By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (1/13/20)
There has been a growing concern among the nation’s mental health professionals about the psychological state and fitness of Donald Trump in his role as president. His endless tweeting, lying, name calling, impulsivity, inconsistent policy statements and, most recently the assassination of an Iranian military leader, which has put the Middle East on edge and set the stage for serious military and diplomatic repercussions all underline the danger Trump’s mental state brings to the world.
In the January 4 episode of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Nader does a two-part interview with Dr. Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Lee edited the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.
As noted on the Radio Hour website: “Prior to the impeachment vote in the House, she, along with 970 other health professionals, sent a letter to Congress members warning of Trump’s “dangerous” mental state arising from his “brittle sense of self-worth.” Dr, Lee also did a psychological “translation” of President Trump’s recent letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Beyond addressing the issues individual to Trump, Dr. Lee talks of the spreading psychological dysfunction on display throughout his administration, Congress and the society beyond. Just as when an entire family can become psychologically unbalanced, distressed and ill due to the mental condition of a single family member, the same can — and does — happen throughout an entire nation. Dr. Lee notes that “shared psychosis” is a real process that explains what we see as congressional republicans, many of whom — like senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — declared Trump personally and professionally unfit for office during the 2016 presidential primaries are now some of his most slavish tummy-up toadies. It also helps explain much of what we see on display among many Trump supporters at his raucous and buffonish rallies.
From the outside it all looks disordered, distorted and illogical, but from inside the bubble of shared psychosis the world looks safe and contained by the whims, wishes and demands of der leader.
News blackout on the issue
Disturbingly, Dr. Lee talks about the news blackout and timidity and befuddlement of the media to appropriately cover the psychological state and risk of Trump. She notes she has been invited on to various national networks and media some 50 times for interviews only to have them cancelled without explanation at the last moment.
Dr. Lee also talks about the danger of the American Psychological Association’s ‘Goldwater Rule’ preventing it’s members from speaking out about the psychological state or risk of public figures. As she notes, there are higher professional and ethical needs and standards beyond the APA of ‘duty to warn’ and First Amendment rights mental health professionals are duty-bound to respect.
In the second part of the interview Lee speaks of Trump’s narcissism and his admiration for tyrants and thuggish strong men. She warns that with the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate that Trump’s need for revenge will grow.
“He will not go quietly,” Dr. Lee warns. “We need to take the dangers very seriously and not expect him to act like a normal person.”
She also speaks of the wisdom of House Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi , whom she has not always agreed has dealt effectively with Trump, holding the impeachment back from the Senate.
This is an interesting and essential interview for understanding the uniquely dangerous context of the personal and national risks posed by the mental state of Trump and his entire administration.
Part One of the interview begins shortly after the 28-minute mark and concludes at 56:30.
Part Two begins 1:08-minute mark and concludes at 1:22.
- Yale Psychiatrist Claps Back At Trump Ally Alan Dershowitz — Saturday [1/11] it was revealed that Yale University psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee is being sued by President Donald Trump’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz for saying he may have a shared psychosis with the president. While the lawsuit may not proceed in court, there’s a very real question about the burden psychiatrist and psychologists have when warning about the president’s instability. In a Twitter thread Sunday, Lee explained that she complied by “the Goldwater rule” for 20 years, though, as a forensic psychiatrist, she wasn’t obligated to. As critics like Dershowitz assail Lee, she clapped back, saying that there is a “public health emergency” due to the president’s instability. … Read The Rest
(Commoner Call cartoon portrait by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )