You can be a moron, and not demented

Chait with the best take I’ve seen on Trump’s mental status:

Trump is not actually suffering a severe mental impairment. White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who has served in the post since 2013, informed reporters on Wednesday that the president is in fine physical and mental health. The report comes as the national media has discussed whether Trump’s functional near-illiteracy, minuscule attention span, and narcissistic pathos are the symptoms of dementia or some other kind of cognitive incapacitation. We should take Jackson’s diagnosis at face value. Trump is just an idiot.

The evidence of this appears almost daily, primarily from Trump’s own allies (who, in the main, have access to him). It is impossible to report accurately on the state of immigration talks without accounting for the fact that literally nobody believes Trump holds a clear understanding of the issue, and therefore lawmakers share a belief that he can be manipulated by anybody he speaks with…

Trump’s supporters have taken the news of his successful physical examination with a reputable doctor as vindication. Never has a president won such frenzied praise for being declared dementia-free…

But while Trump’s behavior may not be medical symptoms of a debilitating mental disease, it is clear evidence of a mind that’s totally unfit for the presidency. What excuse does he have for his behavior?

Indeed.  Honestly, given that Trump really did some to have far greater fluency with the English language decades ago, it was not unreasonable at all to wonder if he’s not in early-stage dementia.  This test would seem to indicate he’s not.  But he is still transparently, observable, stupid.  You don’t have to be a physician to see in his every-day behavior that this man has sub-optimal cognitive ability.  You can have an IQ of 80, presumably, and still get an 80 on a test intended to measure dementia.

And, of course, to add further evidence of his plain old lack of intelligence, he does not even seem to really understand what the cognitive assessment actually showed.  Josh Marshall:

“I guess they all realized they were going to have to leave it to a President that scored the highest on tests,” he told Reuters in an interview.

 He was presumably referring to his doctor telling White House reporters Tuesday that Trump had aced the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which includes tasks like naming animals underneath pictures of them, identifying one’s current location and drawing clock hands.

The test is useful in assessing dementia patients or stroke victims, Vox reported.

It measures cognitive function and is not a psychiatric or psychological exam,Trump’s doctor specified.

Of course, if Trump actually were smart, he would get that not demented ≠ high IQ.

Now, we don’t need a president to be brilliant or even significantly above average.  That said, it sure would be nice to have a president seemingly intelligent enough to understand his own policies and able to handle briefings of more than one bullet-pointed page.

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