the 1967 mechanism that allows a president to be removed due to incapacity.

Donald Trump speaks to supporters on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio. Several mental health professionals have claimed that he is showing signs of dementia.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

In another statement released at the same time, New York psychologist Suzanne Lachmann said Trump, 77, would “seemingly forget how the sentence started and make something up in the middle” resulting in “an incomprehensible word salad.” , a behavior that, according to her, is “frequently observed in patients with dementia”.

Meanwhile, John Gartner, a psychologist and former professor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, has defended Biden’s forgetfulness as a natural sign of his age, but he authored a petition that argues that Trump “is showing unmistakable signs strongly suggestive of dementia.”

She wrote in early March that the former president was showing “progressive deterioration in memory, thinking, ability to use language, behavior, and gross and fine motor skills,” adding that she felt “an ethical obligation to “warn the public, and urge the media to cover this national emergency”.

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said Newsweek: “Joe Biden clearly suffers from cognitive decline and has been unable to answer the first five questions of a cognitive test or any other test.

“President Trump has passed this test twice and is willing to take a third test if Joe Biden sits in the same room and takes it at the same time. In fact, President Trump believes that all presidents should take the proof”.

All three mental health professionals have previously been critical of the former president’s mental state. Lachmann was among the defenders of Gartner’s petition, while Dodes and Gartner were among the authors of a 2017 book The dangerous case of Donald Trumpwho raised concerns about his mental health during his first term.

Other Trump critics have also questioned the former president’s mental health. His niece, Mary Trump, has previously claimed that her uncle was persuasive in his youth but now showed signs of “untreated psychiatric disorders”.

The latest concerns come as Biden, Trump’s likely presidential challenger in November, has faced constant questions about his age and mental acuity over a series of public gaffes, which Republicans have used to imply that Biden is not is eligible to continue as president for another term.

Biden, the longest-serving U.S. president in history, would turn 82 weeks after Election Day; and if elected, he would have 86 by the end of his second term. But the president has dismissed inquiries about his physical and mental health, telling a press conference in February that “his memory is fine” and “I know what the hell I’m doing.”

Both he and Trump have received relatively clean bills of health from their respective doctors. In a November letter, Dr. Bruce Aronwald said Trump’s “general health is excellent” and that “his cognitive tests were outstanding.”

Trump has boasted that he has “passed” cognitive tests on more than one occasion. While speaking on Fox News in January, Trump addressed Republican rival Nikki Haley’s suggestion that her age was affecting cognition by challenging her to compare cognitive tests.

“I think I’m a lot sharper than she is,” Trump said. “I would do this: I would sit down right now and take an aptitude test, and it would be my result against her result. And she’s not going to win. I’m not even going to be close to winning.”

But as the election nears, a growing number of critics of Trump and Biden are likely to speak out against running for the presidency for a second time because of their alleged cognitive problems.

Update 3/20/24, 10:22 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Jason Miller.