White House mum on report that Putin has Asperger’s syndrome
The White House on Thursday refused to comment on reports that the Pentagon prepared a study theorizing Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger’s syndrome.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that he didn’t have “any comment” and declined to weigh in on whether the administration thought the findings had merit.
“I’m not saying its un-credible,” Earnest said. “I’m just saying I don’t have a personal reaction.”
The report, obtained by USA Today, said Putin likely suffered from “an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions.” The report was prepared by contractors for the Office of Net Assessment, a think tank that advises the military on long-term strategy.
But researchers say a definitive diagnosis would not be possible without medical tests.
Separately, the White House slammed Moscow for failing to live up to an agreement with Ukraine intended to usher in a peaceful resolution to the fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern regions.
Earnest said Moscow had failed to live up to multiple provisions of that agreement.
“That is an indication that we need serious engagement from the Russians and the separatists, the likes of which we’ve not seen before,” Earnest said.
Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Kiev to meet with top Ukrainian officials. The administration is reportedly weighing whether to step up military assistance to Ukraine, although the White House has repeatedly said it believes there must be a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
The situation there will also be a topic of conversation between Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is scheduled to visit the White House on Monday.
Merkel has said she does not think it is a good idea to send additional arms to Ukraine, although the White House said the president would make whatever decision was in the U.S.’s national security interest.
“But certainly, the president takes very seriously the views of our allies and is going to consult very closely as we evaluate any needed strategic changes ahead,” Earnest said.