People close to US President Donald Trump are concerned his judgment is being affected by the one of the drugs used to treat his Covid-19 infection, according to news reports citing anonymous sources.
Trump's doctors have confirmed he was being treated with dexamethasone, a powerful steroid which can affect mood, causing euphoria and in some cases psychiatric effects including feelings of grandiosity or mania, after being flown to the Walter Reed military hospital in Maryland last week as his virus symptoms worsened.
He returned to the White House on Monday after a three-day hospitalisation, where his behaviour – including a car ride outside to wave at supporters followed by a barrage of all-caps tweets – had reportedly concerned some of those around him, including his son Donald Trump Jr, according to Vanity Fair.
The left-wing publication's Gabriel Sherman, citing "two Republicans briefed on the family conversations", said Don Jr had told friends he had tried lobbying Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Eric Trump to convince the President he needed to stop acting unstable.
"Don Jr has said he wants to stage an intervention, but Jared and Ivanka keep telling Trump how great he's doing," a source allegedly told Vanity Fair.
"Don said, 'I'm not going to be the only one to tell him he's acting crazy.'"
On Tuesday, Trump abruptly called off coronavirus stimulus relief talks with Democrats until "after the election", saying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "not negotiating in good faith" and that he was instructing his team to focus on the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett instead.
The surprising move caused the stock market to plummet and was labelled a tactical mistake even by some Republicans, who argued he should have allowed Democrats to bear responsibility for the stalled negotiations, but instead had made it appear he had abandoned voters suffering due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump appeared to have realised his mistake. "If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?" he wrote.
The New York Times, also without citing sources, reported that "some White House staff members wondered whether Trump's behaviour was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone".
The newspaper said Trump had "made calls from the White House on Tuesday and roamed the areas of the presidential residence that had been set up for him" but was "described as itching to get back into the Oval Office and show that he was in charge".
In a conference call with House Democrats on Tuesday, Pelosi wondered aloud whether dexamethasone side effects were behind the President's decision to abandon talks, according to USA Today.
Pelosi announced today Democrats would be "talking about the 25th Amendment" over the weekend, bringing forward a bill to set up a "commission" to investigate Trump's health.
The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution outlines how a sitting President can be removed by the Vice President together with the majority of his Cabinet "or of such other body as Congress may by law provide" if he is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".
"Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation," Trump tweeted in response. "They don't call her Crazy for nothing!"
It came as Sean Conley, Trump's doctor, on Thursday announced the President had "completed his course of therapy for Covid-19 as prescribed by his team of physicians" and would be ready for public engagements by Saturday.
"Since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggest progression of illness," Conley said.
"Overall he's responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects. Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time."
Later that day the Trump campaign again demanded the second presidential debate with Joe Biden be held in person, after the group that sponsors the events "unilaterally" announced it would be virtual due to health concerns.
"President Trump's physician, Dr Sean Conley, says the President will be medically cleared for 'safe return to public engagements' by Saturday, five full days before the originally scheduled debate in Miami on October 15," Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien said.
"There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it, or otherwise alter it in any way."
Stepien claimed the CPD was "protecting Joe Biden". "The American people can see through this obvious attempt to shield Biden from another shellacking like he got two weeks ago and the CPD must reverse course and let the debate proceed," he said.