“There are Thousands of Us”: Mental Health Professionals Warn of Trump’s Increasing Instability

“There are Thousands of Us”: Mental Health Professionals Warn of Trump’s Increasing Instability

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AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Last month, Pentagon leaders told a Senate
panel they would ignore any unlawful order by President Donald Trump to launch a nuclear
strike. The testimony came as part of the first congressional
hearings in more than 40 years on the president’s authority to start a nuclear war. This is Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy. SEN. CHRIS MURPHY: We are concerned that the president
of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that
is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with
U.S. national security interests. AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined
by someone who’s led a discussion of mental health professionals who are deeply concerned
about President Trump’s psychological instability. Dr. Bandy Lee is a forensic psychiatrist on
the faculty of Yale School of Medicine, an internationally recognized expert on violence. She organized the “Duty to Warn” conference
at Yale and edited the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and
Mental Health Experts Assess a President. The book became a best-seller the instant
it was published in October, sold out, resupplied, sold out again. Dr. Bandy Lee is with us to talk about the
issues raised by these 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts. Of course, it’s now many, many more, not
just people who participated in this book. What are your deepest concerns about President
Trump? And have you had concerns about, oh, presidents
you agree with and disagree with, mental health concerns, before? DR. BANDY LEE: Well, it’s actually historically
unprecedented that so many mental health professionals have come forth with their concerns, under
any president, of any party. So it really is the first time that this many
mental health professionals are coming together in a coalition. We even have a website now, DangerousCase.org,
where the public and lawmakers can discourse with us. There are thousands of us at this point. AMY GOODMAN: So talk about—lay out what
your concerns are as a psychiatrist. DR. BANDY LEE: So, our concerns are that someone
with this level of mental instability and impairment has this much power, in the office
of the presidency—basically, the power to start a devastating war, to launch nuclear
missiles, without any inhibition. You saw from the hearings that there is very
little inhibition in place right now. Within five minutes of the commander-in-chief’s
orders, nuclear missiles could be launched without question. And— AMY GOODMAN: And how does that relate to his
mental fitness? DR. BANDY LEE: And, of course, his decision-making
capacity, having such levels of impulsivity, having a loose grip on reality and being so
fragile in his ability to cope with ordinary stresses, such as basic criticisms or unflattering
news, will tend to unravel, especially in times of heightened stress, such as under
the special counsel’s investigations. AMY GOODMAN: Just last week, Tony Schwartz,
author of—well, co-author of Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, told MSNBC’s Ari Melber
that the president’s inner circle is worried about his mental state. TONY SCHWARTZ: I know that two different people
from the White House, or at least saying they were from the White House, and that turned
out to be a White House number, have called somebody I know in the last several weeks
to say, “We are deeply concerned about his mental health.” That’s— ARI MELBER: Wait a minute. You’re saying you have knowledge of people
calling from a White House line raising that question. Why would they do that? How do you know that? TONY SCHWARTZ: I know that because I know
the person that they called. And this is a person who I absolutely trust,
who has great integrity. AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Tony Schwartz, who
I think ghostwrote the book The Art of the Deal, very close to Trump for a period of
time. What are your thoughts about what he said? DR. BANDY LEE: Well, as you know, he has a chapter
in the book, even though he’s not counted among the 27 experts. We do have three others who have been included
for their special insight, their special experience with Mr. Trump. And we included him because he has special
insight into these matters. And I would agree with his assessment. We speak often. We share our observations. And we’re both deeply concerned. AMY GOODMAN: The chapter that Tony Schwartz
wrote in your book, “I wrote The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump. His self-sabotage is rooted in his past.” Explain his point here. DR. BANDY LEE: Well, there’s actually a lot
that’s outlined. It’s a reprint of an article that he wrote,
I believe for The New Yorker. He outlines very much his interactions and
experiences with the president. And he describes, most markedly, this emptiness,
this—what he calls a black hole level of self-esteem or self-worth that is missing,
whereby he can have all the admiration of the world, all of the successes, and he will—his
thirst will never be quenched, because of that intense need. And that is what we’re seeing, over and
over. And what is most concerning for us is that
his way of coping with this critical sense of need at every moment, so much, to the point
where he cannot think of the past or the future or consequences, his main urgency is to quench
the need at the moment. And the way he does this is by burnishing
his power, by going to belligerent language or affirming conflicts and others’ sense
of the world as a threatening place where you have to be violent. AMY GOODMAN: This is Republican Senator Lindsey
Graham of South Carolina speaking about, well, then-candidate Donald Trump. This was back in 2016. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I’m not going to try to
get into the mind of Donald Trump, because I don’t think there’s a whole lot of space
there. I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office. AMY GOODMAN: So that was Graham in 2016. But Senator Graham sounded different last
month, when he spoke to CNN. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: You know, what concerns me
about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind
of kook, not fit to be president. AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Senator Graham now. What about what he’s saying? DR. BANDY LEE: I think the laypersons, the public
