April 29, 2019
President Donald Trump’s “reckless” response to the investigation into his campaign—as detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his report—shows that he is unable to rationally process risk, making him a danger to the entire nation, according to a new analysis released on April 26 by an elite group of psychiatrists.
In an excerpt from the study posted on dangerouscase.org, the mental health professionals noted that, instead of worrying about an attack on the nation’s electoral process, Trump has revealed that he is “preoccupied with himself to the point where he does not even consider the good of the nation.”.
The report bears an unwieldy title: “Mental Health Analysis of the Special Counsel’s Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” The authors’ chosen subtitle, though, goes more to the heart of their thesis: “If One is Too Incompetent to Commit a Crime, Despite Trying Hard, Is One Competent to be President?”
The five authors of the report include:
- Bandy X. Lee, M.D., MDiv., assistant clinical professor in Law and Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine (Project Group Leader);
- Edwin B. Fisher, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill;
- Leonard L. Glass, M.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School;
- James R. Merikangas, M.D., clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, George Washington University; and
- James Gilligan, M.D., clinical professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law, New York University.
According to a story on the study published by The Huffington Post, Yale University’s Bandy Lee, the lead author of the analysis, said that she and her colleagues believe Trump’s behavior shows that his mental condition is deteriorating rapidly. They are requesting that he undergo a full evaluation within the next three weeks by a “non-governmental, independent and non-partisan” panel that would include psychiatrists, neurologists and internists.
“If he believes he is fit, he should agree to submit to one,” Lee said, adding that if he refuses, her group will piece together a “profile” of Trump’s mental condition much the way the CIA prepares psychological profiles of foreign leaders who are deemed to be threats to the United States. “We believe it is equally valuable to do one when an internal leader is a danger to the nation.”
The White House press office did not respond to HuffPost’s queries about the new report—other than to argue generally that doctors should not offer diagnoses without performing clinical evaluations.
Lee has been arguing for some time, the Huffington Post said, that Trump’s public remarks and written statements on Twitter show that he is unfit for the presidency. She said the 448-page Mueller report offers even more evidence, meticulously collected over a period of two years by a team of experienced investigators.
“There couldn’t be higher quality data,” she said, adding that while Mueller was looking at Trump’s words and deeds from a criminal justice standpoint, her team studied his findings from a mental health perspective.
James Merikangas, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University and another author of the report, said it does not make a diagnosis, as the White House is implying.
“We don’t claim to make a psychiatric or neurological diagnosis, although we’d like to,” he said, adding that evidence collected by Mueller shows that Trump seemed unable to anticipate the bad consequences that would have followed had he managed to fire the special counsel.
He noted that the president’s father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimer’s in his final years and that the president, who will turn 73 in June, is at the age where the neurological disorder commonly starts to manifest itself. Merikangas pointed out that President Ronald Reagan, who also developed Alzheimer’s, was known to be exhibiting some symptoms in his second term.
“Reagan was at least surrounded by competent, patriotic people,” said Merikangas, adding that Trump has methodically driven off competent advisers with sound judgment in favor of those who cater to his whims.
The professor said that as a Navy officer in 1962, he witnessed the last above-ground nuclear test conducted by the United States and that has shaped his concerns about Trump. “The president still has the authority to start a nuclear war by himself,” Merikangas said. “That’s one possible consequence. … It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”
The five authors of the new report are among the 37 mental health professionals who contributed to the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” which came out in 2017 and was updated earlier this year.
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