Rep. John Yarmuth and Yale psychiatry professor question President Trump's mental health
Dr. Bandy Lee, a psychiatry professor at Yale University, is the ringleader of a national coalition of mental health professionals who claim to be concerned about the president’s mental capacities.
By: Rachel Bailey
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky U.S. Representative John Yarmuth does not like President Donald J. Trump. Not one bit.
The words he uses to describe the president drip with thick animosity: Poison. Cancerous. A truly disgraceful human being.
So it isn't surprising that Kentucky's most prominent Democratic congressman is one of a dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate who met with a psychiatrist to discuss Trump’s mental health. Yarmuth claims to be genuinely worried about the inner workings of Trump’s mind.
"We see his impulsiveness on a daily basis," Yarmuth told WDRB during an interview Thursday afternoon. "If you're very impulsive and you have your finger on the nuclear launch code, then you pose a big danger to the country."
Dr. Bandy Lee, a psychiatry professor at Yale University who edited a book called “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” is the ringleader of a national coalition of mental health professionals who claim to be concerned about the president’s mental capacities.
In early December, Lee indirectly set up a meeting with Yarmuth to talk about Trump’s mental health.
“I don’t reach out to lawmakers,” Lee told WDRB in an interview Thursday evening. “I have an intermediary — an assistant U.S. attorney who contacts lawmakers to see whether they’re interested in our findings.”
When Yarmuth got the call, he was more than willing to hear the doctor out.
“I said, ‘Of course!' And she came to the office, and we talked for quite awhile, and she made it very clear that she was not diagnosing President Trump, because she had not treated him.”
Lee repeatedly emphasized that fact: She can’t diagnose the president because she’s never personally treated him. But in nearly the same breath, she called him impulsive, unstable and dangerous.
“He seems to be losing his grip on reality,” Lee said. “He truly is becoming unraveled.”
Specifically, she pointed to Trump’s tweets about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
“The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “This is a president who is not going to cower down.”
Lee said it’s not strength but a sign of impairment.
“It’s not the intelligent people who are dangerous," she said. "It’s those who are compromised.”
Yarmuth said one theory Lee presented to him was arrested development.
“They theorize that it was when he was sent away to boarding school, which I believe was when he was 13," he said. "And basically what they say is that he has not matured emotionally beyond a certain young age. And again, I think you see manifestations of that in a lot of the things he does.”
Lee said she was speaking “generally” when she brought up arrested development and emphasized yet again that she cannot diagnose someone who she hasn’t treated personally.
“If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there, wouldn’t have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen,” Sanders said in a press briefing Thursday.
Sanders went on to dismiss questions about Trump’s state of mind as “disgraceful.”
Lee claims she met with one Republican senator (in addition to about a dozen Democrats.) Sen. Mitch McConnell’s communications director said he has no idea whom she might have met with.
“That would be a good question for the professor,” Robert Steurer said.
Lee claims the names of the people she meets with are confidential. She said the only reason she felt comfortable speaking about Yarmuth was because he participated in an on-camera interview earlier in the day.
The controversy has resurrected, once again, talk of the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of the president from office if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet deem him physically or mentally “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
But everyone knows that’s a long shot, including Yarmuth.
“I’d say right now, it’s not very likely,” he said sullenly Thursday. “Now, if things were to spiral in a bad direction, then it could be possible.”
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