Terrance Gavan – Editor
(Psychology Today summary vis the Dangerous Case of Donald Trump)
On February 28, we published a post, “The Elephant in the Room: It’s time we talked openly about Donald Trump’s mental health,” which went viral with close to a million reads. People on both sides of the political spectrum—as well as some mental health professionals—weighed in with hundreds of comments.
One comment was from Hal Brown, MSW, a colleague of John Gartner, Ph.D., whom we mentioned in the post. John is the founder of Duty to Warn, an organization intent on warning our country that we are in dire trouble due to our president’s mental instability. More than 60,000 mental health professionals have signed John’s petition, which states:
“We, the undersigned mental health professionals, believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’”Psychology Today
Imagine a man, a man devoid of competence, inflicted with a malady so debilitating that a group of highly trained and respected psychiatrists deem him mentally unfit to carry out his duties.
Now Imagine that the man is president of the United States, and in fact (as he did this past week while threatening North Korea with nuclear mayhem), this same man wanders around pointing to his military attache, who is carrying the nuclear codes in a briefcase, and uses him as a prop in a mindless blather about launching shit into the atmosphere.
The president of the USA is bonkers. Completely and irrefutably bonkers!
That’s not an exaggeration. In fact 37 doctors of the mind confirmed that Donald trump is mentally ill and 60,000 more psychological professionals have logged their support.
Journalist Lawrence O’Donnell has taken it upon himself to champion Gartner’s effort to help educate the public. On his MSBC program, The Last Word, he recently spoke with Gartner and Lance Dodes, M.D., a retired professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in a segment titled “Mental-Health Experts Say Donald Trump Is Unfit to Serve.” Gartner contended that mental-health professionals have a duty to warn the public of dangerous individuals in their midst. According to Gartner, mental-health professionals can observe a person’s behavior and words, from afar, and diagnose that person. He claimed that the idea of the psychiatric interview as the gold standard for assessment is not true, and added that we have thousands of hours of Trump’s behavior in front of us. He continued:
“As far as ethics go, I would argue with my colleagues that those who don’t speak out are being unethical. If we have knowledge and understanding about the unique danger that Donald Trump presents through our psychiatric training and we don’t say something about it, history is not going to judge us kindly.”
Dodes was asked by O’Donnell to watch and comment on a much-played clip of Trump claiming during a debate that he had lost “hundreds” of friendson 9-11. Dodes’ said there were two pieces to Trump’s lying: First, he lies because of his sociopathic tendencies — “He lies in the way a person scams people; he’s trying to sell an idea or a product by telling you something that’s not true.” The other aspect of his lying was more serious — his loose grip on reality. For example, when he lies and has been told that what he said is not true, he still carries on with the lie. Dodes said that this indicates Trump cannot accept an aspect of reality and therefore rejects it, making his grasp on reality, and his attention to it, loose. “This is an extremely dangerous trait in a president,” Dodes continued. “And that makes him unqualified.”