or lawmakers, would be prone to underestimating the dangers of this president, because most
people are used to seeing individuals who are healthy. It’s only professionals who see those who
are impaired, day in and day out. And so, the natural tendency will be to interpret
what they’re seeing in terms of a normal range, a normal variation of human choices,
decision making and behavior. What we are—what we feel pressed to do is
to warn about the situation where someone is not acting within normal range, where one
is normalizing what is in fact a malignancy in one’s interpretation of reality. AMY GOODMAN: On Wednesday, the House voted
not to impeach President Trump. The vote failed 364 to 58, with all Republicans
voting against the measure. The Democratic leadership also came out against
the impeachment vote. The measure was introduced by Congressmember
Al Green of Houston, who said on the House floor, “Donald John Trump, by causing such
harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment,
trial and removal from office.” And then, in April, Maryland Congressmember
Jamie Raskin introduced a bill that would create a commission to determine if the president
is mentally or physically unfit for office. This is Congressman Raskin, also professor
of constitutional law, explaining how the bill is based on the 25th Amendment. REP. JAMIE RASKIN: Section 4 of the 25th Amendment
says that the vice president of the United States can act with a majority of the Cabinet
to determine that there’s a presidential incapacity, or the vice president can act
with a majority of any body to be set up—and Congress never set up the body that’s called
for in the 25th Amendment. So this is us essentially following through
on our constitutional obligation to set up a body in the event of a presidential disability. And that’s something that would be determined
by the body, but, of course, only with the vice president of the United States. So, we’re talking about a body that is nonpartisan,
that’s independent and that acts with the vice president, who, of course, is reporting
directly to the president. So it would be in the most extreme cases where
there’s a consensus that’s developed the president is incapable of discharging the
duties of office. AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Congressman Jamie
Raskin. You just came from Capitol Hill, where you’re
talking to— DR. BANDY LEE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: —Democratic and Republican
congressmembers. What about this? DR. BANDY LEE: Senator—or Representative Raskin
was one of the members that I got to meet, but, unfortunately, he was called to vote,
so we didn’t get to talk much. He definitely wishes to follow up. And we, among ourselves, have also been advocating
for an expert panel, that would be separate and independent and appointed by the National
Academy of Medicine, so, in fact, we could work on figuring out what the solution might
be for us to be able to form an independent panel that can give recommendations that he
could receive through a commission. AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about this unusual
article I just read that’s sort of going all over the internet, “Could Trump’s
Hair Drug Threaten His Physical and Mental Health?” And it said—this is from months ago—”This
week, President Trump’s doctor disclosed that the president takes finasteride, a drug
marketed as Propecia, to treat male pattern baldness. While it is tempting to make jokes about Trump’s
hair, and even the sexual side effects that accompany the drug, it also has many disturbing
side effects that neither the president—nor any other man—should risk. “In the 19 years since Propecia was approved
to treat hair loss from male pattern baldness, side effects have been so concerning that
the term post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) has been coined and hundreds of lawsuits have
been brought. In addition to its sexual side effects, the
drug’s effects on cognition, mood and mental states have been documented in the scientific
literature. “A 2013 study in Journal of Sexual Medicine
noted ‘changes related to the urogenital system in terms of semen quality and decreased ejaculate
volume, reduction in penis size, penile curvature or reduced sensation, fewer spontaneous erections,
decreased testicular size, testicular pain, and prostatitis.’ [unquote] Many subjects also noted a ‘disconnection
between the mental and physical aspects of sexual function,’ and changes in mental abilities,
sleeping patterns, and/or depressive symptoms.” Do you think this is relevant? DR. BANDY LEE: Most definitely. Mental function is not separate from physical
function, and many medications have profound effects on the mind’s capacity. And so, this is one of the reasons why an
evaluation would be so critical, because mental impairment can be just as debilitating as
physical impairment, and the both are connected. So, to have all the medical records, as well
as to be able to get a list of medications and to do a medical exam, would be essential
to doing a mental health exam. AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to this issue
of “duty to warn” and the conference that you put on— DR. BANDY LEE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: —where you had an auditorium
at Yale University of something like 500 seats, and maybe 20 people showed up. Since then, you’ve had death threats. Talk about how this movement has grown, and,
again, where this whole concept of “duty to warn” comes from, why psychiatrists should
be weighing in here. A lot of people have to be scratching their
heads and saying, “You haven’t had a sit-down discussion with Donald Trump. You haven’t personally analyzed him. You know, stay in your wheelhouse. This is not your business. You are trying to classify as a mental illness,
perhaps, hatred, meanness, bigotry. This is not your right.” DR. BANDY LEE: Well, actually, we deal with all
those things in psychiatry. I am a forensic psychiatrist, which means
I work at the interface of psychiatry and the law. So, legal cases, criminal cases, civil cases,
I often deal with them. And what we do is distinguish between that
which is mental impairment versus that which is criminal responsibility or intended choices. And oftentimes the distinction can be blurred
for the public, especially when the impairment looks like someone’s intended choices or
even look like a brilliant strategy, when in fact it follows a pattern of pathology
and drives toward damage and destruction for oneself as well as others. And those are the times when I feel that it
