Is Donald Trump insane?
That’s the question being asked in recent days by prominent columnists, both liberal and conservative, about the Republican presidential nominee.
“During the primary season, as Donald Trump’s bizarre outbursts helped him crush the competition, I thought he was being crazy like a fox,” Eugene Robinson wrote in an op-ed (“Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?”) published Tuesday in the Washington Post.
“Now I am increasingly convinced that he’s just plain crazy,” Robinson continued. “I’m serious about that. Leave aside for the moment Trump’s policies, which in my opinion range from the unconstitutional to the un-American to the potentially catastrophic. At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump’s grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.”
Robinson was not the only newspaper writer to recently ask such a blunt question about Trump’s fitness for office.
“One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality,” Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a separate Washington Post editorial on Monday. “We can leave it to the professionals to determine exactly what to call it. Suffice to say that Donald Trump’s response to the assorted speakers at the Democratic National Convention has not been rational.”
Vox founder Ezra Klein made a similar observation following Trump’s press conference the day after last month’s Republican National Convention. Instead of focusing on a unifying message, Trump resurfaced the debunked conspiracy theory that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“Have we stopped to appreciate how crazy Donald Trump has gotten recently?” Klein asked.
“There was no reason for Trump to say any of this,” Klein wrote. “Trump had just accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Cruz had been vanquished, booed off the stage. Trump’s opponent, now, was Hillary Clinton. But he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t stay on message, he couldn’t suppress the crazy, for 24 hours.”
“Yes, Donald Trump is crazy,” Steven Hayes added last week in the conservative Weekly Standard. “And, yes, the Republican party owns his insanity.”
“I almost don’t blame Trump,” David Brooks wrote in the New York Times on July 29. “He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the ‘sane’ and ‘reasonable’ Republicans who deserve the shame.”
It’s not just op-ed columnists questioning Trump’s sanity.
At last week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Hillary Clinton while suggesting his fellow billionaire is not of sound mind.
“Let’s elect a sane, competent person,” Bloomberg said.
Another billionaire, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, also questioned Trump’s sanity.
“Donald initially — I really hoped he would be something different, that as a businessperson, I thought there was an opportunity there,” Cuban told CNN while campaigning with Clinton in his hometown of Pittsburgh on Saturday. “But then he went off the reservation and went bats*** crazy.”
“We can gloss over it, laugh about it, analyze it,” Stuart Stevens, chief strategist to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, wrote on Twitter. “But Donald Trump is not a well man.”
— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) July 27, 2016
Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio, though, argues that Trump is not crazy but instead “sees the world as a constant struggle for victory and lacks a moral compass.”
“The word ‘crazy’ conjures up a person who is so plagued by delusions, or perhaps hallucinations, that he makes no sense at all,” D’Antonio wrote in an op-ed for CNN.com. “Consider his success, both before and during his pursuit of the presidency, and it’s hard to argue that Trump suffers from such a profoundly distorted view of reality. In fact he has long demonstrated a keen awareness of how our society worships celebrity and rewards those who can attract the limelight and hold its focus.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But when the Toronto Star asked about the recent onslaught of questions surrounding his mental health, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks referred him to the candidate’s medical report.
“I’m sure you saw Mr. Trump’s medical report released in December of last year, which described him as perhaps the healthiest individual to ever be elected President,” Hicks wrote in an email to the paper. “I refer you to that.”
But as the Star’s Daniel Dale noted, that report addressed physical — and not mental — health.