Trump defended himself as a "very stable genius" in a tweetstorm over the weekend. But his comments have done little to calm the questions about why the man with the nation's nuclear codes does not have to undergo more rigorous mental health assessments.
"I think it's totally legitimate to ask about that and have that as part of the test," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a CNN contributor. "In general, I think that once someone's president (or once someone is running for office) should be a fair game.
" It's not about scandal, and it's not a kind of exposure. It is about understanding if someone is fit to occupy the office and if there is a problem that the president himself, or his advisors, or the country, should know. "
Trump, 71, will undergo a medical examination. Friday, doctor Ronny Jackson, a White House doctor, held the last physical exams of President Barack Obama while he was in office, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders promised to read the results as soon as information becomes available. the president about what information he wants to share with the public.
CNN contacted multiple former White House doctors to learn what is routinely covered during the exams and what kind of mental health assessments, if any, they are made, but they were all unreachable or refused to comment.
The debate about a president's mental insight is not new, and former President Jimmy Carter tried to change the criteria in the mid-1990s, saying that the president should be evaluated by an external panel of medical experts because there is too much at stake.
Carter lobbied for the formation of a non-partisan group of medical experts, not involved in the care of the president, who was given the responsibility "to determine the disability, relieving the president's doctors of their potential conflict of interests and allowing the 25th Amendment to work prudently and without problems. "
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president to assume the presidency if the incumbent president can not do his job.
"The great weakness of the 25th Amendment is its willingness to determine disability in the event that the president can not or does not want to certify the disability or disability," Carter wrote. "In this case, the constitutional duty to act rests with the vice president and the majority of the cabinet." In such an unfortunate event, it is absolutely necessary for the vice president and the cabinet to obtain accurate and impartial medical advice to determine if the president is capable of performing their duties ".
Zelizer said that "there should not really be a debate" on the mental fitness of a president, because it is imperative for the nation.
"The main concern of all is the power of the president to use and exercise force, be it nuclear or if he is sending troops to a region in conflict, either of which is bad, and that is an area where you want to make sure that the president's mind works correctly, so I think that should be the main problem, "Zelizer said. "More importantly, it is important for democracy: to know if the individual who occupies that office is fit, mentally and physically."
Dr. Gail Saltz, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said an internist should definitely ask a senior about memory and mental status, because they are at the forefront of early detection.
"If you" "He's a good internist, questions about those issues, because they should be caught and treated," Saltz said. "I would be surprised if the White House says there will be no psychiatric or neurological exams."
The White House said Monday that Friday's test will not include a psychiatric exam.
"People with mild manic symptoms are more creative and more resistant to stress than healthy mentally normal people," Ghaemi said on CNN's "Smerconish" on Saturday.
In his new best-selling book "Fire and Fury," author Michael Wolff says that advisors close to President Trump have expressed concern about his mental health and that discussions about his replacement are "alive every day in the White House". CNN has not been able to verify all of Wolff's claims.
"It's not unreasonable to say that this is the kind of things in the 25th Amendment," Wolff said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Citing people close to the president, Wolff has said that the president has begun repeating three stories in conversations in less than 10 minutes, when he used to repeat stories in a 30-minute window. Wolff told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that "100% of the people around the president think he is unable to carry out his duties."
In full control of damages, Trump and the White House responded over the weekend, tearing Wolff and his book apart as fiction and sensational garbage while defending the mental fitness of the president.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, gave a different evaluation. "Clearly, we have a human being with serious defects in the Oval Office," Schiff said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Trump has scheduled his physical Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. The results of the tests usually take several days before the findings are known, but what information is disclosed and when, ultimately, at Trump's discretion.