does enter into our domain. AMY GOODMAN: So, explain “duty to warn.” You’re sitting in your office. You have a patient. They say, “I’m going to go out and kill,”
and they name the person. What’s your responsibility there? And how does that relate to the president? DR. BANDY LEE: So that was the Tarasoff case,
where an individual was sitting with a counselor and expressed a desire, thoughts of harm. And the counselor respected confidentiality,
did not warn the potential victim. And then, afterward, he went out and killed
the person, Miss Tarasoff. Since then, court cases have been added to
expand the rule, so not only do you have a duty to warn the potential victim; because
this is a danger and a case of—it’s an emergency, you have to break confidentiality
or do what you need to do to protect safety. Safety comes first. When safety and survival are concerned, it
doesn’t matter if the person, the victim, is not your patient. It doesn’t matter if the source of information
does not come from the patient. And also, there is a part in medical ethics
that says, in an emergency, the physician does not have a choice not to take the person
as a patient. So that would mean, if you were walking in
the street and someone were having a heart attack, you do have to treat the person as
if it were your patient—without consent, without need for confidentiality. The psychiatric equivalent would be someone
acting erratically in a public place, say, in an airport or the subway. You have to intervene, especially if law enforcement
or security would not be able to recognize the level of danger here, because they may
not recognize the signs of mental impairment. Sometimes impairment can look like they are
acting normally and making decisions out of conscious choice, especially because they
themselves will insist that this is their own decision making and will have very little
insight, meaning recognizing that something is wrong with them. So this is especially when it becomes important. When danger is concerned, what you can get
from an individual interview is limited. What is more important are others’ reports,
observation of behavior. And, in fact, with this president, we have
far more information than we often have with our own patients. We see his reactions to situation in real
time, over extended time. And to declare dangerousness, you don’t
need all the information. You just need enough information to alarm
you. AMY GOODMAN: And, Dr. Bandy Lee, how do you
assess—you know, President Trump, the Access Hollywood tape comes out. You know, he acknowledges it. And then, what, however many months later,
he says, “Oh, this is all fake.” DR. BANDY LEE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: So, how does this fit in to the
analysis of a psychiatrist like you? DR. BANDY LEE: So, whereas we would not make a
diagnosis without all the information—in fact, it would be irresponsible to do so. And I believe that we basically cannot, until
we do a full assessment. But, of course, we have many running hyphotheses
in our head, what we call differential diagnoses. And so, we have some hyphotheses as to what
might be going on with the president. What we—things that we predicted seven months
ago, when we put the book together, have mostly come true. AMY GOODMAN: Like? DR. BANDY LEE: That he was worse than he appeared
in public, that he would get worse, that he would not be containable, and that—I think
around this time people were expecting he would pivot and become more presidential—that
all of this would not happen, and in fact his impairment is more deep-seated and would
follow a certain course. In other words, with increasing pressures,
with evolution of his presidency, that he would grow worse. AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to Robert Jay Lifton,
who contributed to your volume. In October, he was on Democracy Now! and talked
about the debate over whether Donald Trump understands and can responsibly manage the
most destructive nuclear arsenal on Earth. ROBERT JAY LIFTON: Well, any restriction on
the president—any president, but especially Trump—on his capacity to initiate a nuclear
war, any restriction on that is profoundly desirable. It’s a strange world, to say the least,
when the generals are there to restrain the civilian. The generals aren’t, on the whole, known
for their military restraint. There are exceptions. With the Vietnam War, as you know, it was
initiated by civilians, “the best and the brightest,” as it was called. The military was at first a little reluctant,
then entered it and became corrupted by it, and created what I came to call atrocity-producing
situations. That could happen here, too, with the generals,
who are ostensibly restrainers, allowing him, being unable to prevent him from initiating
some form of war, being themselves drawn in and then corrupted by it. That’s a really dangerous sequence. Anything that holds that back or in check
is desirable. AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Dr. Robert Jay Lifton,
the world-renowned psychiatrist who wrote about Nazi doctors, who wrote about the nuclear
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Hiroshima survivors. He wrote a piece in The Dangerous Case of
Donald Trump. Your final comments, Dr. Bandy Lee? DR. BANDY LEE: So, violence is an end product
of a long process. And we have seen this process evolving, in
the mind of Mr. Trump, but also in his public responses, his effects on the public. And I would agree with Dr. Lifton that we
cannot place the greatest dangers to our existential continuation. AMY GOODMAN: And your final comment in summarizing
the message you have, the whole “duty to warn” movement that you’re a part of,
where it’s headed now? DR. BANDY LEE: Well, we’re pushing for an evaluation. We’re warning about dangerousness. We’re actually trying our best to educate
the public so that people will be aware, they will be affirmed in what they are seeing,
they will be educated on the depths of what they are seeing, and also that there is a
way of dealing with the situation, handling it. AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Bandy Lee, we want to thank
you for being with us, forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine,
internationally recognized expert on violence, editor of the best-selling book, just recently
published, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts
Assess a President. This is Democracy Now! To see Part 1 of our discussion, go to democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

