House Democrats Planning Event on Trump’s Mental Health

Published on June 5, 2019 by Athena Pallas

A pair of House Democrats is planning an event for other House members in July that will focus on what they see as the dangerous state of President Trump’s mental health. House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) are planning to host Yale school of medicine psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee, who edited the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” Yarmuth said, according to The Hill, that “We are planning to do something where she (Dr. Lee) can make a presentation to other members, so that they’ll be aware of what she’s been working on.”

This is not the first time that Dr. Lee has spoken to a subset of Congress about what she and her colleagues who wrote chapters in that book see as the worsening mental health of Donald Trump. In the book the mental health experts involved argue that Trump’s mental instability, rhetoric, propensity to lie, altered perception of reality, and delusions of grandeur represent a danger to public health. The book itself is somewhat controversial in that American Psychiatric Association (APA) ethical guidelines prohibit members from speculating about the mental health of public figures they have not treated. The authors of the book contend, however, that the danger Trump’s mental health represents to the public necessitated their public comment about it. Yarmuth made the same argument in announcing the July event. According to The Hill:

House Democrats plan to hold an event intended to highlight what they say is President Trump’s deteriorating mental health. House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said he and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) will host Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist who edited the best-selling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” …Yarmuth said he thinks it’s important that members of Congress and the public understand the position of Lee and the other psychologists in the book, which argues that Trump’s mental health has deteriorated to the point where it poses a threat to the country. “Even though none of them had actually treated Trump, they in their practices, and their experience, they recognize certain patterns of behavior, and when it’s their professional responsibility to alert people who may be endangered by someone’s behavior,” Yarmuth said. “And in this case it’s the American people.”

Many have questioned President Trump’s mental fitness for the job, and certainly it is clear that his narcissism and accompanying lack of empathy, among other problems like poor impulse control and poorly managed anger, certainly get in the way of his functioning as a president, but the question is what to do about it. It does not seem that there will be an intervention to use the 25th amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump for incapacity. Trump certainly seems very unlikely to seek help for his issues, so they are unlikely to improve. Most likely Trump’s untreated mental health, along with his policies and his track record, will simply be factors to consider in the 2020 election.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.