In the three long weeks since Donald Trump was sworn in as president, his erratic and impulsive behavior has caused broad based concern. He has continued his bromance with Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, while alienating longtime allies. His attacks on the media border on obsession and appear aimed at delegitimizing any criticism. He has a perverse fixation on polling and crowd counts at his poorly attended public events. And he repeatedly makes statements that are easily debunked as lies. His Twitter feed is a scrolling document of mental instability.
The accumulating evidence of Trump’s “malignant narcissism” has now produced draft legislation that would create the position of a White House psychiatrist. The bill by Rep. Ted Leiu (D-CA) could be introduced as soon as next week. It’s purpose is to provide the same assurances of a president’s mental health as that of his physical health. The law requiring a White House physician was passed in 1928, but didn’t specify a role for a psychiatrist due to the stigma associated with mental illness.
Leui’s bill would correct that oversight. The general objective is to provide a safeguard for both the President and the nation. He told the Huffington Post that it would be “the best way to get the president treatment” if there were questions about his or her mental health. However, he also expressed concerns relating specifically to the current occupant of the White House:
“It is not normal for the president of the United States, within 24 hours, to write about death and destruction and fake news and evil,” he said. “The most troubling aspect of this is it is very clear he has a disconnection from the truth. … The very first press conference he had in this administration, they could have talked about jobs or health care. They talked about crowd size. And then lied about it. It’s one of the most bizarre events I’ve witnessed in politics.” […]
“When you add on top of that his stifling of dissent, his attacks on the free press and his attacks on the legitimacy of judiciary, that then takes us down the road toward authoritarianism. That’s why I’ve concluded he is a danger to the republic.”
This isn’t a strictly partisan concern either. HuffPo noted that the GOP chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is also considering legislation. His bill would require future presidents to undergo mental health exams. Chaffetz told the Washington Post that “If you’re going to have your hands on the nuclear codes, you should probably know what kind of mental state you’re in.”
Donald Trump is the poster child (with an emphasis on “child”)for mental health awareness. He believes the world revolves around him and that he is superior to the other pathetic creatures that inhabit it. Once, when asked who he consults with, he replied that “My primary consultant is myself” because “I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” That attitude, along with an array of other symptoms of mental impairment, are reason enough to worry.
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The fact that members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, have chosen to raise these issues now reflects the mood of a nation trembling with fear. And it isn’t over the terrorist threats that Trump is so feverishly and cynically exploiting. America recognizes the signs of a warped personality that is dangerously unstable. And if we, as a nation, don’t take steps to protect ourselves now, we may soon come to regret it.