President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser, televangelist Paula White defended him as being in “phenomenal” mental and physical health Wednesday after CNN’s Brian Stelter raised questions about his “mental health and fitness” Tuesday night.
“I’m not surprised about CNN always creating a story or saying something,” White said when asked about the criticism during a CBN interview this week.
Stelter’s question came during a discussion with Anderson Cooper about a controversial tweet made by the president earlier in which he threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.
Responding to a New Year’s Day speech in which Kim Jong Un warned he had a nuclear button on his desk, Trump stated on Twitter Tuesday evening: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
Assessing the president’s response hours later, Stelter rehashed questions about Trump’s mental health.
“When President Trump was inaugurated last January, some writers, some columnists like Andrew Sullivan started right away to raise concerns about the president’s mental health, about his fitness for office. In the months that followed, we saw Republican Senators like Jeff Flake bring this up, try to ask about his fitness for office. Bob Corker, another name that comes to mind,” Stelter said.
White who in addition to being spiritual adviser to the president is also a close friend said there is nothing to worry about.
“I can tell you our president is doing absolutely phenomenal, that he is in great health in every way. So what people make of each Twitter [sic] is up to themselves. I mean, that’s between the administration and what they put out. We’ve seen all kinds of Twitters, but even more crazy — I shouldn’t say more crazy — what we’ve seen crazy is some of the stories that come out like from CNN that you referenced about his mental health. He is great mentally,” White said.
White House spokeswoman Sara Sanders also said at a regular news briefing Wednesday that the president’s critics should be more concerned about the mental health of Kim Jong Un.
“The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea,” Sanders said. “He’s made repeated threats, he’s tested missiles time and time again for years, and this is a president who’s not going to cower down and who’s not going to be weak and is going to make sure that he does what he’s promised to do and that is stand up and protect the American people.”
A Politico report on Wednesday said members of Congress have been so concerned with the president’s mental health however, more than a dozen of them, mostly Democrats, met with Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee on Capitol Hill for two days in December to discuss his behavior.
“We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency,” Lee told the publication.
The publication said Trump’s North Korea tweet this week set off intense discussions about the 25th Amendment, which allows the president to be removed from office if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet agree that he is physically or mentally “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz warned, however, that the discussion of Trump’s mental fitness could be dangerous to democracy.
“The 25th Amendment would require, for mental incapacity, a major psychotic break,” he said. “This is hope over reality. If we don’t like someone’s politics we rail against him, we campaign against him, we don’t use the psychiatric system against him. That’s just dangerous.”