Donald Trump is “dangerously mentally ill”, a group of experts and commentators has claimed.
Led by Yale psychiatrist Dr Bandy Lee, 27 writers hold forth in a new book that also claims “his madness is catching”.
The Trump presidency, the authors assert, “has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond”.
But not all of the 27 are psychiatric or psychological professionals; the roster includes linguist and media analyst Noam Chomsky, and journalist Gail Sheehy.
The book appears to defy American psychiatry’s professional body, which says doctors commenting on the behaviour or alleged symptoms of a public figure violates a “fundamental principle” of consent.
Ms Sheehy wrote in her chapter: “Beneath the grandiose behaviour of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, the person whom Trump trusts least is himself?
“The humiliation of being widely exposed as a ‘loser,’ unable to bully through the actions he promised during the campaign, could drive him to prove he is, after all, a ‘killer’.”
Dr Lance Dodes, a psychiatrist formerly of Harvard University, said Mr Trump exhibited “sociopathic qualities” and “a persistent loss of reality”.
And psychologist Philip Zimbardo, referring to Mr Trump’s decision to launch an attack on military installations in Syria after the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack, said: “We believe that Trump is the most dangerous man in the world, a powerful leader of a powerful nation who can order missiles fired at another nation because of his (or a family member’s) personal distress at seeing sad scenes of people having been gassed to death.”
Dr Lee has long complained that psychiatrists seeking to warn of what she has called Mr Trump’s “dangerousness” are constrained by the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Goldwater rule, which states it is unethical for psychiatrists “to offer a professional opinion about an individual based on publicly available information without conducting an examination” in person.
She claims the association’s ethics committee “expanded” that position in a ruling earlier this year when it sought to answer the question of whether professionals should be allowed to diagnose or give their clinical opinion on public figures in the interests of national security—concluding that, broadly, they should not.
Dr Lee has argued the rule should not apply if doctors believe the President presents a…