White House reportedly wonders about meds affecting Trump’s behavior

When Donald Trump announced yesterday afternoon that he was ending all negotiations on an economic aid package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) happened to be leading a conference call with her Democratic conference. Alerting House members to the presidential declaration, Pelosi voiced concerns about whether his medications were affecting his judgment.

Evidently, the Speaker isn’t the only one raising the question. The New York Times reported overnight:

Some White House staff members wondered whether Mr. Trump’s behavior was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria.

It was against this backdrop that Rachel spoke on the show last night with Dr. Robert Wachter, the chair of the department of medicine at UC San Francisco, who explained that the medication the president is on can cause mood swings — as can COVID itself, especially among the elderly.

“For a 74-year-old man to have COVID, symptomatic COVID, low blood oxygen, which can alter your thinking, and be on dexamethasone raises the possibility that his thinking is altered, his judgment is altered from the medications,” Wachter said. “And part of the problem is if he is one responsible for figuring out whether he’s capable of thinking clearly, that’s not a good plan.”

The physician added, “I would say of the hundreds and hundreds of patients I’ve taken care who have altered thinking, it’s not at all infrequent that they have no idea. It’s one of these things that happens. They lose insight. They are unable to tell they have a problem. It’s the folks around them that can tell that. I can’t say for sure that there’s a problem here, but it certainly is possible given the medications, the low blood oxygen and the infections itself.”

But in the same interview, Wachter conceded that part of the challenge in the diagnosis is having a sense of a patient’s “baseline personality,” which can serve as the basis for a comparison to determine whether he or she is acting erratically. And that’s the point I find myself stuck on as it relates to Trump.

To be sure, yesterday was a head-spinning day for those watching the president. He appeared to be acting recklessly, tweeting strange messages at a manic pace, and making policy pronouncements that were counter to his own interests. Given his behavior, it was hardly surprising that some, including White House officials, started wondering about Trump’s health and the effects of his ailment and treatments.

But all of this comes with a caveat: we’ve confronted similar questions about Trump’s erraticism last week, last month, and last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.

What does it say about a president when people struggle to tell the difference between his usual persona and the one he displays while on potentially mood-altering medications?

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New Jersey governor calls YouTubers’ massive party at ‘Jersey Shore’ house an ‘egregious display of knucklehead behavior’

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy again denounced the behavior of partygoers in the state, this time citing a recent house party that drew more than 1,000 guests and resulted in eight arrests.



Philip D. Murphy wearing a suit and tie: "It was irresponsible from top to bottom in every respect," Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.


© POOL via News 12 NJ
“It was irresponsible from top to bottom in every respect,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

“It was irresponsible from top to bottom in every respect,” Murphy said during a press conference Wednesday, calling the party, which was held on Monday night, an “egregious display of knucklehead behavior.”

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The governor explained that young people can have fun — but must continue social distancing and wearing masks, as the US struggles to contain the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Since mid-August, the percent positivity rate among 14-18 year-olds has grown from 3% to 7%, while for 19-24 year-olds it’s risen from 2.7% to 7.1%, said state health commissioner Judy Persichilli.

“We are continuing to see case numbers climb among young people,” she said. “Many of these cases and clusters are a result of parties and social gatherings.”

Murphy made similar comments in late July, after it took police officers over 5 hours to break up a party with over 700 attendees.

“Come on folks! Come on,” Murphy said at the time. “That’s needlessly putting men and women in uniform and their families at risk.”

Monday’s party took place at a New Jersey boardwalk house featured in MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

A group of YouTube pranksters, known as the Nelk Boys, organized a promotional event at the house, according to Seaside Heights Police Detective Steve Korman. The party was dispersed at about 9:30 p.m.

The Nelk Boys, who are from Toronto, currently have more than 5.73 million subscribers, according to their YouTube page.

The eight people arrested at the “Jersey Shore” house are between the ages of 18 and 26. Charges included disorderly conduct, obstruction, and resisting arrest, Seaside Heights police said in a press release.

Police also said that “glass bottles and rocks were thrown at officers during and after the arrest” of at least one of the eight people.

“I’m totally disgusted,” Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz said. “We would never recognize this type of activity in our community.”

The town’s bureau administrator, Christopher Vaz, also told CNN that there was no special event application or municipal approvals of any kind regarding the gathering and that the majority of attendees appeared to be “high school-aged kids.”

“Jersey Shore” member and longtime house owner Danny Merk said he took responsibility for the incident.

“The police handled it perfectly,” Merk said. “It just became crazy.”

The “Nelk Boys” did not respond immediately to CNN’s requests for comment.

As of Wednesday, New Jersey has had 197,792 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 16,054 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.



a screen shot of a computer: The party at Seaside Heights, hosted by the "Nelk Boys."


© Courtesy Tracy Obolsky
The party at Seaside Heights, hosted by the “Nelk Boys.”

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