It’s bad form to make fun of older people suffering from age-related cognitive issues. Many of us have dealt with parents or other loved ones who occasionally have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, so we understand how fraught such situations are. At the same time, those of us with elderly parents know that if Dad wanders too close to traffic—or the nuclear launch codes—we’re obliged to do what we can to protect both him and society at large.
On Friday night, confirmed rapist and prank presidential candidate Donald Trump took to his woolly-headed pulpit to assure New Hampshire voters that his top rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Nikki Haley, would be a disaster for this country—because she, not Trump, was somehow responsible for the chaos that occurred in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.
Transcript—but watch it if you can:
DONALD TRUMP: “No one ever reports the crowds, you know. By the way, they never report the crowd on Jan. 6, you know. Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley. Do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything. Deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it, because of lots of things. Like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people.”
As you probably guessed, in this clip Trump is confusing Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom Trump has previously claimed rejected his offer of troops to protect the Capitol in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attacked. That never happened, of course. And Haley is demonstrably not Pelosi. In fact, Haley and Pelosi have virtually nothing in common other than being female politicians who make Trump’s wee mind regress nearly as fast as his nethers.
Also, “my murderous, frothing, America-hating mob was simply HUGE” is probably not the kind of thing one should brag about when running for president. But that pretty much goes without saying.
Of course, those who pay close attention—i.e., Democratic voters—know that the right-wing “Biden is senile” trope has always been projection. Donald “No Puppet! No Puppet!” Trump’s decision during the 2020 election to lean heavily into that trope was perhaps the first indication that his own synapses were firing blanks.
The second clue, for this writer, anyway, was the frequent boasting—which continues to this day—about passing a dementia test that doctors tend to administer only to patients they suspect of having dementia. A test that most unremarkable 5-year-olds could pass, as one of the questions requires grokking the difference between a rhinoceros and a lion.
In fact, just days ago, Trump was still nattering on about his triumphant dementia-test conquests.
“I think it was 35, 30 questions,” the former president said in Portsmouth, N.H., of the test, which he said involved a few animal identification queries. “They always show you the first one, like a giraffe, a tiger, or this, or that — a whale. ‘Which one is the whale?’ Okay. And that goes on for three or four [questions] and then it gets harder and harder and harder.”
The only problem: The creator of the test in question, called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, or MoCA, said it has never included the specific combination of animals described by Trump in any of its versions over the years.
In fact, Ziad Nasreddine, the Canadian neurologist who invented the test, said the assessment — intended primarily to test for signs of dementia or other cognitive decline — has never once included a drawing of a whale.
In other words, the man who’s previously claimed he has one of the world’s greatest memories—but who couldn’t remember having claimed that when confronted with the statement—can no longer recall which animals he was asked to identify on a dementia test.
Then again, “I passed a dementia test!” is not much of a flex when running for president. It’s like sending unsolicited mall-walking videos to the U.S. Olympic track team, so the nation’s premier runners can be stunned as you perambulate past Wetzel’s Pretzels in Juicy Couture.
But it does sound like the kind of thing someone who’s mentally sunsetting (and, in Trump’s case, we’re talking a mid-December northern Alaska sunset) would blurt out to reassure himself that he’s just as sharp as he was in his prime. You know, back when he was telling random porn stars that he sincerely wished every shark in the world would die.
Of course, Trump has been dangerously mentally deficient for years—and it doesn’t necessarily relate to his apparent cognitive decline. Who could forget his presidential prescription for disinfectant injections—a call that may have led to an increase in deadly poisonings. Or his weird hydroxychloroquine obsession, which, according to one recent study, likely contributed to thousands of deaths.
As president, he also reportedly wanted to nuke hurricanes, shoot immigrants in the legs, build alligator-filled moats at the border, nuke North Korea (while blaming it on someone else), and convince everyone to rake their local forests to prevent forest fires. He also thought colonial troops bravely seized all the airports during the Revolutionary War.
More recently, Trump said World War II may be right around the corner, claimed windmills are killing whales, insisted he won all 50 states in the 2020 election, and suggested he ran for president against Barack Obama and George W. Bush, which he most definitely did not.
If Joe Biden said or did even one of those things, it would be a forever meme akin to Mike Dukakis’ tank helmet or Howard Dean’s scream. But seemingly everyone—including members of the media—tacitly acknowledges that Trump’s brain was never presidential, so he gets a pass.
After all, Trump being effervescently weird has never really been a man-bites-dog story. It’s more like a “man bites dog before chewing off his own arm to free it from a Pringles can” story. In other words, par for the course. And so he gets away with seemingly everything.
That said, the man is not well, and it’s high time people who know him best (helloooo! John Kelly!) intervene on behalf of our ever-fragile democracy. Plus, Trump is a rapist. How is it possible more people don’t know about that?
Maybe that’s something Haley could bring up during the last fleeting days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Whenever she’s done plotting to overrun the U.S. Capitol (again) from her lofty speaker’s office, that is.