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Heilemann: Trump ‘Was a Man Having a Manic Episode’ on Fox News

Thursday on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” network political analyst John Heilemann described President Donald Trump’s Thursday morning interview on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” as someone “having a manic episode on national television.”

Heilemann said, “If the Trump agenda were to prioritize the question of mental health, the president’s performance shined a bright light on the problem of mental health among certain people in the country this morning. The president was having something that approached, I think—I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I’m a man familiar with manic episodes, and that was a man having a manic episode on national television. It was the least strategic, the least tactical, the least legally helpful performance the president has given in a long time.”

He continued, “A lot of things have been said about the various ways in which he made his situation worse on all those fronts. There’s a guy named Michael Cohen who we spent the last couple weeks with a lot of discussions about—would this man flip on the president of the United States? Talking to Michael Cohen’s friends a week or ten days ago, he was distraught. He was upset. The notion that he might turn on the president was very close to the surface. In the last few days, until this morning, you started to hear from people around Cohen that he was calming down. He felt that he had good attorneys, and he felt like the signals he was hearing from the president suggested that the president had his back. Michael Cohen watching that performance this morning is not a person who looks at that man and said, that’s a guy I can count on to have my back. The president did himself damage with Michael Cohen this morning, and that may be the biggest damage he did to himself.”

He added, “It sounds crazy to say this, but the president’s substance, the things he said this morning were not off the charts by his standards of unhingedness. The tone of it, though, was so frantic. The voice was at a high pitch. It sounded like he’d been up all night. He was palpitating. You could hear his agitation in his voice, and I think the tone of it is what a lot of people were reacting to as much as the actual things he said. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but to me, it was the most striking thing because he says sort of unhinged things all the time, but there was something about the totality of that performance that was kind of unnerving, even for people who have low expectations of his coherence on television.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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