Trump Has a Small Stroke on Live TV


On the late night talk shows last night
a few comedians I admire showed replays of Trump
slurring the last words of a speech, mis-pronouncing
“the United States,” as he was trying to ask God
to bless our country. One late-night comic said
it sounded like Trump’s dentures were loose,
but I don’t know if he wears dentures. The next
morning, the White House blamed the slurring on
Trump having had a dry mouth. But then I saw a
longer replay of the televised speech, and it turns out
Trump slurred his last three or four sentences,
and not just our country’s name. Seeing this, I stopped
laughing, recognizing that Trump had sounded
like my now 94-year-old father had sounded
one night about eight years ago, when I was
talking with him over the phone at the
Senior Center where he was living with my
late then-Alzheimer’s-suffering mom. At the time,
my dad was in quite good health for a guy
in his mid-80s, but in the middle of our conversation,
he started slurring his words like he had never
done before. “Dad,” I said, “You just started slurring
your words in a very unusual way. Could you be having
a small stroke?” My father was self-aware enough
to answer: “I think I might be having a small stroke.”
I told him I was going to hang up, and phone the front
desk to call an ambulance for him to take him
right away to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.
It turned out that my dad did indeed have a small
stroke, and the MRI showed he was a lucky guy—
The stroke had only a very short-term effect,
but if it had taken place in a vein or artery a quarter-inch
to either side, it would have had a permanent impact.
Trump’s slurring sounded to me last night like
my father’s slurring, as if he had had the same small stroke
my father had, and also lucky to recover quickly—
but not healthy enough to serve as president of a large country
he could no longer pronounce. So far, in the last two years,
since the beginning of Trump’s presidential campaign,
as a doctor of literature, and thus with no American Psychiatric
Association “Goldwater Rules” limits, I have diagnosed Trump
with early-onset dementia, unhinged-elbow narcissism,
flu-level science denialism, racism rocketing to the galactic
heights of textbook-level mental illness, prison-deserving sexual
predatory sadism, antibiotic-resistant pathological lying,
straightjacket-warranted right-wing fanatical destruction,
camera-mugging compulsive thief and scoundrel,
and now the victim of an aging man’s paranoia and
stress-induced stroke. Whether for reasons of inadequate health
for the job, disastrous political policies pushed through mainly by
Executive Orders and extremist judicial appointments,
Commander-in-chief pollution of America’s air and water supply,
impeachment-level crimes of obstructing justice and foreign collusion,
golf-carting America madly to the edge of nuclear war with North Korea,
or karmic payback for decades of racial rental exclusion
and serial sexual misconduct, my personal polling shows
there is an 81.57% chance that Trump will not serve out a full
four-year Presidential term. Okay, let the late-night comedians
continue, and let the progressive organizers organize!

Eliot Katz
December 2017