Yale psychiatry professor warns Trump's mental health is 'unraveling'
A psychiatry professor at Yale who believes President Trump’s “unraveling” mental health is a mounting emergency made her case to more than a dozen members of Congress last month.
Dr. Bandy X. Lee, an internationally recognized expert on violence who edited the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” met with lawmakers on Dec. 5 and 6, she told the Daily News.
Lee gave a presentation on why Trump posed a “public health risk” to the group of Democrats — and one lone Republican — during the private meetings that lasted more than 16 hours during the course of two days, she said.
“From a medical perspective, when we see someone unraveling like this, it’s an emergency,” Lee said. “We’ve never come so close in my career to this level of catastrophic violence that could be the end of humankind.”
While Lee made it clear that psychiatrists are prohibited from diagnosing from afar, she pointed to President Trump’s pattern of behavior as a worrying sign.
She highlighted Trump’s posturing, threats, and attacks, saying if his “self image as the very best and the greatest and an expert in everything is challenged, he responds immediately.”
“He’s very attracted to means of violence as a way of burnishing power,” Lee added.
The response from the lawmakers, Lee said, was overwhelming. “What astonished us was how enthusiastic they were to speak with us,” she said.
The politicians questioned Trump’s fitness to serve from a legal perspective, according to Lee, who added, “Their main concern was getting Republicans on board.”
“What they were saying is that Republicans were also concerned [about Trump’s mental health] — possibly equally concerned, but as to whether they would act, that was a different question,” she said.
Lee held a small conference for mental health professionals in April to discuss their “duty to warn” about a leader’s psychological instability.
While only about 20 people were in attendance, several lawmakers contacted Lee, who eventually gained the support of more than a thousand mental health professionals.
A proposed meeting with the congressmen was postponed until the indictment of three Trump campaign advisers renewed the plans for Lee to travel to Washington.
“Something like the Mueller indictments would pose a serious threat to someone who has difficulty coping with criticism. So this in our minds, was a trigger that was going to unleash worrisome signs, and as we predicted, they’re unfolding.”
Just yesterday, Trump responded to Kim Jong Un after the North Korean leader threatened a missile strike on the U.S. with a “nuclear button on his office desk.”
Trump responded on Twitter, writing, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
The tweet prompted Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, to declare Trump “psychologically unfit.”
Responding to Trump’s tweet about his nuclear button, Painter wrote, “This tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes.”
Bill Kristol, a leading conservative and co-founder of The Weekly Standard, also tweeted, “I trust @VP has asked his Counsel to prepare a draft document transferring power in accord with Sec. 4 of 25th Amendment in case it’s suddenly needed, & that he’s discussed this with COS Kelly.”
The 25th Amendment states if the president is unable to fulfill the duties of the office, the vice president, Cabinet and Congress have the ability to remove him from office.
While murmurs of Trump's instability have been growing, invoking the 25th Amendment remains a faint possibility.
On Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brushed off a reporter's questions regarding Trump's psychological state and said, “The people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea."