Trump Interviewer Says ‘Cognitive Questions’ Apparent During Sit-Downs

Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The author of a new book about Donald Trump’s reality television background described the former president as “meandering and confusing” and exhibiting “some cognitive questions” during interviews for Apprentice in Wonderland.

Variety Co-Editor in Chief Ramin Setoodeh appeared on CNN’s The Source on Tuesday, where anchor Kaitlan Collins asked him about the six interviews he conducted with Trump since May 2021.

“What was he like? What did you observe from him when you sat down with him?” Collins asked.

Setoodeh began by referencing a CNBC report from last week following a meeting Trump had had with some of the nation’s top CEOs, who said the 78-year-old was “meandering” and “could not keep a straight thought.”

“That report you just talked about—about ‘meandering’ and ‘confusing’—is right,” Setoodeh said. “He goes from one story to the next. He struggles with the chronology of events. He seems very upset that he wasn‘t respected by certain celebrities in the White House. And then he‘d go to a story about The Apprentice.”

“So as you know, Kaitlan, it‘s very challenging to interview Donald Trump and to go toe-to-toe with him,” Setoodeh told Collins, who moderated an unruly Trump town hall last summer, “but there were some cognitive questions about where he was and what he was thinking, and he would—from time to time—become confused.”

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Setoodeh’s account comes as the Trump campaign and many Republicans in Congress are criticizing President Joe Biden’s acuity. Yet on Tuesday, for the second time since Saturday, Trump himself flubbed his attempt to mock his rival on that very subject.

On CNN, Setoodeh described one particular erroneous statement that Trump made to him.

“He confidently told me and declared that Joan Rivers voted for him when he ran for president,” he said, noting that the comedian died in 2014.

Early on in the book, Setoodeh writes that Trump could not remember the pair’s prior meeting.

“On some days, I have the feeling he has no idea whom he is even talking to; at our second meeting, he tells me he couldn’t remember sitting down with me, even though it was only a few months earlier…”

Setoodeh explained to Collins that that interview had to start “from square one,” in which Trump was relaying “the same exact stories” as before.

“From there, then we did more interviews so that we could cover more ground,” Setoodeh summarized, “but it was a little bit like Groundhog Day.”

Setoodeh made similar comments Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, saying that Trump “had severe memory issues” during their interviews.

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