When Michael Wolff’s tell-all book about the Trump presidency was released on Friday, social media immediately started buzzing with some of the most salacious details of the text. Some of the juiciest accounts have led to further questioning about Trump’s fitness for office. But on Saturday morning, seemingly to reassure the public about his mental health, Trump tweeted he's "a really stable genius," and that he is “like, really smart."
While some Americans tried to enjoy a peaceful Saturday morning, Trump was clearly thinking about the past week's news cycle. So he picked up his phone — as he is wont to do — and began tweeting. He criticized the "Fake News Mainstream Media" for taking a page from "the old Ronald Reagan playbook," a reference to the public's questioning of a past president's fitness for office.
The president countered his constituents' apparent belief that he is unfit for office, tweeting that his greatest assets throughout his entire life have been not only his mental stability, but also his intelligence. Although it's easy to look at the tweets and dismiss them as parody, most of America has grown accustomed to these unhinged successions of rapid-fire musings from the president, particularly on the weekends.
Ever since he started campaigning, Trump's fitness for office and overall level of intelligence have been called into question. In late October 2016, comedian Samantha Bee offered a comical but nevertheless somewhat convincing argument about the then-presidential candidate: he doesn't actually read. Bee highlighted footage from a deposition in which Trump complained about being asked to read something. "It's long," he said with exasperation, before explaining that he wouldn't be able to read the small print without his glasses.
Sure, this theory might go a bit far, but past news stories do indicate that the president does not have much patience for complex reports. Last year, Trump told Axios that he doesn't need "like, 200-page reports on something," and prefers "as little as possible" in his intelligence briefings. The president's fondness for cable news has been well-documented, although Trump has denied reports that he watches 4-8 hours of cable news a day.
If the details in Wolff's book are true, the president comes off as downright clueless in certain parts. According to an excerpt published in New York Magazine, when Roger Ailes suggested to the president elect that he make former Speaker of the House John Boehner his chief of staff, Trump responded, "who's that?"
Other excerpts raise more serious questions about Trump's mental fitness for office. An account published in The Hollywood Reporter noted that the president has a tendency to "repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories," and other excerpts noted that he had trouble processing information.
In a press conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the suggestion that President Trump is mentally unfit for office "disgraceful and laughable," saying that he couldn't have won the way he did if he wasn't a "strong and good" leader.
In any case, Trump's series of tweets this morning boasting of his intelligence didn't really help to make his case.
Washington Post writer Greg Sargent tweeted that the president's assurance he was "totally sane" did anything but convince people of his fitness for office, while others took issue with the fact that he had brought Ronald Reagan into play. As journalist Jon Schwarz and digital strategist John Aravosis both noted, Reagan was struggling with Alzheimer's at the time he was in office. The public, thus, had reason to question his mental fitness.
While Trump might be "a very stable genius," he's not fooling anyone when it comes to his media consumption habits. As Abby Phillip of The Washington Post noted, a Fox & Friends headline read "Media Questions Trump's Mental State" just ten minutes he tweeted out his barrage of reassurances.