Donald Trump

Media Hysterics About Donald Trump's Mental Health

It's gonna be a wild 2018.

|

Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/Newscom

Does Donald Trump's mental state present a threat to the human species? Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee thinks so.

"As more time passes, we come closer to the greatest risk of danger, one that could even mean the extinction of the human species," she told Newsweek. "This is not hyperbole. This is the reality." She also insisted, according to Newsweek, that vehement denial was a sure sign of illness.

Politico reports that Lee "briefed" about a dozen Democratic members of Congress, and one Republican senator she would not identify, about Trump's mental health. Last year Lee edited a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, collecting 27 essays from "mental health professionals."

Reason's Jacob Sullum—no Trump fan—recently debunked the pseudoscience behind Lee et al's criticisms. "The argument about Trump has nothing to do with mental illness and everything to do with his abilities and temperament (as well as his policies, an unspoken motivation for many, if not most, of the critics who worry about his mental health)," Sullum concluded.

Lee's comments have fueled yet more chatter about the 25th Amendment, Section Four of which offers a mechanism for the vice president and the Cabinet to declare a president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

But in that scenario, the president can declare himself fit for office again. If the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet then again declare him unfit, the matter goes to Congress, which has 21 days to decide. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to declare the president unfit; otherwise he remains. The whole thing has even more procedural hurdles than impeachment, and therefore is even less likely to happen.

Long-distance psychoanalysis is not new in presidential politics. A rule forbidding the practice takes its name from Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee who critics claimed was, as Sullum recounted, "'a dangerous lunatic,' a repressed homosexual, a self-hating half-Jew, a paranoid schizophrenic, and 'a mass-murderer at heart,' just like 'Hitler, Castro, Stalin and other known schizophrenic leaders.'

And it's not just Goldwater. In 2004, a George Washington University psychologist, Justin Frank, released a book called Bush on the Couch that suggested then-president George W. Bush was psychologically unfit to hold office. Fringe sites claimed former president Barack Obama was mentally ill. Sean Penn said the same thing about one of Trump's rivals for the 2016 Republican nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

But this round of partisan fantasizing has been propelled into the mainstream, in part by reporters inclined to believe anything about Trump and in part by a president more than happy to play along in the show-bizification of politics. It'll all make good fodder for his fake news media awards.

It's nuts.

Advertisement

NEXT: Amicus Brief on California Confiscation of Standard Magazines

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Actually 2018 will be pretty conventional. Back to work, I fear. Also who’s the crazy one, the crazy guy, or the millions of people who voted for him, or the one jumping up and down calling him crazy?

    Queen Oprah 2020 Exploratory Comittee approves this message.

  2. We need a more powerful executive, to keep this from happening.

    1. A big, strong motherfucker who could lift rocks and suck cocks like a beast.

      Right?

    2. Get Jar-Jar to vote the Supreme Chancellor more emergency powers!

    3. The stress will make bad presidents crack up faster so we can get rid of them.
      Maybe he’ll have a heart attack and die.

  3. Anyone whose beliefs differ from mine in the slightest is by definition mentally ill.

    1. Only if they deny it though.

  4. They should give him a Nobel Sane Prize and cross their fingers that it works.

  5. You know how they say schizophrenics don’t know they have mental illness?

    The lefties tend to have anosognosia and their narrative bubbles reinforce said mental illness.

  6. “”””Does Donald Trump’s mental state present a threat to the human species? Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee thinks so.””””

    I thought the psychiatrists are suppose to have a rule where they have to actually examine a person before they could render a opinion. Or since Trump is Hitler that rule does not apply?

    1. Because of his “mental illness”, he will NEVER go to her, which only proves how narcissistic he is! So it’s her duty to point this out to every sane person.

      1. She also wants to force him to undergo analysis and be declared unfit. She sounds like a super-awesome source of a declaration of insanity.

    2. and we have a winnah!

