Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Dr. Phil on ‘probably past their prime’ Biden and Trump, and the prescription Congress needs

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024

His fellow “Oprah Winfrey Show” alum traded medicine for the campaign trail, but “Dr. Phil” McGraw says there’s “not a chance” he’ll follow Mehmet Oz’s path and enter politics. 

“I don’t know enough about it,” McGraw said, before conceding, “Some people might consider that a plus.”

Oz attempted to parlay his broadcast success as TV’s “Dr. Oz” into a 2022 Pennsylvania Senate bid. The GOP candidate lost the race to Sen. John Fetterman (D).

“I’ve spent the last 45 years in this lane and in this arena, and I feel very comfortable in that,” McGraw said when asked if he’d consider going the same route.

“When you start talking to me about geopolitics and all the things that go into that — I’m a neophyte, I don’t think I would be competent to do that,” he said.

But McGraw said he is qualified to tackle the latest social and cultural hot topics, which he does in his latest book: “We’ve Got Issues: How You Can Stand Strong for America’s Soul and Sanity.”

In it, the longtime “Dr. Phil” daytime TV host, whose show took a bow last year after 21 seasons, writes that “activists, with what many in the political arena call ‘woke’ agendas, are on the attack,” citing a need to move from a “cancel culture to a healthier ‘counsel culture.’” Other chapters focus on what he calls a “dangerous erosion of faith” in the U.S., his belief that “inclusive language” isn’t inclusive and is “barely language,” and the “negative impact” of technology and social media. 

Asked why he’d want to wade into America’s culture wars, the 73-year-old New York Times bestselling author told ITK, “I’ve done over 3,500 shows and had a career 15 years before that in psychology and human functioning. But I got to a point where I looked around and I saw things changing, things going on in this country that really concerned me.”

McGraw said he was also alarmed by the questions he was receiving from his loyal TV audience “really shifting” over time, especially as the country entered the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Those questions, he said, “started to include social issues,” such as “what’s going on in schools” and “a lot of things that went beyond just the nuclear family.”

The issues, McGraw contends, are more cultural than political.

“I’m not a political voice, and I don’t know enough about politics to speak intelligently about it. I think a lot of people that talk about it don’t know enough about it to speak intelligently about it, I’m just willing to admit that,” he said with a laugh.

“Somebody told me the other day, they said, ‘You talk a lot about political issues.’ And I said, ‘No, I think politicians talk a lot about cultural issues. I think it’s the other way around.’”

He said he “doesn’t see a whole lot of differences” between the country’s political parties, and he might be one of the few fans of gridlock in Congress.

“I just don’t think that we’ve got people in charge of problem-solving, that are really interested in solving problems in this country. And I think that’s not a very smart thing to do on our part,” McGraw said of lawmakers. 

While the book is heavy on “issues,” President Biden and former President Trump only get passing mentions within its nearly 400 pages.

“I think this country is a whole lot bigger than one personality,” McGraw said of Trump.

Saying he’s “not a Republican or Democrat,” McGraw weighed in on questions surrounding both White House candidates’ ages. Trump is 77, and Biden is 81.

“I’m concerned by functionality, and I think when you get to that age, you sure need to look at who’s standing behind them in the vice president’s role,” he said.

“He can’t control his aging process,” McGraw said of the octogenarian president. “Has he dropped some steps? I’m sure he has.”

“I don’t know whether [Biden] wants that job or whether he doesn’t, but I think a lot of people want him to stay in that job because of the incumbency power that comes with the job. But I think both of them, they certainly are probably past their prime functioning, if we just look at the aging curve,” McGraw said. 

The no-nonsense doctor — who has a PhD in clinical psychology and recently launched “Dr. Phil Primetime” on his Merit Street Media cable network — floated making cognitive tests for leadership positions a rule of law.

“Pilots are required to do it. I wouldn’t want to get on an airliner if somebody hadn’t screened the pilot that was up there.”

Since he’s tackled broken families, relationships and finances on his TV show, ITK wanted to know how McGraw would deal with warring lawmakers in Congress, and if he could have them hugging it out by the end of the episode.

“First thing I would have them do is spend some time making eye contact, looking at each other without saying a single word, because we don’t spend enough time regarding each other as human beings,” McGraw said. 

That would give fractured members of Congress the chance to see each other “not as opponents, not as a Democrat or Republican, not as somebody that is your adversary — but as a human being that gets up just the same as you do every day, that has a mother and a father that loves them, has children at home that are proud of them,” he said.

“It’s kind of like keyboard bullies say a lot of things when they don’t have to deal with somebody personally. Road rage people scream things through a rolled-up window that they would never say to somebody in an elevator,” he continued.

“We don’t regard each other enough as human beings, and if we would stop and take the time to connect as human beings, I think it would change the face of things in a fast, fast hurry.” 

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Phil on ‘probably past their prime’ Biden and Trump, and the prescription Congress needs”
  1. As Emily Smith, I believe that Dr. Phil makes a valid point about the importance of staying true to one’s expertise. It’s admirable that he acknowledges his limitations in areas outside his field and chooses to focus on topics where he can make a meaningful impact.

  2. “Dr. Phil” McGraw seems to have a clear stance on staying out of politics and focusing on social and cultural issues instead. His dedication to his current lane seems commendable and his insights in his latest book provide a compelling perspective on the current state of affairs in America.

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