Three professors of psychiatry, including one from the Harvard Medical School, have written a letter to President Barack Obama expressing “grave concern regarding the mental stability of our President-elect” Donald Trump and his fitness for the office of president of the United States.
In the letter addressed to President Barack Obama and published on The Huffington Post, the professors, Judith Herman, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, Nannette Gartrell, M.D., formerly of the Harvard Medical School and the University of California, and Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D., also formerly of the University California, recommended that Trump undergo a “full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by an impartial team of investigators” prior to assumption of the full responsibilities of the office of the president of the United States.
“We strongly recommend that, in preparation for assuming these responsibilities, he receive a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation.”
While the professors refrained from suggesting a diagnosis due to professional standards — such as the “Goldwater Rule” — that do not allow them to diagnose a public figure they have not had the opportunity to evaluate personally, they cited Trump’s “widely reported” symptoms of “mental instability, including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.”
The symptoms, according to the professors, raise valid questions about Trump’s fitness for the “immense responsibilities” of the office of the president of the United States.
“His widely reported symptoms of mental instability lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office.”
Richard Greene, The Huffington Post writer who published the letter, wrote that he received it from a “source” that knew he had been interviewing psychiatrists and psychologists across the country “about Donald Trump’s alleged ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder.'”
“Virtually every mental health professional I interviewed told me that they believed, with 100 percent certainty, that Mr. Trump satisfied the DSM criteria of this incurable illness and that, as a result, he is a serious danger to the country and the world,” Greene said.
But this is not the first time that mental health professionals have raised questions about Trump’s mental health. Several U.S. mental health experts, including clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, such as Harvard professor Howard Gardner and others, such as Jeffrey Flier, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Higginson Professor of Physiology and Medicine at Harvard Medical School, have argued that Trump’s personality fits perfectly the standard “textbook” definition of narcissist personality disorder.
— Jeffrey Flier (@jflier) July 30, 2016
Cartoon and reality. pic.twitter.com/4DjgjkOucb
— Jeffrey Flier (@jflier) December 17, 2016
A psychology professor from the Northwestern University, Dan P. Adams, published a comprehensive psychological portrait of Trump on The Atlantic last June in which he identified narcissism as a dominant psychological trait that Trump exhibits.
“When Trump stood up to offer remarks at his father’s funeral, he spoke mainly about himself.”
“… a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.”
“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops,” a clinical psychologist George Simon, who categorized Trump along with Muammar Kaddafi and Saddam Hussein, told Vanity Fair.
“Trump appeals to an ancient fear of contagion, which analogizes out-groups to parasites, poisons, and other impurities.”
Open speculation among professionals about Trump’s mental health, based on alleged symptoms of “mental instability” he has shown, forced the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to release a statement last August reminding mental health professionals of the “Goldwater Rule” that prohibits professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not had the opportunity to examine and evaluate in person.
“This year, the election seems like anything but a normal contest that has at times devolved into outright vitriol,” APA President Maria A. Oquendo said in a statement published on the APA’s website, Psychiatry.org. “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.”
Commenting on the professors’ request that President Barack Obama conduct a “full neuropsychiatric evaluation” of Trump, many analysts pointed out that Obama does not have the power to enforce the letter’s recommendation nor would it be desirable that the sitting president exercise the power to order a psychiatric evaluation of his successor because it would be easily abused.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]