Every day brings new surprises and new tweets from the president. Most recently, he tweeted that President Obama was tapping his phone lines during the campaign without offering any evidence. Then he tweeted that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a very poor host of “Celebrity Apprentice.” No end to the surprising ideas that rattle his mind in the wee hours. He has insisted that no one in his campaign had any communications with Russian officials, but several have reluctantly admitted this was not true. He fired his National Security Advisor Mike Flynn for lying about his contact with the Russian ambassador, but several other Trump associates have also met with the Russian ambassador, including his son-in-law. It is all very puzzling.

Psychiatrists disagree about how to judge Trump’s mental health. Since 1964, when a number of psychiatrists made negative pronouncements about Republican candidate Senator Barry Goldwater, most follow the “Goldwater rule.” That rule says you cannot diagnose someone you have not personally examined.

However, a substantial number of psychiatrists today believe that the Goldwater rule has been superseded by a “duty to warn.”

Here are examples of both views.

Psychiatrists have appeared on the Lawrence O’Donnell program in MSNBC to defend the “duty to warn.” They believe Trump is unfit to serve as president. They say they have collected 26,000 signatures on their petition.


By contrast, I offer this comment sent to me by a psychiatrist who asked to remain anonymous:

In psychiatry, diagnosis opens the possible pathway to treatment informing those us entrusted with the care of another an appropriate and effective approach. There are many different approaches to persons with the same or similar “diagnostic labels.” Psychiatrists have to deal with the complexity of the person, as do other medical fields, but it needs to be more taken into account due to denial, resistance and non-compliance given the relative subjectivity of the field, though this comes with the territory and is not necessarily a hindrance. In most medical fields diagnosis is followed by treatment. Donald Trump, as an obvious understatement, is not a candidate for treatment. Thus the nomenclature of malignant narcissism with insecure, infantile, sociopathic, possibly psychopathic, and grandiose features, along with total lack of personal insight will not be helpful in removing him from office. It would only lead to psychological or psychiatric nomenclature which would be a dead-end in salvaging our democracy. Only a description of his expressions, behavior and actions would possibly be effective. That he has shown massive displays of congenital lying, misogyny, racism, indiscriminately abusive behavior, lack of a conscience, insulting, brazen inaccurate claims, inability to read, nullifying the media that is his source of news, shocking ignorance of his responsibilities, demeaning behavior, ruthlessness, inappropriateness at all levels,; not permitting a follow-up question let alone a completed one but primordially sniffing out whether the questioner idolizes him or is the enemy; incoherent rambling, chaos at the highest level, no incidence of self accountability plus possible financial, national and international improprieties. Not having any respect for other people, the law, our history and the constitution would be a more effective focus for removing this misguided individual before we all enter the history books in collective tragedy.

What do you think?