Warning from the Ad Hoc Committee on Presidential Dangerousness Because of Mental Instability
July 9, 2018
Dear Congress Member:
We write to you as mental health professionals who are deeply concerned about the mental state of President Donald Trump, which we believe presents a clear and present danger to the nation and the world. We say so because of his compromised mental state and his unchecked proximity to weapons of mass destruction, as well as other powers at his disposal.
Early in his presidency we put our concerns into the book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. So far, all our predictions have borne out to be true. Furthermore, our clinical experience tells us that such conditions generally continue to worsen.
We state our concerns to you not as partisans or out of political interest, but as professionals who have an obligation to society to share our knowledge of medical matters. We have taken a pledge to protect lives and to place humanitarian goals first. From our professional perspective, the president has not demonstrated that he has the mental capacity to perform the duties of his office. On the contrary, he has continuously and persistently shown signs that he lacks decisional capacity.
For example, he proceeded to attend a summit with North Korea unprepared and unaware of his deficiencies. Earlier in the year, after a series of unpleasant news, he decided without consultation to launch a trade war.
When the president repeatedly states falsehoods that contradict not only facts but his own words, he is jeopardizing public health and the security of the globe. Whether he is divorced from reality or simply lies with impunity, either case indicates psychopathology. When he shows an attraction to violence and a readiness to attack, he is endangering those he is in office to protect. This drive, we believe, is behind his championing the cruel separation of children from their families, as well as his repetitive sparring with an unstable nuclear power, including during the lead-up to a peace summit. Now he is about to appoint a Supreme Court justice and meet with the leader of an enemy nation who attacked our 2016 elections. These are all consequential decisions.
The president has never received a valid exam: the mental health “evaluation” he had in January was faulty, and the doctor who administered it was disqualified, while the exam was not re-done. Until he undergoes proper examination, we cannot be sure that Trump has the capacity to make sound, logical decisions while weighing real consequences to real people, or even that he perceives a reality apart from his own thoughts, emotions, and needs. The current situation, with the signs that he exhibits, should preclude his partaking in any more consequential decisions.
In our ordinary practice, we attempt to contain individuals who show signs of danger, using the least restrictive measures. The president, however, has rather removed existing personnel and checks around him that would set even minimal limits. He has also shown a persistent disregard for and violation of norms and laws. These are signs of greater danger, not less.
In sum, Mr. Trump needs an urgent, independent evaluation first of his mental capacity, to ensure that he is fit to serve in his office, and secondly of his neuropsychiatric status, to yield any diagnoses and the proper course of treatment. Until then, he should not proceed with further substantive decision-making, until he can be cleared. If he does not agree to an evaluation voluntarily, we turn to you as protectors of the nation’s citizenry.
Ad Hoc Committee on Presidential Dangerousness Because of Mental Instability
(Member names omitted on web version)