43 thoughts on ““There are Thousands of Us”: Mental Health Professionals Warn of Trump’s Increasing Instability”

  1. There coming to take me away haha to the funny farm where all is fine. Where are the guys in the white coats. He is freaking crazy 😵. Let's face it !!! From Canada and Scotland.

  2. I grew up in a Narcissistic household. tRUMP is so much like my "daddy dearest!"
    The Narcissist is all about him/her self. They are incapable of loving any one, as they do not possess empathy. We see this with the Dictator-in-Chief daily. He will even throw his kids under the bus if it will save his own neck.
    And yes, my Narcissist daddy was a incestuous pedophile. There are no boundaries.

  3. I have mental illness. I think it is a problem to associate bad behavior, ignorance, bigotry, hate and fear with mental illness. A lot of people labeled mentally ill are very compassionate people due to their lived experience of being yet another oppressed group, besides the challenges they face all the time with health and disability.


  5. Coocoo for Coco Puffs 😂😂😂🤣😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣😂😂 like we couldn't tell..🤔😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  6. The cognitively and empathically impaired buffoon has self-destructive tendencies — a Tchernobyl-like FUBAR in sight?

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHA Democrats with all their crying, wailing and caterwauling complaining about "mental health". Peas and rice. Up is down, in is out, black is white with democrats.

  8. Thumper is far more sane than his 50 million or so supporters. Once you accept that humans are going to be extinct soon , you don't have to worry about who is the President. The American presidency has become a threat to humanity. The Retrumplican cult of personality is a far more serious problem.

  9. Trump needs a diagnosis. He is an established Con Man, everyone knows this. His plans amount to treason, which everyone will know too late to react. When a military commanding officer is of unsound mind, it is justified and legal to act in insubordination on those grounds. This strategy is both patriotic and required by the U.S. constitution. Any less response is willful and destructive misconduct.

  10. Trump is the picture of someone. Needing mental health trearment and committment. He s a low life and corrupt piece of shit. His sociopathic personality is a threat to mankind as a whole. You canmot feed an ego that is a bottomless pit of immoral motivations. Dump this freak.

  11. I dislike American presidents, Trump included, but this psycho-woman is unfit to talk about mental abilities when she herself has difficulty presenting facts, examples, proof, rather than done generalizations that could be said about many people without any substance to such claims.

  12. Ex president Ronald Ragan has to step down because he had DEMINTRA, and he die from DEMENTIA Dieseas. They know trump has a mental problems, but they want impeach trump. America will regret for not impeach trump, he's going to do something really bad,mine is he can order a Nuclear war, and America supporters of trump will really, seriously regret it.

  13. I think verifying that a presidential candidate is actually born in the United States, and doesn’t have secret multiple names is more important. How about owning scam charitable foundations making them millions?

