CNN's Brian Stelter discusses President Trump's fitness for office and questions raised by Michael Wolff's controversial and disputed book "Fire and Fury." He says it is legitimate to ask about the president's fitness.
"This is now a global story," Stelter said about Trump's mental state. "One of Rupert Murdoch's papers in the UK ran a headline that said 'Trump's Mental Health Questioned By Top Aide.' The translation of that German headline [on screen] is 'Is Trump Still Sane?' Trump's answer, of course delivered on Twitter are that two of his greatest assets are his mental stability and being, like really smart. I got the sense Murdoch's 'New York Post' was kind of making fun of him this morning. Don't worry America! But many Americans are worried, and journalists need to cover that."
"It is not just the book that is forcing this fitness issue to the forefront," Stelter said, referring to Trump's tweets. "When the president of the U.S. threatens North Korea by invoking the size of his nuclear button, it is fair to question his fitness. Many reporters would conclude that he is not well."
Transcript, via CNN:
BRIAN STELTER: Let's begin with the top story this weekend. The tip-toeing is over. The whispers are turning into shouts. President Trump's fitness for office is now the top story in the country. Reporters and some lawmakers are openly talking about the President's mental stability, his health, his competency.
Now partly, that is because of this new Michael Wolff book. [Holds up book] You know, Wolff claims that White House aides are united in the belief that Trump is incapable of being president. He backs this up several different ways. Including by quoting Steve Bannon, saying things like: "Trump has lost it" and "He's lost his stuff."
This is now a global story. One of Rupert Murdoch's papers in the UK went with the headline: “Trump's Mental Health Questioned by a Top Aide.” And the translation of the German headline in the middle asks: “Is Donald Trump Still Sane?” Trump's answer, of course, via Twitter is that two of his greatest assets are his “mental stability and being, like, really smart.” I kind of got the sense that Murdoch's New York Post was making fun of him this morning. The headline says, "Don't worry, America." But many Americans are worried and journalists need to cover that.
Let's be honest here, it's not just the book that is forcing this fitness issue to the forefront. When a president of the United States threatens North Korea by invoking the size of his nuclear button, it is fair to ask about his fitness. If a leader of another country were to do the same thing, I think many commentators, many reporters will conclude that he is not well. This past year has been full of reasons to question his fitness.
President Trump promotes conspiracy theories. He shares racist videos on social media. He live-tweets Fox News shows that mislead him while he derives real reporting as fake news. He calls for the prosecution of political opponents. He insults people for fun. He says so many flat-out false things that journalists can barely keep up. The Washington Post counts nearly 2,000 false or misleading statements since Election Day.
But -- and here is the but -- journalists are not judges or doctors. This is not a court or a hospital. What this moment needs from reporters is more reporting. Not more speculating or guessing or rumor mongering but real reporting of what’s going on.