A former television news producer has revealed that Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist for Donald Trump, once expressed his belief that the former President had begun suffering from early-stage dementia while in the White House.
Bannon allegedly believed that Trump was exhibiting symptoms so much, “there was a real possibility he would be removed from office by the 25th Amendment.”
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60 Minutes producer Ira Rosen made the revelation in his memoir Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes, and detailed the book in an appearance on the Yahoo! News podcast Skullduggery.
In his successful attempt to convince Bannon to interview for the iconic CBS weekend show, Rosen maintained a years-long relationship with the self-proclaimed alt-right leader for years to prove he could be trusted, and that he wouldn’t leak anything Bannon told him.
“Steve is a big talker — kind of a big gossiper… he became a big source for a lot of media people in Washington, and during that period of time that I was with him, he was — I became kind of a therapist.”
Rosen recalls “loitering in the chief of staff’s office, drinking Diet Cokes” as the co-founder of Breitbart “would kind of download to me on stories.”
Bannon appeared on 60 Minutes in September 2017, a month after being fired from the Trump White House. Bannon made no mention of Trump’s alleged health issues because “he didn’t want to talk about it on 60 Minutes at the time,” Rosen told Skullduggery hosts Daniel Klaidman and Michael Isikoff, although “this was a period of time when he had great frustrations with Trump.”
Trump allegedly “turned on Bannon” after he appeared on a Time magazine cover in February 2017 but Bannon apparently remained loyal to the President in public, even after his firing. Bannon hoped to fuel his own presidential ambitions by associating with Trump.
Bannon and Trump would eventually publicly feud in 2018 after the publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which heavily quoted Bannon as critical of Trump’s family and confidantes.
According to Rosen, a 2017 New York Times column by David Brooks in which Republican U.S. Senators gave Trump a standing ovation as he struggled through a bumbling, repetitive speech is some of the public evidence that Bannon pointed to regarding Trump’s mental status.
Someone repeating themselves is one of the most notable early signs of dementia, which is “not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions,” according to the CDC. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia.
The Mayo Clinic stresses that “though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. Having memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia.” So Donald Trump’s “early signs” of dementia could also just be symptoms of being Donald Trump.
Other signs are described as short-term memory issues, inappropriate behavior, struggling to use words correctly, mood swings, apathy, and a “failing sense of direction.”
Bannon is not exactly the most reputable source for honesty, and Rosen’s book focuses more on the inside life of being at 60 Minutes and dealing with personalities like Les Moonves and Charlie Rose — who, like Rosen, were accused of sexual harassment, misconduct and/or inappropriate behavior at the height of #MeToo.
Still, it’s not far off considering Wolff’s conclusion in 2018 that “100% of the people around” Trump believe that he is unfit for office.