Over 100 senior psychiatrists and mental health professionals have gone on record to declare that Donald Trump poses serious psychological risks to himself, the United States, and the international community.
In the lead-up to the dreaded US election, the World Mental Health Coalition released a series of video signatures and articles highlighting what they perceived to be the “psychological dangers” of Donald Trump – namely, his potential to still inflict destruction before his removal in January 2021.
“His post-election gambit confirms once again that he is more dangerous than the typically dangerous leaders of the past because of two factors: his irrational followership and the enormous powers of the U.S. presidency,” Dr Bandy X Lee, President of the World mental Health Coalition, wrote in Daily News.
The World Mental Health Coalition was formed during a conference at Yale University in 2017. Its members made headlines across the globe that same year with their New York Times best-selling public-service book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.
Written as a collection of proceedings from the Yale conference, the authors argued that Trump’s own mental health was affecting the mental health of the people of the United States – with its authors believing he would undermine basic democratic processes through his unstable pathology.
And, as we all know, things have gotten a lot direr since 2017.
A path to healing the nation would be setting standards and boundaries. An issue as momentous as a president’s mental capacity should not be excluded. Before going into screens or fitness tests, do the people not deserve to hear from experts in areas that deeply concern them?
— Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv (@BandyXLee1) November 9, 2020
At the end of October, 100 senior mental health experts – including psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, narcissism experts, and professors from the likes of Harvard and George Washington University – went on video to claim that Donald Trump was too psychologically dangerous and unfit to qualify for the presidency or reelection.
Since the video’s release, emergency conferences bringing together 13 of America’s top experts in psychiatry, history, law, politics, economics, social psychology, climate science, and journalism discussed the dangers of unfit leadership and its permutations into the wider community.
Dr. Bandy Lee, a leading forensic psychiatrist, diagnoses Donald Trump as a mass killer. This is not a joke. Just like Hitler was not a joke.#TakeOutTheWholeRepublicanParty
— VoteBidenSaveAmerica (@Hillary4POTUS) September 2, 2020
Dr Lee worries that while Joe Biden has taken the title of US president-elect at the 2020 election, Trump and his band of radicalised followers are unlikely to go out without a fight.
“The coming weeks and months will be the most dangerous period of this presidency, during which we can expect Donald Trump to go to any lengths to stay in power,” she said.
“The abuser of the nation, bloated with entitlement and delusions of impunity over the years, is maximally positioned to threaten the victim who tries to leave the relationship with him.”
The Goldwater rule
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much from mental health experts prior to this, there’s a good reason.
Mental health professionals are currently silenced by a decades-old gag rule, known as the Goldwater rule. Created in 1973, (and named after a presidential candidate of the time, Bary Goldwater), the rule states that psychiatrists are unable to offer their professional opinion about public figures without first examining them in person and having their permission to discuss their mental state in public.
Back in 2017, following the inauguration of Trump, a group of mental health professionals wrote a letter to the New York Times criticising the Goldwater rule and professing their concern about the new president.
— onabrUJenn (@urbanojenn1221) November 3, 2020
However, their concerns were dismissed by another psychiatrist, and a month after this, the American Psychiatric Association strengthened the gag rule, clarifying that it not only applied to diagnoses but “all professional opinions offered by psychiatrists.”
This meant that any psychiatrist who made a comment about Trump’s mental state would be violating the profession’s code of ethics.
Following this, the same group of experts went onto form the World Mental Health Coalition and have continued to speak out against Trump. However, it has not come without its price, and Dr Lee reported receiving thousands of threats – including death threats – upon the publication of their 2017 book.
— Lone Wolf (@The_Lone_Wolfy) November 10, 2020
Now, with Trump refusing to concede the election, Goldwater rule or not, the World Mental Health Coalition is warning that the danger he poses is far from over.