Trump goes on an early morning tweetstorm to defend himself as ‘a very stable genius’

The tweets appear to be in direct response to a Fox News segment.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to mount what the New York Times characterized as an “extraordinary defense” of his mental health, describing himself as “being, like, really smart” and “a very stable genius.”

Trump accused his critics of using the “old Ronald Reagan playbook” against him — presumably referring to lingering questions over whether President Reagan may have displayed early signs of dementia while in office, before he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994.

Immediately after Trump sent off his tweets, several media outlets characterized his early morning outburst as in response to Michael Wolff’s new bookFire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White Housewhich paints a picture of a chaotic Trump administration led by an erratic and unstable president.

But there’s another link at play here. It appears Trump was starting his day — as he often does — by watching his favorite TV show, Fox & Friends, and live tweeting from his account in direct response to Fox’s programming.

About ten minutes before Trump published his tweetstorm, a Fox & Friends panel was engaged in a discussion about the recent questions raised about Trump’s mental health.

As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz has extensively documented, there’s a feedback loop between Trump and Fox News that’s even more extreme than what typically gets reported in the mainstream media. Trump’s early morning tweetstorms — which often end up shaping that day’s coverage priorities in the national press — typically line up with the topics discussed on Fox & Friends, which airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET.

Even aside from the juicy anecdotes that litter Wolff’s new book — which includes some details that have not been independently confirmed by media outlets — there has been an increased focus on Trump’s mental health recently. Particularly following the president’s tweets taunting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about not having as big of a “nuclear button” as Trump does, some Democratic lawmakers say they’re growing worried about Trump’s potential mental instability.

A Yale psychiatrist briefed a handful of lawmakers about Trump’s mental fitness for office last month, a meeting that was first reported by Politico. Psychologists are typically not supposed to comment on their opinions about the mental health of people who aren’t under their direct care, and some medical professionals have been sharply critical of the public discussion swirling around Trump.