It is worth noticing this series of events over the last week:
- Trump held a news conference after the midterm elections in which his affect was clearly depressed, until he engaged in a confrontation with CNN’s Jim Acosta.
- The president traveled to Paris to take part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the treaty that ended WWI. He had previously cancelled his plans for a military parade, saying that he would honor the military in Paris instead.
- On Saturday, Trump skipped the ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France. The White House suggested that it was because of the weather, but that didn’t stop other world leaders or Trump’s staff from attending the event.
- The president arrived two hours late to a dinner that evening with world leaders.
- The White House announced that the president will not attend the ASEAN or APEC summits in mid-November.
- Monday morning brought this announcement:
Trump won’t be leaving the White House today, per press office. No visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) November 12, 2018
It is hard to avoid the idea that there is a pattern to all of this. Based on his affect during the press conference last Wednesday, I asked whether or not Trump was depressed. That seemed to be the conclusion that a lot of people reached for various reasons. These last five days have only heightened that concern. It is a very real possibility that Trump is decompensating.
In medicine, decompensation is the functional deterioration of a structure or system that had been previously working with the help of allostatic compensation. Decompensation may occur due to fatigue, stress, illness, or old age. When a system is “compensated,” it is able to function despite stressors or defects. Decompensation describes an inability to compensate for these deficiencies.
The president did, however, brighten up a bit for one moment on Sunday.
Faces of world leaders receiving despot Vladimir Putin. Says it all. #puppet pic.twitter.com/XFWDoBpVx1
— Nell Scovell (@NellSco) November 11, 2018
His handler seemed to want to cheer him up.
Watch as Vladimir Putin gives Donald Trump a thumbs up at Armistice Day commemorations in Paris.
Live updates: https://t.co/DI2w7V7YqX#ArmisticeDay100 pic.twitter.com/FksAwkVXCn
— euronews (@euronews) November 11, 2018
At this point, it appears that the president will still attend the G20 meeting in Argentina at the end of November, where he’s expected to meet with Putin. It will be interesting to watch whether Robert Mueller releases any information before that date, which is probably what is causing the decompensation in the first place.