Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Saturday praised himself as “a very stable genius,” following the release of a bombshell book that calls into doubt his mental health.
But Trump’s response to the book’s allegations had Washington focusing anew on the question of his stability.
In a series of extraordinary early-morning tweets, Trump said that “throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.”
“I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”
The new supposed tell-all book — Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — was rushed into stores Friday after the Trump administration failed to suppress it.
The book quickly sold out in Washington and has been the talk of the town. Trump has decried the instant best-seller as “phony” and “full of lies” as the White House issued a scorched-earth dismissal of “Fire and Fury” along with its author and his sources.
Trump’s stability has been questioned by critics almost since he declared his candidacy for the presidency.
In March 2016, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Trump lacked the “temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader.” And Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton regularly declared him “temperamentally unfit” for a job requiring “knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.”
Trump’s tweets came ahead of his meetings Saturday with top Republican lawmakers and Cabinet members at the Camp David presidential retreat to discuss party priorities ahead of the crucial 2018 midterm elections.
Yet the sensational details in the new book and Trump’s continued defense of his mental health have wrenched attention away from policy and news of US financial markets hitting all-time highs, bringing even more scrutiny over whether the US leader is fit for office.
– ‘Like a child’ –
On Friday, Washington’s chief diplomat Rex Tillerson was obliged to defend Trump after being asked during an interview about claims that the president has a short attention span, regularly repeats himself and refuses to read briefing notes.
“I’ve never questioned his mental fitness. I’ve had no reason to question his mental fitness,” said Tillerson, whose office was last year forced to deny reports that he had referred to Trump as a “moron” after a national security meeting.
Even in defending…