As continued controversy swirls around the publication of a tell-all book about the Trump administration’s first year, some in the media are pushing back against the overarching narrative that the president is mentally unfit for the office.
“Fire and Fury,” journalist Michael Wolff’s latest book, has sparked widespread response — including a cease-and-desist request by President Donald Trump’s lawyers — over its allegations that the administration’s inner circle is in near-unanimous agreement that Trump is not up to the task.
In a segment Friday on “Fox and Friends,” Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera said the ongoing attempt by pundits to cast Trump as incompetent “infuriates” him.
“I have known this man for 40 years,” he said. “And I heard a commentator on MSNBC yesterday say as a scientific fact that there is no doubt but that the president, emotionally and intellectually, has deteriorated from his days as ‘Celebrity Apprentice.'”
Rivera said he has been in consistent communication with Trump throughout that period, describing such analyses as “slander” against Trump.
He explained that he was with the then-reality television host during the last day of taping on the aforementioned NBC series as well as for a one-on-one meeting aboard Air Force One while he was president.
According to Rivera’s assessment, Trump is “as lucid and as intelligent and as intellectually in charge of himself as he has ever been.”
He called Trump “extremely aware of everything that’s going on,” noting that if the president has any problem it is that he is “aware acutely of too many things.”
As for other allegations in the book, such as that Trump was “semi-literate” and “didn’t read,” the Fox News contributor declined to respond, explaining his interactions with Trump did not involve visits to the library.
“I’m not going to give you any information that I haven’t seen with my own eyes,” he said.
He further acknowledged that he believes the “challenge of the job is more” than what Trump anticipated, though he believes the president has shown signs that he is rising to the task.
Rivera said Trump’s growth into the powerful position is apparent if “you look at the learning curve of this man in the first years of his office and look now how his business acumen and his ability to cheer-lead and to encourage and to be the charismatic central focus.”
He suggested an economic trend that has continued to improve during Trump’s first year is not only tied to the president’s agenda, but serves as evidence that he is mentally fit for the job.
Trump has “jumpstarted the economy in a way that is so impressive that everybody is cheering,” he said, adding that there is “not a person watching right now who owns a single share of stock who isn’t better off today than they were the day before President Trump took office.”
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