Speed Reads

Trump v Bannon

Trump, reportedly furious over questions about his mental health, didn't accept Bannon's apology

President Trump may be publicly insisting that he is "really smart" if not a "genius," after the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury thrust long-simmering questions about his mental acuity to the front of the public conversation in Washington, but he "privately resents the now-regular chatter on cable television news shows about his mental health and views the issue as 'an invented fact' and 'a joke,' much like the Russia probe," The Washington Post reports, citing "one person who recently discussed it with him." The book has "roiled the president more than anyone expected," Axios adds.

In particular, Trump has spent the week "publicly and privately raging about his former chief strategist" and "onetime brother-in-arms" Stephen Bannon, a primary source for Wolff's book, Politico reports. Bannon, uncharacteristically, tried to de-escalate his ill-timed feud with Trump, issuing a public partial apology Sunday for his comments about Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., but inside the White House the statement was "seen as too little, too late for an operative unaware of the self-inflicted damage his hubris could cause," Politico says, and "it did nothing to quell Trump's rage at his former chief strategist or the anger of Bannon's former West Wing colleagues."

Trump's tweets about his intelligence notwithstanding, the White House strategy for parrying questions about Trump's mental fitness has focused on "umbrage and indignation," attacking anybody who raises the question, the Post says. "The White House perspective is outrage and disgust that people who do not know this president or understand the true depth of his intellectual capabilities would be so filled with hate they would resort to something so far outside the realm of reality or decency," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emailed the Post. When reporters asked if Trump's physical on Friday will include psychiatric tests, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said simply, "No."