  14. Psychiatry is a failed profession and science. Nobody is cured. Everybody is labeled and after getting drugs, gets addicted and therefore worse than before. BTW Hillary is a sociopath with no remorse. She’d fail a psych test worse than Trump. Trump uses emotional bluster merely for effect. Inside he’s a cool cat, very calculated and in control.

  15. That hole is so black. That he can not. Find the sence to enjoy his achievement. Lindsey Graham is a old kook. He knows a kook when he sees one. The only difference between him and Trump, is Trump is smarter than him. to achieve presidency . and Lindsey Graham only achieve repeat after trump.

  16. It is late April 2019 and the only real problem in the U.S.A. would appear to be an epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is very amusing to behold , especially here in Europe. The usual reaction here if our preferred candidate does not win is to get on with life and wait until the next election. To those afflicted with T.D.S. I would say get on with life and perhaps after 2024 your preferred candidate may be elected. You are lucky to live in that fantastic country so don´t waste your time in angst ridden futile protest against the democratic election result. Live life. You will be so much happier.

  17. When the impeachment looms his EGO will fracture, he will lapse into an ID state. This is why her admires Kim Il and Putin. He is a dictator wannanbe. Graham is a fool! Trump is a baby with an H Bomb in his crib. He was probably never loved as a baby.

  18. LMAO Trump! A fake man! A fake man with a trophy wife! When they reveal your taxes that you are a fake billionaire, I already bought the cigars and have the bourbon!

  19. Snowflakes – listen to what these jamokes are saying – Have them discuss his mental state with trade deals, record low unemployment, rising wages for the first time in a decade and defeating Obama's "JV Isis" team. You guys are tooooooo funny. Bandy Lee sounds like Blasey Ford, you guys remember her – false testimony before congress. Keith Ellison, Attny Gen in VA-believe every woman right? #ROCKON45 #Winning #BulildThatWallMyBrother 🙂 Colluded, right?

  20. I think Donald Trump is not the only one need to sent to a mental asylum John Bolton n Mike Pompeii must accompany him. I also think these psychiatrist should make an evaluation on both of them too. Both seems to show signs of more n not less or equivalent craziness as Trump The three in my opinion should be put away in order not to pose a danger to the security of the US citizen n the world.

  21. Educated survivors of narcissistic abuse are the field experts.
    The psychiatrists were silenced in 2018. Survivors need to stand up. They saw the pathology played out first hand.

  22. Trump is mentally unhealthy therefore threatens to other countries for wars and also against of poor innocents Muslim and non muslim countries
    support a peaceful kind justice and honest peoples instead of terrorist and brutal mind peoples because terror and brutal mind brings a huge destruction in world parts especially in poor Innocents Muslim and non Muslim countries

  23. WHAT MORE PSYCHIATRIC INSTABILITY THAN PSYCHIATRIST. We all know that a psychiatrist have choose psychiatry because their own instability and the money making, diagnosing and treating others with the same problems. You start a consultation with one at a due date and, better have a very big wallet, as you don't know when it will ended. If you are not acting violently, don't worry, you are just like the majority of peoples with caracter.
    As for the RED BOTTONS for nuclear, it is not so easy to start, unless every body agreed upon. SO, THOSE PSYCHIATRISTS ARE TRYING TO CALM THEIR OWN APPREHENSIONS MORE THAN OURS. We know better, dumbs asses. For the rest of the PRESIDENT activities, an army very sensitive to mood swings, are constantly working with him and, in better position to make an evaluation than you phonies. YES, PRESIDENT TRUMP IS TIRED, working day and night and YES, he need vacations. COUPLE OF DAYS GOLFING and sleeping well ( if he can) would replenished his physical and wonderfull spirit. From time to time, although very strong, like everybody, he needs time for himself to resourced. That's my advise, Mr PRESIDENT and no charge, I don't want anybody to think that's a privilege, that's common sense like you showed us for so long. LET'S GO FOR 2020 AND A HUGE WIN. Gerry

  24. U don’t have to be health pro to see Trump is nuts. And more now and every day worse and worse. Why don’t they take him from his seat ??

    I admire this woman writing this book🙏🏼

  25. What she is saying sounds very serious and disturbing, but look at her "eyes" though, OMG!!!! Very scary!!!

  26. He acts insane on national television, he's so blatant. His comment about a civil war coming from impeachment should be taken as a call to violence and he should be arrested and removed immediately for inciting national violence.

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