Lionel Shriver

Does Donald Trump have dementia?

Does Donald Trump have dementia?
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This is an extract from Lionel Shriver's diary, available in the new issue of the magazine, which is out tomorrow.

Over dinner, my fellow Professional American Sarah Churchwell and I shared our dismay over what on earth to say about Trump in public. (Sarah Churchwell ever being at a loss for words will astonish her fans.) Days earlier, a punter had closed my festival event in Swindon with an ostensibly ‘simple’ question: ‘How do you explain Trump?’

Sarah posited a theory gaining mainstream currency. Many of Trump’s characteristics point toward dementia: forgetfulness (leaving an executive order photo-op without remembering to sign the order); volatility, irritability, impulsivity and paranoia; anxiety about stairs and inclines (re: gripping Theresa May’s hand); poor concentration and degraded syntax: reliance on placeholders (‘very, very, very’ buys time), small vocabulary, fragmented sentences.

I just listened to Trump’s 1998 Oprah Winfrey interview. If still arrogant, Trump was lucid, coherent — almost articulate. He didn’t sound like an idiot. He could talk. He can’t talk now. Dire news? Maybe not. It’s tough to unseat a president. The US system doesn’t provide for votes of no confidence. Impeachment entails charging Trump with a crime, and we’ve still no Russian smoking gun. But one long shot is the 25th Amendment, allowing a president ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’ to be removed. Until such time, hold on to your hats.

Written byLionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver is an American journalist and author who lives in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005 and was adapted into the 2011 film of the same name, starring Tilda Swinton.

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