Donald Trump is not fit to be President. He doesn’t have the knowledge, capacity or desire to learn new things in order to be able to weigh in on important issues of the day. It is known that he doesn’t like to read and has asked for complex issues to be presented to him in bullet points. He cannot control his impulses as evidenced by his constant tweeting. The last few weeks have shown his ego-centric behavior to be how he operates and not a blip on the screen. He focuses everything he does and says on himself. His only concern is for himself and how he appears in the world. As he did this past Tuesday in Arizona, he suspends the truth in order to make himself look good. As The Guardian reported:

He took his first statement on Charlottesville from his pocket and told his audience: “You know where my heart is. I’m really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are … I don’t want to bore you with this but it shows you how dishonest they are.”

Trump proceeded to read out the remarks to polite applause, although he failed to repeat the inflammatory words he had used when he blamed “both sides”.

By willfully ignoring the facts he is constantly creating a narrative that is not based in reality.

It is time for psychiatrists to weigh in and make a professional assessment of his mental health despite the Goldwater rule that prevents them from commenting on the psychological condition of a person who they have not personally examined. The rule came into being after Barry Goldwater successfully sued Fact Magazine for a survey taken in 1964 called “1,189 Psychiatrists say Goldwater is Unfit to be President.”

Despite the American’s Psychiatric Association recent reaffirmation of the long standing rule, it is time for them to bring the full bore of their knowledge to bear. Psychiatrists have the right to free speech under the First Amendment. They also have a moral obligation to say something if their concern about Trump’s mental fitness leads them to believe that the nation is in danger. While Trump isn’t their patient, he is their President and if they honestly feel that he is not fit to serve they need to say so now.

The Emperor has no clothes and for professionals to sit on the sidelines and not weigh in on a man who has the nuclear button at his fingertips is ludicrous.

As Jeannie Suk Gerson writes in The New Yorker:

The Constitution contemplates, by virtue of the First Amendment, that we may freely raise concerns about elected officials, and also that in the extreme circumstance envisioned in the Twenty-fifth Amendment, medical professionals would be free to help us understand whether the President can fulfill his duties. If those who know most are the least free to speak, neither Amendment can function properly. The Goldwater rule was an overreaction to psychiatrists wielding their professional badge to do politics.

Some mental health professionals have stood up despite their being admonished not to. Bravo. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures from all of us.

-Jan Harrison


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