18, February 2017
A growing number of Democrats are openly saying that Donald Trump may not be mentally fit to serve as the president of the United States. Mental health professionals have already warned that President Trump is showing “classic signs” of mental illness, including “malignant narcissism.” A Washington, DC-based newspaper, The Hill, reported on Friday that several Democratic lawmakers are also now questioning President Trump’s mental health.
In a floor speech this week, Earl Blumenauer, a Representative from Oregon, demanded a review of the Constitution’s procedures for removing a president if he is mentally unstable. The Congressman said the 25th Amendment of the Constitution falls short when it comes to mental or emotional fitness for the office of the president.
Senator Al Franken from Minnesota told CNN during a weekend interview that Trump’s mental health is a source of great concern for some of his Republican colleagues as well. Asked by the host if it is “true that Republican colleagues of yours express concerns about President Trump’s mental health,” Franken replied, “A few… There’s not a majority of them.”
Meanwhile, a Representative from California, Ted Lieu, is set to introduce a bill that would require the presence of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the White House to check on the president. The Democrats argue that Trump’s habit of making demonstrably false claims show that something is wrong with him. President Trump at a press conference on Thursday claimed that he had the biggest Electoral College victory since former Republican President Ronald Reagan, for example, while his margin was lower than either of President Barack Obama’s wins.
Blumenauer told The Hill he started talking about the review of the 25th Amendment because Trump has repeatedly made ludicrous claims, such as insisting that it wasn’t raining during his speech on Inauguration Day on January 20 at Capitol Hill when it was. “It’s not normal behavior. I don’t know anybody in a position of responsibility that doesn’t know if they’re being rained on. And nobody I work with serially offers up verifiably false statements on an ongoing basis,” he said.
For decades, psychologists and psychiatrists have kept silent about their diagnostic opinions of public figures in accordance with ethical rules set out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). However, thousands of mental health professionals have signed a Change.org petition declaring the US president “is mentally ill and must be removed.”
Thirty-five psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers have sent a letter to The New York Times saying that “the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” Psychologists have also begun questioning Trump’s state of mind because of the type of temperament and behavior he has displayed during his public appearances. Most recently, John D. Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who taught psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said Trump “is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” according to The Independent.
Gartner believes Trump shows signs of “malignant narcissism,” which is defined as a combination of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism. But some other mental health professionals are concerned that political actors suggesting that their opponent has psychological problems risks stigmatizing people with actual mental illnesses. “I think the politicization is troubling,” said Joshua Miller, a psychologist at the University of Georgia whose research focuses on pathological personality traits and personality disorders. “We certainly wouldn’t want individuals to use mental illness as a weapon to harm others.”
Congressman Lieu however argued that the mental health of a person who is in control of the nation’s nuclear codes must be scrutinized. “I think it is a legitimate issue to raise. I am not a mental health professional, so I don’t know in terms of any sort of medical expertise on this. But I do see and hear the same things that other people see and hear, and a lot of people have concluded that what’s going on is not normal. So what do I do with that as a member of Congress?” he told The Hill. “Anyone who can launch 4,000 nuclear weapons in minutes absolutely should be questioned on any matter related to their physical and mental health,” he stated.