It wasn’t talked about much on the campaign trail, but Donald Trump will be the oldest president in American history to win the White House. When he takes office on January 20th, 2017, he will be 70 years-old. That beats Ronald Reagan, who previously held the title of oldest president when he began his first term at the age of 69.
Some say age doesn’t matter. But overall health does. And as we saw with President Ronald Reagan, if involves a disease like Alzheimer’s, it might be concealed from the public for partisan reasons.
His son, Ron Reagan, wrote in his book, ‘My Father At 100,’
Three years into his first term as president, though, I was feeling the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father.
According to US News & World Report,
Let’s start with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It was announced in 1994. While it prompted some to suggest they knew Reagan had the disease as president, his four White House doctors said they saw no evidence of it. But Ron, who became a liberal and atheist, disappointing his dad, suggests he saw hints of confusion and “an out-of-touch president” during the 1984 campaign and again in 1986, when his father couldn’t recall the names of California canyons he was flying over.
Was Reagan’s failing mental health really unknown when he ran for re-election? Or did the Republican Party see too great a chance of losing the White House if the public found out Reagan was mentally unfit for a second term?
So, what does this have to do with Donald Trump? In three words; genetics, and partisan politics.
Trump’s father Fred, had been suffering from Alzheimers for 6-years, prior to his death in 1999. And as Salon suggests, the genetic connection may explain some of Trump’s bizarre behavior.
At times it can be very hard to distinguish between extreme right-wing politics and symptoms of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that if two of the following core mental functions seem impaired then it is time to seek medical help: Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, visual perception.
Alzheimer’s carries other symptoms besides memory loss, including difficulty remembering newly learned information, disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes.
Prior to his election, The Improper also picked up on Trump’s odd behavior.
During a primary campaign stop in Pittsburgh, he gushed: “How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? Right? How about that—how about that whole deal?”
Paterno was head coach of Penn State’s football team. He was forced to resign for covering up a child-molestation scandal involving one of his coaches. Trump seemed to be the only person in the room who didn’t realize Paterno died in 2012.
If Trump does have some form of dementia or early Alzheimer’s, it may be well-known among the people closest to him and members of the Republican Party. Alternately, or in combination, Trump could be an old man with bad manners and almost no self-control, who was born into a life of privilege and thinks living in the past is an actual destination. Either way, from a political perspective, there isn’t much reason for conservative partisans to clue-in the public about any of it. The levers of power can be moved by well-hiden puppeteers. And in the case of Donald Trump, the oldest president in American history, he may never even know it.
To tell your elected representative what you think about the job they’re doing, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Tobin is the author of Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are more connected to the powers of the Spirit World than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. Available now on Amazon.com.