MINNEAPOLIS - President Trump commands the headlines almost daily for a cornucopia of reasons. But lately, one topic keeps coming up and we want to know should it?
The issue of his mental health.
Politicians, pundits and some mental health experts are openly questioning the president's mental state. Why?Citing his tweets, changes of tone, what he said about North Korea, what he's said about Charlottesville, the falsehoods he has told. But do those things mentioned legitimize the claims from folks? That’s for you to decide.
But let's talk history on why this is really shaky ground for those medical professionals to walk.
Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964 and had had some controversial ideas. Because of those, Fact magazine did a survey asking people about Goldwater's mental health and then published the results with the headline '1,189 psychiatrists say Goldwater is psychologically unfit to be president."
Goldwater sued for libel. He won.
The American Psychiatric Association quickly made it the rule of ethics for its member doctors to not offer a professional opinion about someone in the public eye unless he or she has conducted an exam of that person.
Yes, the 37,000 psychiatrists in the APA should NOT be speaking about a public figure's mental health WITHOUT having had a session with them. Seems reasonable. But what about those politicos who do so?
“Politically it seems like a nasty rip-off, I think the people trying to make a political point are ripping off the very serious issue of mental health,” University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs said.
Jacobs has a point. Mental illness is a disease that affects so so many of us, it's not an 'issue' to fight over – if that is the intent of some using it. Plus, there is a very specific thing that can be done politically, if there is widespread concern about Trump mental fitness.
“The 25th amendment lays out a clear process for declaring a president unfit – if a politician wants to try and invoke the 25th they should go that route,” Jacobs said.
It would take a lot for that to happen, requiring Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet to agree to oust the president. If he were not physically or mentally incapacitated, it would be like a modern-day coup.
But back to mental health and should it be fodder for experts to discuss.... the APA says for its members NO. A group with a similar name, the American Psychoanalytic Association says of last month - YES - it's members can talk about the President’s mental health when dissecting speeches and tweets...BUT draws the line at diagnosing him.