Sam Hallanger ’18, Student Life/Sports Editor
Over the course of the election and into his first year as President of the United States, Donald J. Trump’s mental state has been put into question by many in the press and now some whom even work with him. Many of his supporters have rallied behind him and said that these attacks on the president’s mental health are purely political, but those on the left say it is of serious concern for the security of the nation whether President Trump can mentally handle the strenuous and important job. “I think he says funny things but isn’t crazy,” senior Ben Call said.
President Trump recently took his first physical and check up as President of the United States and came out with a clean bill of health. “The President’s physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well”, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, who has been the lead White House doctor since 2013, said. President Trump even requested a cognitive test called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment in which he got a perfect score of 30/30. This check up results say President Trump is still physically able to lead the nation for now yet there are still people worried about his well being.
Many psychiatrists have come forward saying President Trump shows signs of mental decline yet these claims cannot be proven without a proper in person evaluation. These psychologists also risk breaking the Goldwater rule upheld by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) which states it is unethical for a psychiatrist to give a professional opinion of a public figure they have not examined in person. The rule was put in place when Fact magazine sent out a survey to 12,356 Psychiatrists and over 1,800 responded; the results critical of Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater were then published.
The issue containing the survey was considered malicious with intent to hurt his character by a judge (Goldwater v. Ginzburg.) As a result, Goldwater sued for libel and won which is uncommon for public figures. The rule is supposed to keep psychiatrists on a moral and ethical ground in which they do not overstep their job’s boundaries. There have been recent calls for the rule to be changed so psychiatrists can warn the public if they are worried about a government figure who may be unstable.
In the beginning of December a dozen lawmakers met on Capitol Hill with Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, who briefed the lawmaker from both the House and Senate over concerns regarding President Trump’s mental fitness for office. Lee warned the lawmakers “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.” She believes his rush to tweet his displeasures and anger when he is upset is a sign the president will not be capable of handling the job of commanding the United States. Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are starting to wonder if it’s time to find a way to relieve President Trump of his command. Until a psychiatrist has completed a thorough mental exam of President Trump we can never know if his tweets of rage are just him behaving childish or if he is having serious mental breakdowns.
Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov