Gage Skidmore / Flickr Donald Trump...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Putin’s Tool has always been a vile, deranged moron.

Since childhood.

(He’s passed these characteristics to his children, and he seems to recruit only those that also fit this description to work for him. Not that there appears to be a short supply of vile, deranged morons among the ranks of the GOP and the roster on Fox News.)

But my impression since 2016 that Putin’s Tool has been showing signs of an additional ailment: dementia.

I’m not using this term casually; I’m a clinical psychologist. His actions, his mannerisms, his episodic lucidity (my impression is he is fully lucid less often than he is not, and he didn’t have much ground to lose cognitively to start with) are consistent with those I’ve had the opportunity to observe who are definitively diagnosed with one of the many forms of dementia.

David Boddinger, writing for Splinter, provides a summary of instances in which Putin’s Tool has obviously become disoriented, and needed staff assistance to not simply meander aimlessly. For example:

In Poland, Trump delivered a speech, clapped for himself, adjusted his suit, smiled, and then strolled to a random spot on stage for no apparent reason other than to enjoy some live music away from the bullet-proof shield that was supposed to have protected him.

Descending from Air Force One, Trump once dodged the presidential motorcade parked directly in front of him and wandered off onto the tarmac. He was quickly guided back to the enormous black vehicle awaiting him with open doors and several Secret Service agents.

And then there was the ceremony in which Trump was supposed to sign an executive order, but forgot. He thanked his audience, shook a few hands, and then tried to bolt. “Mr. President, you need to sign it,” Vice President Mike Pence reminded him.

Putin’s Tool’s shameful absence from Armistice Day ceremonies in France last month, and disgusting decision to forego the Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at Arlington (barely ten minutes from the oval office) also add to this picture: with each subsequent cancellation of official public events and meetings, it is difficult not to surmise that his handlers are aware that putting Putin’s Tool on display is becoming less tenable, as his connection to his immediate surroundings and capacity to perform the simplest of tasks (‘stand here’, ‘sign this’) are increasingly tenuous.

And this means all the things that are worst about Putin’s Tool— his Malignant Narcissism, his cognitive limitations, his delusional schema— will become more problematic over time, not less:

…contemporary views suggest: (1) some psychiatric disorders are integral to the dementia phenotype, (2) dementia may be foreshadowed by syndromes such as major depression and schizophrenia and states such as apathy and irritability, and (3) many psychiatric disorders complicate the course of the dementia by amplifying or adding to distress and disability.

Of course, the GOP will continue to lie about this and cover for his impaired functioning (just as they lie and cover for his criminality).

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. There is a concept found in organizations which is called negative selection. It occurs when the person at the top appoints or promotes his immediate subordinates, based not on their ability to do the job, but on the basis of their incompetence. This can happen in corporations and it can happen in governments. In governments, it’s usually found in dictatorships and other totalitarian states.

    This usually happens when the leader is stupid, insecure, paranoid, egotistical, immature, sociopathic or any combination of those qualities. He chooses his subordinates using the criterion that they must neither be intelligent enough nor competent enough to challenge his authority. The leader’s behavior is often reflected in the actions of his immediate subordinates, who then choose their subordinates on the same basis.

    Thus, incompetence (rather than the economy) experiences a trickle-down effect that eventually permeates the entire organization. In corporations, this usually leads to bankruptcy; in nations, this usually leads to a failed state.

  2. And let’s not forget when he left the President of Argentina standing on the podium as Trump walked away. At the G20 this weekend.

  3. I’m a retired RN. The impostor president sounds exactly like a dementia patient to me. A question is asked & he starts to answer & then changes the subject, goes into the world salad nonsensical stuff from topic to topic & never really answers the question because I doubt he can remember it. He doesn’t remember what he’s said in the past either & when confronted with past statements he accuses the media of fake news when they’ve reported what he has said. It’s only going to get worse as the Mueller report exposed his criminal activities. He needs full time adult supervision.

  4. And do we now see the defence argument, (“diminished responsibility”) when Trump comes to trial for all his criminal activities?

  5. The plot sickens! Perhaps the GOP can hire Alec Baldwin for a stand-in body double. His career could use a lift right now.

  6. This dementia thought has some looking into!! I so remember when pres Reagon’s dementia signs started to show!!! My wife has it and the same pattern of her changes we didn’t see to well into her life!!


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