At Donald Trump’s protested rally in Salt Lake City Friday, at which the police told CNN a “couple hundred” protesters were present out of a crowd of about 500 to 600 people, the Donald once again made outlandish and false statements. Trump, an old and tiresome candidate, questioned Mitt Romney’s faith:
Are you sure he’s a Mormon? Are we sure?
That’s right, Trump who appeared to take great umbrage and waged a brief war of words with Pope Francis when Trump incorrectly thought the Pope questioned Trump’s faith, questioned Romney’s faith and did so in Salt Lake City — which headquarters the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no factual basis for Trump’s despicable questions of Romney’s faith, which is why Trump offered none. It’s just another outlandish and unsupported thing that Trump said, like when he questioned Ben Carson’s faith.
Also last night Trump again raised his now thoroughly debunked natural born citizen allegation against Sen. Ted Cruz:
Is he really a natural born citizen? I mean, give me a break.
Since Trump first brought this up, no fewer than five courts have dismissed lawsuits challenging Cruz’ eligibility to be president — Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, New York and Utah. But Trump doesn’t seem to understand that.
This shtick, like Trump, is getting old. Which makes me wonder if Trump’s age has something to do with Trump’s outlandish, despicable and clearly false statements. It might also explain why Trump might say one thing to one audience and then say the exact opposite thing to a different audience a short time later. Trump does this time and time again — reversing positions, back tracking and flip flopping far more than any candidate I can recall.
Writing at Politico Magazine, Michael Tortorello asks whether the Donald is too old to be President. He points out that Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Trump would all be among the oldest ever sworn into office — Clinton is the baby of the group, at 69 and 3 months; Trump (70) or Sanders (75) would replace Ronald Reagan as the oldest president in history. Then he notes that while we do get some indication of candidates’ health, we don’t know about their brains. Tortorello reports that science says brain function often declines noticeably at that age:
As it happens, the field of neuroscience has studied closely the trajectory of cognitive aging, and there is a fair amount of agreement about how our cognitive abilities—memory, learning, attention, reasoning—decline as we get older. Research shows that the decline, if it were a ski slope, would appear fairly flat until the age of 50 or 60. For the next decade or two, it would look like a bunny hill. Then somewhere around age 70, the slope would drop off like a black diamond run. Then a cliff. All three of those leading candidates are approaching, at least statistically speaking, the downhill-race-course portion of that decline.
[. . .]
“I think we should be thinking seriously about this issue,” said Mark Fisher, a professor of neurology and political science at the University of California. In a paper published last year, Fisher writes, “we should probably assume that a significant proportion of political leaders over the age of 65 have impairment of executive function.” These are the complex cognitive processes that guide “normal decision-making.” The onset of these changes can be sudden, as in a stroke, or slower, as a result of microbleeds or routine, age-related changes to brain structure.
I wonder if Trump’s bizarre campaign statements might be related to some age-related cognitive impairment. I agree with professor Fisher. We should think seriously about this issue, especially because of Trump’s strange behavior. His unfounded charges against others, his inability to articulate his own positions except in tweets, his outlandish statements, his reversals and flipflops, all cause me to think that maybe Tortorello asks a very important question — is Donald Trump too old to be president?