In his new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff portrays US President Donald Trump as a person with mental health issues. Quoting people like former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, the book shows Trump as impatient, unable to grasp policy, prone to rambling and repeating himself: in short, unsuitable to be president. This has become the top headline in the US and excited Trump critics.
Rebutting his critics, an irked president tweeted at length that he was "a very stable genius."
Although since World War II US presidents have often come under attack, Trump is the first to have his mental health questioned. This shows the waning quality of US democratic politics.
Trump's erratic style was fully on display during his campaign and it partly contributed to his electoral victory. He didn't change much after he entered the Oval Office.
Starting a debate now over Trump's mental peculiarities that helped him get into the White House can achieve nothing. His opponents called him a clown during the campaign while supporters took him as a new politician that breaks away from pedantic political tradition. The latest row will only cement opposition between the two sides.
After one year in office, Trump still divides the US establishment and anything unfavorable to him can easily escalate into a public uproar. He has been persistent tweeting and has carried out promises that were thought mere lip service, such as announcing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This was unthinkable for his predecessors.
Yet the changes he has brought in the past year exceed what his predecessors achieved in their first year in office. Many of his actions can be taken as either reforms against dissenting views or mentally ill behavior, depending on one's perspective.
Trump's performance as a president will be evaluated by history. But just as he starts performing his duty, there have been waves of criticism that culminate in the row over Wolff's book.
It is doubtful whether the US public likes to see this happen to their president. But the outside world certainly welcomes such a farce. Questioning the mental health of an elected US president satirizes not only the institution but the US electoral system itself.
As onlookers, we find that there are big problems with the US political system from which we should steer well clear.
From Trump's electoral victory to his being overwhelmingly questioned, US democracy is suffering a kind of demonic possession. The superpower is losing its capacity to go beyond division and achieve unity. As long as US elites think the public are deplorables, Trump voters won't rest. That's what the US is like today.