“The president of the United States is not well.”
Thus begins Vox writer Ezra Klein’s article, “Incoherent, authoritarian, uninformed: Trump’s New York Times interview is a scary read,” published last week after President Donald Trump stunned us once again during an interview with the New York Times.
Questions about the president’s psychological condition are not new.
Last February, California Representative Ted Lieu reported he is considering proposing legislation that would require a psychiatrist be on staff at the White House. A number of mental health experts concur with Lieu, as do other lawmakers.
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told The Washington Post last January he was considering introducing legislation requiring presidents to undergo independent medical examinations, including psychiatric ones.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would support legislation requiring Trump to take a mental health exam.
Journalist Andrew Sullivan has called on other journalists to start talking publicly about President Trump’s mental instability.
But serious consideration about invoking the 25th amendment to the Constitution–the mechanism by which presidents no longer capable of performing their duties can be replaced–has been brushed away as so much “liberal hooey.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told CNN Trump’s isolated, erratic, and delusional behavior is presenting a dangerous situation.
Raskin is supporting a bill to establish a bipartisan panel with Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump from office.
Reporter Michael Wolff’s explosive book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, released Friday, early despite Trump’s attorneys’ demands to cease publication, is helping to expose the president’s mental deterioration.
Wolff wrote in The Hollywood Reporter:
“Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions. It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories — now it was within 10 minutes. Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions — he just couldn’t stop saying something.”
“At Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.”
During an interview with Fox News in October, Trump answered a question about tax cuts with the following:
“I think this, look, you know, I am very happy with the way I’ve done part of this in my civilian life, all right…well it’s about me representing rich people. Representing — being representative of rich people. Very interesting to me Bob Kraft was down. He was very nice. He owns the Patriots. He gave me a Super Bowl ring a month ago…Which was very nice. That’s right. But he left this beautiful ring and I immediately give it to the White House and they put it some place and that’s the way it is.”
In July, while visiting Israel, Trump literally wandered away from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and had to be directed back to shake hands.
Two months later, Trump wandered away from his car and had to be guided back.
“He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews.”
Richard Painter, former President George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer stated the country is in danger, and Congress needs to consider the 25th Amendment or Trump’s impeachment.
Citing Michael Wolff’s book, Painter told MSNBC:
“We have reached a point where the cabinet and the House and the Senate need to look both at the 25th amendment and impeachment provisions of the Constitution because we’re in a situation where we do not have a safe person in the Oval Office, and despite all my disagreements with Mike Pence on a range of issues, at least he would calm things down and we would feel a little safer at night. This book is just one more piece of evidence that this president is not fit for office. It’s just one. As I said, he has done tweets just 48 hours ago that convinced many of us that he’s off his rocker.”
Now there is a mounting call among psychiatrists for an emergency evaluation of Trump’s mental capacity, by force if necessary.
Bandy Lee, an assistant professor in forensic psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, is leading the cause.
She said in an interview with Vox:
“The [Robert Mueller] special counsel’s indictments started a crisis — a mental health crisis in a president who is not able to cope well with ordinary stresses such as basic criticism or unflattering news…The sheer frequency of his tweets seemed to reflect the frantic state of mind he was entering, and his retweeting some violent anti-Muslim videos showed a concerning attraction to violence. And then there were the belligerent nuclear threats this week…Provoking our allies and alienating them, instigating civil conflict, and laying a foundation for a violent culture that could give way to epidemics of violence — not to mention poke a beehive in the Middle East by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. All of these actions are consistent with the pathological pattern he has already shown of resorting to violence the more he feels threatened.”
It is important to understand Lee is not diagnosing the president.
“We keep with the Goldwater Rule. We are mainly concerned that an emergency evaluation be done. It would be hard to find a single psychiatrist, no matter of what political affiliation, who could confidently say Trump is not dangerous. We are assessing dangerousness, not making a diagnosis.”
Impeachment is likely, as special council Robert Mueller zeroes in on Trump’s inner circle.
It’s only a matter of time.
The possibility, though, that Donald Trump’s presidency could be the first in American history to end through invoking the 25th amendment is both intriguing and concerning.
After all, we would be left with Vice President Mike Pence and the entire cabinet of deplorables.
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