Former White House chief ethics czar Richard Painter has called for President Donald Trump to be removed from office, saying the president is “not well,” according to a story in Newsweek. Richard Painter, who served as the head ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House, went on MSNBC on Tuesday and explained his legal view of the president invoking the National Emergencies Act in order to bypass Congress to get funding for his coveted border wall, calling it “clearly illegal.”
Painter pointed out that even invoking the National Emergencies Act is completely unreasonable, because while building a wall along the southern U.S. border may well be a promise Trump made on the campaign trail, and a promise that his supporters on the right are howling for, it doesn’t qualify as an emergency.
“If this is an emergency…then just about anything could be an ’emergency.’ Any policy priority of any president could be an emergency and that’s not the meaning of the word ’emergency’ within the act,” Painter said.
But then he went beyond the legal parsing of the wall issue and declaring it an emergency to offer his views on the president himself and Trump’s mental state. Painter labeled him an “extreme narcissist” who has only called for emergency powers because “he’s been denied what he wants – his wall.”
“I think we need to understand why we’re in this situation. The president is not well at all mentally,” Painter said. “He is having a hissy fit. He’s out of control and he will not take no for an answer from Congress. It’s unconstitutional. It’s illegal.”
Painter noted that what he is saying about the president’s mental health is not coming from him alone. The World Mental Health Coalition has stated that there are “thousands” of mental health professionals who have said publicly that Trump’s mental health “presents a clear and present danger to the world.”
But while many people have called the president’s mental state into question over the past two years, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) maintains that its members should avoid giving their professional opinion on anyone they haven’t personally examined. The so-called “Goldwater Rule” was instituted in 1973 by the APA after a number of psychiatrists participated in a survey that labeled former Republican candidate Barry Goldwater a “dangerous lunatic” prior to his losing a presidential run, all without any of them having personally interviewed the man.
However, former ethics czar Painter is bound by no such rule.
“This is a man who believes [Russian President] Vladimir Putin rather than his own intelligence sources,” Painter said. “He is not capable of doing the job. He does need to be removed under the 25th Amendment.”