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Reporters Ask W.H. Doctor 22 Times if Trump Is Actually Sane [Updated]

The White House press corps peppered Dr. Ronny Jackson about the president’s mental state


The White House press corps apparently wants a second opinion. 

After the president's personal physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, told reporters Tuesday he administered a physical and mental health examination -- which President Trump passed with flying colors -- the reporters nonetheless peppered the doc with follow-ups. By our count, they asked 22 questions about whether Trump is actually mentally fit for office.

CNN's Jim Acosta asked Jackson: “Just to make sure we’re clear on this. When you analyze his cognitive ability or neurological functions, that’s not the same thing as a psychiatric exam?”

“No," Jackson replied. "It’s a screening assessment for cognitive impairment.”

Jackson then explained Trump was given the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which he said can be used to rule out the need for other mental health examinations. "His overall health is excellent," Dr. Jackson said repeatedly throughout the briefing. 

Another reporter asked, "There have been some questions as part of your examine, the president's mental fitness. He's pushed back on that. Can you assess the president's mental fitness for office?"

Dr. Jackson said Trump "did well" on his cognitive exam. 

Another unsatisfied reporter tried: "There was an incident recently where the president appeared to slur his words while giving an address. Did you look into what the cause of that might have been at all?"

Dr. Jackson said Trump's use of Sudafed the day prior may have "dried up his secretions a little bit" and that caused dry mouth, which caused his speech to sound slurred. 

Another reporter tried again: "Could you just elaborate in layman's term as possible -- you did a great job with that -- what you ruled out in these cognitive tests? There have been reports that president has forgotten names, repeating himself. Are you ruling things out early onset Alzheimer's, dementia?"

When one reporter mentioned that some have called Trump a "germaphobe," Dr. Jackson said he's been known to wash his hands and use Purell, which he suggests for anyone who shakes as many hands as a person like the president.

"Any other OCD behaviors?" a reporter shot back.

One reporter wondered whether he may have missed an Alzheimer diagnosis: "Given the president’s age, he’s somewhere like where President Reagan was. Can you say that there’s scrutiny of what was overlooked at the time with president Reagan in terms of A.L.S. And things he was then known to — Alzheimer’s and things he was then know to — known to suffer from. Can you say whether the tests you ran would exclude some of those things and what the possibility of overlooking something like that would be? How can you tell the American people that this time you’re certain?"

Yet another reporter wondered if removing Trump via the 25th Amendment were still possible: "A follow-up on the philosophy of the fitness of the president; a lot of people in the country have been talking about it contemplates a group of Senate confirmed layman will see if the president will discharge the duties of the office. Given some thought during your role, on what basis would you -- this is just a philosophical question -- advise the cabinet that the president is not able to discharge his duties?"

"Do you believe he's fit for duty?" came a follow up.

Another reporter asked if Trump is not mentally unfit for office now, whether he might be in the next two years.

"I don't have a crystal ball," Dr. Jackson replied. 

"Are you part of the decision making process on handing over power to the vice president or whoever?" another reporter asked. 

Yet another reporter wondered if the mental health test was simply a way for Trump to dismiss this issue: "You say that the president was the one who requested that cognitive tests -- that it wasn't necessarily needed for someone of his age. Did you -- did he tell you why he wanted it done? There's been a lot of speculation out there about his cognitive state. Was he upset with some of that talk? What were the discussions that you had from when he told you this is why I want to do it, why did he say he wanted to do it?"

The reporter later followed up, asking if Trump was responding to a "collection of voices" when he expressed interest in the mental health exam.

Another reporter inquired into the comprehensiveness of the mental health exam. 

One nonplused reporter asked how Trump can be so healthy if he eats McDonalds. Jackson replied, "It's called genetics. I don't know. Some people have great genes. I told the president if he had a healthier diet over the next 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old."

"What is your take of doctors all across the country that they see symptoms of" dementia, another reporter asked. The doctor responded that the American Psychiatric Association has warned against this brand of "tabloid psychiatry." 

"Give us an idea of what the cognitive exam involved in that half-hour," another reporter demanded. "And does that rule out any further psychological exams?"

"Did you make any recommendations against mental burnout?" asked another. "Medication or other things?" 

Almost 50 minutes into the briefing, another reporter tried yet again: "A question about the really the exam and other mental exam. They're pretty good but they're not great for someone high functioning. They're not good at finding early stages of dementia. If the president is worried about it, would you recommend more extensive exams?" That same reporter, apparently dissatisfied with his response, then asked two follow ups, suggesting to the doctor that Trump's mental exams should be annually administered. 

One reporter suggested Trump might need an active psychiatrist: "You mentioned a whole bunch of doctors that participated in Friday's exam. And there are other questions about the president's emotional health. Is there anyone on the president's medical team such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist whose job it is to monitor the president's emotional state or watch for potential psychiatric problems or indicators?"

Another reporter tried another tact, asking if perhaps some disorder was simply being kept secret: "There isn't anything that's a part of the president's health records or his overall physical fitness or any medications that he's taking that you're not permitted to tell us? Is there anything you're keeping from us for privacy reasons?"

"Because of his age," one reporter asked, "and continuing his physicals in the future, will you also continue the cognitive testing? 

"I can promise you there's absolutely nothing that I'm withholding from this," Jackson responded. 

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