House Democrats are planning to host a town hall setting at Capitol Hill featuring psychiatrists who will warn that President Trump is unfit for office based on his “deteriorating” mental health.
Leading the event is Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist and editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, where the argument is made that psychiatrists have a responsibility to warn the public when a president is dangerous. The position is highly controversial because the psychiatric association urges members never to diagnose patients they have not personally evaluated because it undermines the scientific rigor of the profession. Lee insists that she is not actually diagnosing the president because anyone can tell he’s crazy.
“The president’s condition has been visibly deteriorating to the point where there’s a lot of talk right now about his mental state beyond mental health professionals,” Lee said. “It no longer takes a mental health professional to recognize the seriousness of the current presidency.”
The town hall will tentatively include a highlight reel from a March event that featured 13 “experts” from the mental health, philosophy, journalism, and history fields opining on Trump’s unfitness for command, Lee said.
Every member of the House will be invited, and Congress, the media, and the public will have the opportunity to question her and other experts – though she hastened to add that they’d leave the question of whether to invoke the 25th Amendment or merely impeach Trump up to the Congress.
Those who agree with Lee that the President’s behavior shows mental instability that is dangerous, shouldn’t be interpreted as issuing a diagnosis. Which means the event is nothing more than a political stunt to distract from President Trump’s accomplishments.
A date for the town hall has not been set but would be held “imminently soon within the next couple of weeks,” said Lee, who said the event was meant to be bipartisan. Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who has called for Trump’s impeachment, confirmed the event was in the works, but said it would be more likely to occur in July because lawmakers have a full plate in June with spending bills.
“We’re planning to put together an event,” Yarmuth said. “She’s calling it a town hall. We haven’t actually determined the format, but it’s going to be an event where she is going to present her findings, and media will be invited.”
The anti-Trump resistance has been fixated on his health from the beginning of his presidency, clinging to hope that they can use the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a president whose cabinet has deemed him unfit to serve, as a possible silver bullet in case the multitude of probes and investigations underway don’t produce their goal of removing the president from the White House.
Democrats have scrutinized his medical exams, obsessed over the slightest expansion of his waistline, and picked apart his tweets and public statements, seeing dementia behind every “covfefe” and “big red button” tweet. No doctor’s clean bill of health is ever enough; a verdict of “insane,” on the other hand, is accepted even in absentia.
Lee has been outspoken about President Trump’s mental state for the better part of two years. She’s the public face of a five-person group that is meeting regularly in D.C. and working to set up a medical panel to evaluate the mental capacity of Trump and Democratic presidential candidates.
“It’s deceptive because it seems like he’s alert, it seems like he’s responding to things in a rational manner, but it is not the case from every measure that we have taken,” Lee said of Trump. “And this is very serious. In fact, worse than if he had a stroke and were unconscious because he can mislead the country in destructive or nefarious ways.”
Lee has been predicting President Trump’s mental collapse for the better part of two years. “He’s going to unravel, and we’re seeing the signs,” she warned Yarmuth and 12 other members of Congress in December 2017, two months after publishing ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ in collaboration with 27 other psychiatrists. Lee has stopped just short of calling for Trump to be involuntarily committed, acknowledging that restraining him against his will for the “urgent evaluation” he needs would “really look like a coup.”
The American Psychiatric Association adopted the so-called “Goldwater Rule,” forbidding members to give diagnostic opinions on public figures they had not actually examined, in 1964 after Senator and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater sued the publishers of a magazine piece polling psychiatrists over their opinion of his fitness to be president.
Lee said she would reconsider holding the town hall if no Republicans expressed interest in attending.
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