A forensic psychiatrist, who is an expert in violence prediction and prevention, has declared that Donald Trump’s mental health appears to be deteriorating and that he needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, even if he has to be forced to do so. Dr. Bandy Lee, who is from the Yale School of Medicine and recently briefed a bipartisan group from Congress on the president’s mental state, says she is worried that he seems to be “unraveling.”
In an interview with Eliza Barclay for Vox that was published on Friday, Dr. Lee discusses the grave danger she believes Trump is putting the country in, calling the need for an evaluation of the president “an emergency.” She pushed back against criticism she has received that her public comments about Trump’s mental state violate what is known as the Goldwater Rule, which prohibits mental health professionals from diagnosing a public figure without first giving them an examination.
The New Yorker recently published a piece about the difficulty that the Goldwater Rule presents to psychiatrists and psychologists attempting to speak publicly about the president. Dr. Lee argues, however, that she is not diagnosing Trump but merely identifying potential danger and saying that an evaluation should be made to provide a proper diagnosis.
In her interview with Barclay, Dr. Lee says that she believes that the recent indictments from the Robert Mueller investigation and guilty pleas from members of his campaign team have begun a mental health crisis for Trump. She says that the president is someone who appears unable to “cope well with ordinary stresses such as basic criticism or unflattering news.” She says that Trump’s recent trip to Asia sent up a red flag in that the constant deference and flattery he received while he was there seemed to make the president better. As soon as he returned to the U.S. and the Mueller indictments, she says, his condition began to deteriorate again.
Dr. Lee points to the president’s recent embrace of conspiracy theories that he had previously abandoned and his contention that the voice on the notorious Access Hollywood might not be his own after having previously admitted and apologized for it during the campaign. She goes on to say that his recent behavior has only made the need for an evaluation more immediate and compelling.
“Also, the sheer frequency of his tweets seemed to reflect the frantic state of mind he was entering, and his retweeting some violent anti-Muslim videos showed a concerning attraction to violence. And then there were the belligerent nuclear threats this week.”
Dr. Lee even says that her greatest fear, and that of many of her colleagues, is Trump’s “pathological pattern” shows him capable of acting out violently and setting in motion events that lead to a nuclear holocaust or some other type of violent conflict that could lead to the unnecessary loss of American lives.
Dr. Lee is one of the coauthors of a book released earlier this year, titled The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, that tackles the dangers associated with the president’s mental state and action that the authors feel should be undertaken to counteract it. Recent revelations in Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, have placed Trump’s mental condition very much in the forefront of the public consciousness.
Donald Trump is scheduled for a physical exam on January 12, but at the moment, there is no plan for a mental health examination.