    3. If Trump is Hitler, that means…Hitler was/is Trump?

  7. People who spout hyperbole never think it’s hyperbole. That’s why the disclaimer “It’s not hyperbole”.

    1. I prefer “existential crisis”. If the Earth gets 2 degrees warmer, our entire existence is at risk, so I can feel like I’m fighting for something important by flying all over the world to climate conferences to spread awareness.

  8. For the most part, I think a lot of these hysterics are normal, and Krayewski does a good job of detailing decades of it. The difference is the media saturation of such things.

    Dems have screamed that every Republican is unstable and unfit for office back to Goldwater, and maybe earlier. They’ve also repeatedly attempted to impeach every elected Republican President since Nixon. It’s just that now the 24 hour news cycle coupled with instant access to the internet has made it impossible for many people to ignore and caused these antics to spread like wildfire from the fringes to the mainstream.

    1. They’ve also repeatedly attempted to impeach every elected Republican President since Nixon.

      I don’t know how old you are but this simply isn’t true. I say this having voted mostly for GOP candidates since 1992.

  9. I respect Bandy Lee’s work, but if Drumpf got removed via the 25th Amendment wouldn’t that leave us with President Mike Pence? That’s scary too, since Pence’s America would be just like The Handmaid’s Tale. Did you know he supports electroshock therapy for LGBTQ people?

    The best option for recovering from the Russia-hacked election of 2016 is to wait for Mueller to prove beyond all doubt that both Drumpf and Pence are Russian agents. Then the Congressional majority Democrats will win in 2018 can deal with the mess.

    1. I think the defacto impeachment by long distance psychoanalysis is the backup plan in case the obstruction of justice case or Russian treason or Billy busgate fall through.

    2. Did you know he supports electroshock therapy for LGBTQ people?

      Yeah, I totally agree. Pence’s support this is such weak-tea. Everyone knows you can’t cure it. You can only cleanse society of the unclean.

    3. Did you know he supports electroshock therapy for LGBTQ people?

      source?

  10. So fringe websites claimed Obama was mentally ill while a psychiatrists and psychologists from major universities put out that Republican presidents are mentally ill, going against their profession’s ethics.

    It is not quite equivalent.

    1. No, but it might be as close as you are going to get, considering the political inclinations of most psychiatrists and psychologists from major universities.

      1. Bingo. Especially Yale — their Department of Psychiatry is an embarrassment, and was long before this nonsense.

        Let’s just say it’s much, much easier to become a Yale psychiatrist than it is to get admitted to Yale as an undergrad.

  11. Bandy.

    Shut up you trouble maker.

    Honestly, what a bunch of stupid bull shit. This may play well to clowns like that guy up thread but not to people with their heads screwed on right.

    1. Come on Rufus, Brandy is a fine girl.

  12. “a president more than happy to play along in the show-bizification of politics.”

    When has it not been this. I’m just glad Trump is calling them out for it.

  13. This is incredibly offensive to those of us who suffer from mental illness. I’m sure people like her feign being anti-stigma. But as soon as you can use it to slander your opponent it’s all over. Suddenly, Mental Illness becomes something to strike you entirely from public life.

    Psychiatry is a field with many hucksters and a tremendous amount of bullshit. And still, Dr. Lee, you bring shame to your field. You set back just a little more the work of those trying to live and work without being treated like a child that needs to be coddled and contained.

    1. Calling Trump mentally ill is an insult to the mentally ill.

  14. Anyone who would seek the office of president is ipso facto unfit to hold it.

  15. My oldest son was having some difficulty in school last year. My wife called his pediatrician and he, without even seeing him, never mind testing him, diagnosed him with ADHD. So it seems that the Goldwater Rule only applies to presidential candidates; otherwise, doctors are free to slap on whatever diagnosis for a mental disorder they please.

  16. I think we should try to get him to crack.
    What can we do to make the Donald lose his shit … more often?

  17. The session in the WH on immigration today was a brilliant political stroke, showing his willingness to bring the sides together in a deal while demonstrating he’s not crazy.

    Crazy like a fox TBH.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.