Is Donald Trump mentally unhinged?
It’s a question that’s been proffered by numerous social commentators over the last few months, particularly in response to the US President’s continuous (and often incoherent) Twitter tirades.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and now ambassador for mental health organisation, Beyond Blue, weighed in on the subject during an interview with ABC’s Lateline.
“I know that some people in the US, some commentators are not proffering that analysis by way of insult, they’re actually saying it because they are genuinely concerned” she said. At the same time, Gillard worries “that a charge of being mentally ill” ends up “being thrown around as an insult.”
“From the outside, I think it is very difficult to judge someone else’s mental health…so I think there’s some need for caution here.”
Gillard made the comments while also talking about how she dealt with anxiety, during her prime ministership. “I had moments of anxiety but I did think about what I needed to do to protect my mental health when I was in the rigours of public life,” she said.
Observing negative media headlines, as well as the “dreadful things” written about her on social media, caused Gillard to think about what she let seep in.
“I’ve got some choices about how much I brood, or whether I go to bed and sleep soundly. I made some very deliberate choices, so I wouldn’t let it get in my head, I would sleep soundly at night.”
But, sleeping soundly seems to be an unfamiliar concept to the US President and his preferred early morning Twitter rampages. It’s hardly surprising that people are beginning to question his mental state and capacity to lead.
Last week alone, he took to Twitter with some seriously unsettling posts. One, came in the form of an unsavoury jibe at female talk show host, Mika Brzezinski for “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” Trump’s intention to capitalise on the vulnerability that women face over their appearance and the process of ageing was cruel and vindictive. Moreover, it was deeply inappropriate and extraordinary for a President to weigh in on a subject of this nature.
In a similarly bizarre incident, Trump tweeted an edited version of a Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) video, which conveyed him beating up a person with a CNN logo superimposed over his head. The video caused widespread media backlash with CNN’s Brian Stelter issuing a statement of disdain.
“It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.” “We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
Predictably, Trump has continued to defend his unorthodox behaviour and Twitter obsession as “modern day presidential” but many in the media just aren’t buying it.
“This is not modern day presidential. It is modern day crass. It is modern day coarseness. It is modern day ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’” CNN commentator Anna Navarro said yesterday. Again, her reference alluding to the mental instability of the President.
Perhaps Trump believes his leadership tactics to be modern, exciting and reflective of voter sentiment. However, even the smallest question that America and the world may be compromised by a mentally unwell leader, should make us vigilant.
As Julia Gillard acknowledged yesterday the potential of Trump being mentally ill is certainly not out of the question. “I do think if President Trump continues with some of the tweeting etcetera that we’ve seen, then this will be in the dialogue” she conceded.
For help with anxiety and depression:
Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36.