Mental health professionals and others make the case that Donald Trump is mentally ill, dangerous, or both.
Editor Lee (Law and Psychiatry/Yale School of Medicine) asked for and received submissions for this book within a three-week period, and several of them show signs of being written in haste. Many of the contributors are leading psychologists or psychiatrists; others include journalist Gail Sheehy, Tony Schwartz, the co-author of Trump’s The Art of the Deal, and attorney and “political junkie” James A. Herb, who filed a petition in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court to determine Trump’s mental incapacity in October 2016, “based on the fact that Trump’s apparent lack of mental capacity to function could impact me and possibly the whole world.” The volume is aimed strictly at demonstrating that Trump shouldn’t be in office (admittedly a view held by tens of millions of other Americans) and that a panel of mental health professionals should be established to determine his lack of fitness. At the heart of many of the essays is the increasingly controversial 1973 “Goldwater rule” implemented by the American Psychiatric Association, which states that psychiatrists shouldn’t diagnose public figures without personally examining them. Also frequently cited is the Tarasoff decision made by California in 1976, which states that psychiatrists should speak out when they know that “an individual is dangerous to another person or persons.” Some of the essays border on self-parody: one author argues seriously that “post-Trump stress disorder” ought to be considered “as serious as PTSD.” Read collectively, the essays become repetitious: the contributors lean on the same definitions of narcissism and paranoia and cite the same tweets and passages from speeches, most of which will already be familiar to readers.
As with most anti-Trump books, this one will shore up the opinions of those already convinced of his lack of fitness for the job but won’t change the minds of his supporters, the vast majority of whom won’t read it.