Last week, Donald Trump fired off a seven-page letter to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which he aired his grievances and vented his anger toward the impeachment process against him in the House. The letter, in which Trump accused Pelosi of “declaring open war on American Democracy” was widely described by political experts and mental health professionals alike as “unhinged,” “insane,” and revealing of “a psychotic mind.”
But now one psychiatrist who has sounded frequent warnings about what she says is Trump’s dangerous mental state has said that Pelosi came up short in responding to the letter, as well as to numerous other Trump actions that reveal “declining cognitive functions.”
Pelosi, Yale Psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee told the online magazine Salon, should have ordered an “involuntary” mental health evaluation of Trump.
“As a coworker, she has the right to have him submit to an involuntary evaluation, but she has not,” Lee told the online magazine, adding that while such psychological evaluations are most frequently ordered by family members, coworkers, and even total strangers are also permitted under the law to call police to report a potentially dangerous person.
An involuntary mental health evaluation could even involve “civil commitment,” that is, confinement of an individual even with no criminal conviction or sentencing, with the aim of preventing the person from doing future harm.
Lee said that a licensed psychiatrist can also order a civil commitment of a dangerous person, even if that person is not the psychiatrist’s own patient.
She told Salon writer Igor Derysh that Pelosi made the correct move by withholding articles of impeachment to prevent a Senate trial from taking place until Republicans guarantee that the process will be fair, the House speaker will likely need to take further steps — including placing Trump on a “mental health hold,” a step which now appears “inevitable,” Lee said.
Pelosi must set “limits” on Trump’s behavior, Lee said, noting that by withholding the impeachment articles, the House Speaker “has done well to set limits on the Senate.”
Trump’s seven-page letter arrived on the day before the impeachment vote. Pelosi said she had no response to the letter, though she characterized it as “really sick,” according to a CNN report.
But Lee said that she doubts Pelosi is being sincere when she refers to Trump as “sick.”
“I am not sure she is convinced of her own words,” Lee told Salon. “If she were, shouldn’t she be responding to it as an emergency?”