From Christmas wishes to ground- breaking books, speculation over the President’s capacity to serve increased significantly in recent weeks.
The festive period began with major tax reforms. In the biggest overhaul for thirty years, Senate approved plans to cut corporate tax to 21 percent. Trump described the changes as a “big, beautiful Christmas present” for all Americans. However Democrats were in unanimous opposition and claimed that it would benefit only the super-rich.
Events took a further twist on Christmas Eve. In a festive tweet, the President claimed personal responsibility for saving the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’. This spurred a comical Twitter spat amongst many users, but as 2018 loomed, Trump’s issues became far less trivial.
On New Year’s Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave a speech claiming that the nuclear button was always “on his desk.”
Three days later, Trump responded: “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
Trump’s opponents were quick to criticise. Eliot Cohen, once a senior Republican official, said that the response was “spoken like a petulant ten-year-old.”
Things went from bad to worse in the following fortnight. Since the earliest days of Trump’s Presidency, reporter Michael Wolff was allowed unprecedented access into the White House. Trump had wrongly believed that Wolff would write a favourable account of his leadership. In reality, Wolff exploited the chaos of a relatively inexperienced administration to gather damning and almost unbelievable insights into Presidential affairs.
The book, poignantly titled “Fire and Fury”, revealed a vast collection of revelations and allegations. Wolff suggested that Trump’s entire team, especially Steve Bannon, routinely questioned his mental stability. It was also suggested that Trump’s daughter Ivanka considered herself a possible successor for the presidency.
Trump swiftly dismissed the book as ‘fiction’ and defended his mental stability. The President took to Twitter to describe himself as “a very stable genius” and “like, really smart.” Nonetheless, questions remained.
Just last week, Trump seemingly forgot the words to America’s national anthem on live television. Growing memory problems had been highlighted as a concern in Wolff’s book, and many Twitter users began to question whether Trump could be showing symptoms of dementia.
The President’s father developed Alzheimer’s in his eighties.
Trump’s supporters will undoubtedly overlook all these festive difficulties.
New peace talks between North and South Korea, and a revised care package to Pakistan could all suggest that Trump’s tough, albeit unorthodox international stance is paying off.
Nonetheless, the President will be hoping that 2018 will be kinder to him than its first few weeks suggested.