Is President Trump mentally ill, suffering from dementia, or both? Some mental health professionals and others are arguing that he should be removed from office because the answer to at least one of those questions is “yes.” I believe this is a dangerous course to follow.
A Yale psychiatry professor has suggested the possibility that President Trump might be involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. Others have proposed that he be required to undergo psychiatric or psychological testing. Still others have suggesting invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and declaring the president incompetent.
For more than 25 years I taught courses on law and psychiatry, and related subjects, at Harvard Law School. I co-edited a basic text in the field. And I have written numerous articles regarding the ability and inability of psychiatrists to predict future conduct.
On the basis of my research and writing, I find it unprofessional, unethical and absurd for any mental health professional who has not examined President Trump to offer a diagnosis or psychiatric prediction about him.
We are all entitled to our opinions regarding the president’s political and personal qualifications to serve. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election because I felt she was more qualified than Donald Trump to be president. That is my right as an American voter.
But psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have no more right to pathologize a President or a candidate because they disagree with his or her political views than do prosecutors or politicians have a right…