Is Donald Trump mentally and emotionally fit to be the President of the United States of America? Ever since Barry Goldwater this has been a taboo question for mental health professionals.
This question is important. The chaos in the White House reflects Donald Trump’s management style. It is erratic, bizarre and embarrassing. Foreign leaders have to give the President of the United States, short lessons on basic topics, because there is nobody in the White House who can guide Trump.
Some health professionals say it is still unethical to diagnose the president.
These mental health professionals say that they have to see him in person in their consulting room, or some such nonsense. That argument is valid for the average citizen. But Donald Trump is not your average citizen. The Don actively seeks the limelight. He has been hosting a reality show. He loves the attention. There are thousands of hours of Trump interviews and speeches. Reams of pages in magazines with articles about Trump and with interviews with people close to him and/or worked with Trump.
There are university psychology courses with Donald Trump’s speeches illustrating the classical traits of a narcissist.
There is far more information in the public domain on Donald Trump than the majority of psychologists could ever dream of about their average patient. In a one-on-one meeting with a pathologically lying Donald Trump what can a skilled psychologists find out that is not already in the public domain?
Freely accessible in the public domain are his statements, his promises, his assurances, his views and opinions, as well as the contexts, alternative narratives from others, and the possibility of assessing his truthfulness with hindsight,
Duty to Warn
Hundreds of mental health professionals have come together to found Duty To Warn. They believe that just as they are ethically and legally obligated to break confidentiality to warn a potential victim of violence, they have a duty to warn the public about the president, and that trumps all other considerations.
More than 53,000 psychologists and psychiatrists have signed the Duty to Warn petition. This petition is aimed at mental health professionals, stating Trump should be removed under the 25th Amendment because he is too mentally ill to serve competently:
“We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), 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 3 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.”
At a Duty To Warn conference at Yale Medical School, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton warned against what he called a “creeping malignant normality.” Trump has been assessed by numerous psychologists as having malignant narcissism. Under a malignantly narcissistic leader certain unpleasant attitudes become “normal” including: conspiracy theories, racism, alternate facts, and maligning the press.
As Robert Lifton said, “If we do not confront this evil, it will consume us.”
Much has been written about Trump having narcissistic personality disorder as well as suggesting malignant narcissism. Malignant narcissism is not your run-of-the-mill narcissism. Malignant narcissism is toxic.
Psychologist Sam Vaknin who specializes in malignant narcissism has said that Donald Trump has those characteristics.
Malignant narcissism has been described as being on the borderline between sanity and insanity. This explains Donald Trump’s disconnect with reality.
This condition has also been described as having four components:
- antisocial personality
Trump exhibits all four.
Even small things in his bizarre private life show a man who is not normal. For example, a description of a Trumpian dinner:
- He gets a Diet Coke and his guests get water
- With the salad course, Trump is served Thousand Island dressing while his guests get a creamy vinaigrette
- With the chicken Trump is the only one given an extra dish of sauce
- For dessert Trump gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie. His guests get only a single scoop
A psychologist, one of the authors of the Duty to Warn petition said, “From a psychiatric point of view the absolute worst-case scenario, if I were to take the DSM and try to create a Frankenstein’s monster of the most dangerous and destructive leader and had freedom to create any combination of diagnosis and symptoms, Trump would be the result.”
Alternative suggestions vary from Alzheimer’s to neurosyphilis.
Note: The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental health disorders.