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Good job, America — you turned the president's brain into another partisan fight. A new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll shows that a little more than half of Americans think President Trump's mental fitness is a legitimate issue — but Democrats overwhelmingly say it's an important issue while most Republicans say the questions are "unfair and politically motivated."

Expand chart
Data: SurveyMonkey online poll conducted January 10-11 among a national sample of 1,412 adults. Margin of error +/- 3.5%. Poll Methodology; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: Questions about Trump's mental state have been raised by some psychiatrists and returned to prominence after the publication of the new book "Fire and Fury." Trump is scheduled to get a physical examination by the White House physician today, but that's not going to tell us anything about his brain. The White House says it's not going to include a psychiatric exam, and it's not expected to have other cognitive tests.

A group of psychiatrists has been warning that Trump's mental state poses a "serious danger," based on behavior ranging from aggressive tweets to what Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee called "belligerent nuclear threats" against North Korea. Author Michael Wolff ramped up the issue in his book, "Fire and Fury," with his claims that White House officials are concerned about Trump's mental sharpness.

  • The catch: The psychiatrists' warnings have resonated mainly with Democrats — Republicans haven't engaged, and the White House has pushed back aggressively. The psychiatrists acknowledge they can't actually diagnose him from a distance, and the American Psychiatric Association's "Goldwater rule" discourages such talk anyway.

What's next: Whatever we learn about Trump's physical health — not his mental health — will come soon. The White House physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, will give a "detailed readout" in the White House briefing room on Tuesday, per White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. (Trump said yesterday he'll be "very surprised" if his physical doesn't go well.)

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
4 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.