Right and Left React to Questions About Trump’s Mental State

The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That’s why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen.

Has this series exposed you to new ideas? Tell us how. Email us at ourpicks@nytimes.com.

For an archive of all the Partisan Writing Roundups, check out Our Picks.

From the Right


President Trump at Joint Base Andrews on Monday.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mollie Hemingway in The Federalist:

“There is nothing about Trump now that suggests his mental state is any different or worse or dangerous than when voters elected him, or when they first encountered him on gossip pages and in reality television decades ago.”

Ms. Hemingway notes that while some critics of President Trump have suggested using the 25th Amendment to overturn election results they were not expecting or not happy with, the debate has been reignited with the publication of Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury.” Any conversation about the president’s mental fitness, she argues, is merely an attempt by the opposition to undo the democratic will of the American people. Read more »


Jonathan S. Tobin in National Review:

“Doing or saying something stupid is not the same thing as mental incapacity. If it were, no president would ever have escaped eviction from office on those grounds.”

Mr. Tobin has no shortage of harsh words for Mr. Trump and his personality. A lack of “presidential temperament,” according to Mr. Tobin, does not preclude Mr. Trump from “making decisions and often getting them right.” The 25th Amendment, he adds, “was intended to provide for a replacement when a president couldn’t serve, not to dump a man whose behavior offends the sensibilities of the educated class.” Read more »


David Frum in The Atlantic:

“Trump may imagine that he’s Michael Corleone, the tough and canny rightful heir — or even Sonny Corleone, the terrifyingly violent but at least powerful heir apparent — but after today he is Fredo forever.”

Whatever Mr. Trump’s flaws and cognitive deficiencies may be, Mr. Frum contends, his “genius” is undeniable in one particular way: He “understands how to mobilize hatred and resentment to his own advantage and profit.” Mr. Frum suggests that instead of focusing on the president’s mental health, we turn our attention to the people and institutions that keep such a president in power — despite knowing better. Read more »


From the Left


The White House on Monday morning.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Joan Walsh in The Nation:

“As we marvel or chortle or freak out over these many new revelations, let’s keep our wits about us. There is likely no serious way to respond until November 2018. Let’s focus on that.”

Ms. Walsh picks up where Mr. Frum left off. She writes that her main takeaway from Mr. Wolff’s book and New York Times reporting on Mr. Trump’s interventions in the Russia inquiry is that Republicans “are circling the wagons around Trump.” She does not propose a 25th Amendment solution to the problem, however. The only way to address an unfit president whose party will not hold accountable is for Democrats to win in the midterm elections. Read more »

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