Most of Colorado delegation not eager to discuss Trump’s mental health

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Washington, D.C.-, January 12, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTON — Some members of Colorado’s congressional delegation are expressing misgivings about Donald Trump’s leadership as public concern continues this week about his mental fitness.

The concern was renewed Thursday during a White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy when Trump slammed immigrants from Latin America and Africa.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here,” the president asked.

The recent criticisms started last week with the publication of a new book that quoted White House insiders who questioned Trump’s emotional and mental capacity to be president.

The book, called “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” was written by author Michael Wolff.

The criticisms arose last week with the publication of a new book that quoted White House insiders who questioned Trump’s emotional and mental capacity to be president.

“U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has not read the book by author Michael Wolff, nor does he intend to,” said Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the congressman from Aurora. “While we can all agree that President Trump’s leadership style is unconventional, and at times unnerving, it is a step too far to categorize the president as being mentally unfit for the office.”

Last Sunday, investigative reporter Carl Bernstein, whose work with Bob Woodward at The Washington Post led to the resignation of President Nixon, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” that reporters should ask members of Congress their impressions on Trump’s mental fitness to serve. It could become a constitutional question at some point, he said.

Only three of Colorado’s seven congressional delegation members would respond to requests for comment on the question. Even Democrats avoided answering the question.

Trump answered the accusations with a Tweet in which he described himself as “a very stable genius.”

Richard Friedman, a psychiatry professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, seemed unconvinced in an editorial he wrote this week for The Washington Post.

“But his boastful cognitive self-assessment stands in stark contrast to his often rambling and incoherent statements, ultra-short attention span, repetitive speech pattern and rather impoverished vocabulary — all of which understandably invite worry by any layperson about his cognitive state,” Friedman wrote.

Colorado Democrats agreed with the psychiatrist’s assessment.

“I have not had a special briefing about the president’s mental health, nor am I a medical professional, but his behavior has been concerning,” Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, told Colorado Politics. “The often reckless tweeting, the almost obsessive repeating of phrases like ‘no collusion’ that may be weighing on his mind, and the odd distance that the White House puts between President Trump and all but select friendly media are troubling. One has to wonder whether the strains of the office are taking a higher than usual toll.”

Trump is scheduled for an annual medical examination Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that some psychiatrists suggest should include a mental health evaluation.

In the latest example of redundancies on Wednesday, Trump was asked during a press conference by Fox News correspondent John Roberts whether he would be willing to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller is investigating allegations that members of the president’s administration sought assistance from the Russian government to influence the last election in Trump’s favor.

Trump responded by saying, “Well, again John, there has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. When I watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, I mean, the Democrats are all running for office, trying to say this that — but bottom line, they all say there’s no collusion. And there is no collusion.”

All Democrats, of course, are not saying there was no collusion, with many alleging or strongly insinuating there certainly was.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, said his concerns lie in the soundness of Trump’s policies.

“Since day one, I have had serious concerns about President Trump and his ability to lead this country,” Perlmutter said. “He and his administration insist on dismantling the Affordable Care Act, attacking our environment and splitting up families – none of which helps the hardworking people in the middle. It’s imperative we hold him accountable and allow the Mueller investigation to continue its work.”

Perlmutter was a co-sponsor of a bill introduced last April that would have required Trump to participate in an evaluation of his fitness for office.

The bill, called the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act, still is pending before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and civil justice. It has run into stiff opposition from Trump’s Republican supporters in Congress.

The bill written by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., would be a first step toward removing the president from office under procedures described in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment says the vice president, a majority of the Cabinet “or of such other body as Congress may be law provide” can declare a president unfit to fulfill his duties. If the president refuses to leave office, a two-thirds majority vote of the House and Senate could remove him.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement.

Content originally published by Colorado Politics on January 12, 2018.
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