Some of us might remember Yale psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee who made headlines in December 2017. She traveled to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers from both the House and the Senate on Donald Trump’s “fitness” to be President. Speaking to CNN afterward, she said, “Lawmakers were saying they have been very concerned about this, the President’s dangerousness, the dangers that his mental instability poses on the nation. They know the concern is universal among Democrats, but it really depends on Republicans, they said. Some knew of Republicans that were concerned, maybe equally concerned, but whether they would act on those concerns was their worry.” There was one Republican senator among the group whom she would not name. Corker, maybe Flake?
According to CNN, “Lee made it clear that she is not in a position to diagnose the President, or any public figure, from afar. But she said that it is incumbent on medical professionals to intervene in instances where there is a danger to an individual or the public. She argues that signs the President has exhibited have risen to that level of danger.”
Her concern began immediately after Trump’s victory. Lee believed that President Trump posed a danger to America and felt it was her duty to warn us.
For decades, psychiatrists have observed “The Goldwater Rule.” Following a hit job from a group of psychiatrists who had never met him, Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, sued them and won. Since then, it’s been the policy of the American Psychiatric Association not to diagnose a patient unless the individual has been evaluated in person. But because Trump presented such a threat, she just could not remain silent.
Lee observes a different rule called the “Duty to Warn,” which is currently a law in 38 states. If a doctor believes that a mental health patient may cause physical harm to another, they “may break confidentiality and alert the likely victim or call the police.” The law makes sense in general, but it hardly applies to Trump.
“The Goldwater Rule is not absolute. We have a duty to warn about a leader who is dangerous to the health and security of our patients,” she told New York Magazine’s Gail Sheehy.
Lee formed a “coalition” of like-minded mental-health professionals who were “sufficiently alarmed that they feel the need to speak up about the mental-health status of the president.”
To make a long story short, Lee had spent time in East Africa and in maximum security prisons studying the culture of violence and views life through that lens.
Sheehy asked her, “Do Trump’s middle-class supporters see him as a strong man who promises to revive the status they have lost? Is their sense of belonging tied to Trump?”
Lee replied, “He is giving his fans a false sense of empowerment: ‘Make America great again, reject outsiders who will take your jobs.’ But instead of elevating their status with real solutions, he is exploiting their psychology.”
Anyway, according to the Washington Examiner, Lee and her group of experts, which she calls the “Independent Expert Panel for Presidential Fitness,” would like to appear at next week’s impeachment inquiry hearings. She told the Examiner’s Kimberly Leonard, “We think that hearing about mental health aspects in the context of the impeachment hearings is critical, partly because, for the past 2.5 years we have been very deeply concerned about mental instability of the president, and pretty much all that we have said has born out to be true.”
Leonard asked her about the fact that neither she nor her fellow “experts” have ever met Trump, and Lee assured her “there is enough information from the president’s public appearances, tweets, interviews, and also from special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, to make the determination that the president lacks the mental capacity to fulfill the duties of his office…There is very little that a personal examination will add.”
The psychiatrists who are making themselves available for consultation are Dr. James Merikangas, Dr. Jerrold Post, Dr. John Zinner, and Dr. Allen Dyer, all of whom teach at George Washington University. Sara Pascoe, a clinical neuropsychologist who is a former member of the National Academy of Medicine, is also part of the panel. Lee doesn’t yet have permission from the neurologist and internist to name them publicly.
The experts plan to share findings from the mental health analysis if called in to testify.
Lee tells Leonard, “We don’t believe there is the need for any further evaluation, and we are making ourselves available for the impeachment hearing because we believe that mental health issues will become critical as pressures from the impeachment hearings mount. In other words, the more successful the impeachment proceedings become, the more dangerous the psychological factors of the president will become.”
The Examiner article did not report on Adam Schiff’s response to Lee’s offer.
I find it incredibly unnecessary, irrelevant, inappropriate, presumptuous and just plain ridiculous. And I’m pretty sure most conservatives feel the same way.