Three Democratic lawmakers have asked a Yale psychiatrist to consult with them on a panel to evaluate the president’s mental health, and determine what to do about it, Tonic reports.
The lawmakers, who are anonymous for now, asked Bandy Lee of Yale how they could gather mental-health professionals “to review the president’s mental health, and review it on a periodic basis.” They’re expected to meet with Lee in closed-door session in September.
Questions about Trump’s mental health abound. His easily observed grandiosity, pathological lying and impulsiveness are common symptoms of a number of psychological disorders. His speaking style has grown more erratic over the years and could be a sign of mental decline. Lawmakers’ concern is rooted in history: Psychologists now agree that Ronald Reagan began exhibiting symptoms of pre-senile dementia when in office. But exploring that territory is a political third rail and a controversial area for the mental-health community.
Mental-health professionals generally abide by the Goldwater Rule, which prevents them from making a public diagnosis without personally examining someone. (Trump did not submit to the usual physical exam after becoming the Republican nominee, releasing a letter from his personal doctor who had said “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”)
But in February, 37 mental-health professionals published a letter in the New York Times expressing serious concern about President Trump’s mental state. “We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president,” the letter read. “Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).”
Also in February, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said he planned to introduce a bill that would require a White House psychiatrist. “His disconnection from the truth is incredibly disturbing,” said Lieu. “When you add on top of that his stifling of dissent, his attacks on the free press and his attacks on the legitimacy of judiciary, that then takes us down the road toward authoritarianism. That’s why I’ve concluded he is a danger to the republic.”