House Democrats say they will provide a platform to a psychiatrist to speak to members and the public on what she calls President Trump’s deteriorating mental state, despite professional guidelines against diagnosing public figures.
Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist who edited a book titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” will attend the town-hall style meeting on Capitol Hill, to which all lawmakers will be invited
“We are planning to do something where she can make a presentation to other members, so that they’ll be aware of what she’s been working on,” Rep. John Yarmuth, Kentucky Democrat and House Budget Committee chairman, told The Hill on Wednesday.
Mr. Yarmuth and Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat, will host Dr. Lee and perhaps other psychiatrists, The Hill reported.
“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,” Dr. Lee said, according to the Washington Examiner, which first broke the story.
Mr. Yarmuth thinks the event will happen some time in July because of a crowded legislative calendar in June. And while every House member, along with the media, will be invited to the event, he told the Examiner, he wasn’t sure what the interest level among Republicans would be.
Dr. Lee said she would reconsider the event if only Democrats accepted the invitations.
Neither Dr. Lee nor any of the psychiatrists in her book have treated Mr. Trump.
For more than a half-century since psychiatrists warned that 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater might be insane, the American Psychiatric Association has prohibited members from speculating about the mental state of public figures.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Maria Oquendo, then the president of the APA, reiterated that warning.
“The unique atmosphere of this year’s election cycle may lead some to want to psychoanalyze the candidates, but to do so would not only be unethical, it would be irresponsible,” she said.
Dr. Lee downplayed that admonition because it’s Mr. Trump.
“It no longer takes a mental health professional to recognize the seriousness of the current presidency,” she said.
Mr. Yarmuth, who has called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, also dismissed the ethical issues.
“Their position is that as professionals, when they see patterns of behavior that are endangering people, that they have a professional obligation to go public and alert the people who are threatened, and in this case it’s the American people,” he told the Examiner. “I think the American people deserve to have wider dissemination of that perspective.”
• Victor Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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