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Woodward to Scarborough on Trump's mental fitness: 'I don't dig into that'
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward on Wednesday told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that he's "not a psychiatrist" and doesn't "dig into that" when asked about President Trump's mental fitness.
In an appearance to promote his book "Fear: Trump in the White House," Woodward said "what matters to people is the performance as president" after twice being asked about Trump's mental "well-being" by the "Morning Joe" host.
Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski, both frequent critics of the president, have questioned Trump's mental fitness in segments on the show dating back to early 2017, with Scarborough stating that people close to the president have told him that he has "early stages of dementia."
Scarborough pressed Woodward on if he had seen any signs of concern about Trump's "well-being mentally" with his access to the White House.
"When you interviewed all of the people, the staff members and acquaintances and people close to his orbit, any concern about Donald Trump's well-being mentally, or did they just believe that he's got an efficient personality that can't handle the truth?" Scarborough asked Woodward.
Woodward would not comment on the president's mental fitness, but only on concerns he says were expressed to him about Trump's job performance.
"I'm not a psychiatrist and I don't dig into that," Woodward replied. "What matters to people is the performance as president. And when you dig into this and excavate it, again, you find people are worried about the performance, the inability to grow, the inability to listen, the inability to change his mind."
"And so you have a situation - I make this point, but I think a real ardent Trump supporter would go through this and say, gee, maybe I like Trump and some of the things, but this is not the way to manage the government," he added.
Scarborough pressed ahead on the issue.
"I know you're not a psychiatrist," he said. "I'm just curious if anybody expressed concern to you while you were interviewing them that he may not have the mental capabilities to be president of the United States."
Woodward again would not say that any staffers questioned the president's mental fitness, pointing only to times Trump gets "worked up" about issues.
"Well, I demonstrate scene after scene how he deals with reality and data," Woodward replied. "And in the course of it, in one National Security Council meeting, he is so worked up about how much money we are spending with troops, American troops abroad, in South Korea or in Europe, and he thinks we're being cheated.
"Finally, Secretary of Defense [James] Mattis, when Trump is, you know, 'Why are we doing this? What do we get out of it?' Mattis says, 'We're trying to prevent World War III,' " Woodward continues. "Mattis, at this point, is so frustrated, has to communicate and tell the president - and this is a year into office, this is not the first week - literally has to tell him we're trying to prevent World War III."
Woodward's book was released Tuesday and is already atop Amazon's best-seller list.