The Yale psychiatrist who briefed lawmakers about President Donald Trump’s mental health urged others to speak out about the chief executive’s fitness to serve.
Dr. Bandy X. Lee published an op-ed Friday in USA Today with former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen calling on mental health professionals to continue raising questions about Trump’s possible mental health issues.
She said the questions have grown loud enough that the president himself had asked his physician to administer a cognitive test as part of his physical, but Lee said mental health experts had been “chastised” into silence.
“The subject of the debate is Trump’s behavior — impulsive, inappropriate, offensive, reckless and shocking — which we as a nation have tolerated,” Lee and Eisen wrote. “Is it something more than a mere departure from decency and historical norms? How concerned should America and the world be if the nation’s chief executive acts this way?”
They said those questions were important and relevant to the public, and they said the president seemed to agree.
“When psychiatric professionals see signs of danger and alert the public about the need for a full evaluation of a government official, that is not ‘armchair psychiatry,'” Lee and Eisen wrote. “It is, instead, a call for a responsible, thorough and accurate assessment that prevents irresponsible conclusions. Accordingly, given what we have all observed over the past year, the president’s request for testing in his annual physical should have been met with an in-depth neuropsychiatric evaluation by experts.”
They said the Montreal Cognitive Assessment was insufficient to measure Trump’s mental fitness for the White House.
“It does not even touch the psychological side, where urgent concerns also lie and an assessment should have been done starting with a full history and standardized battery of testing,” the pair wrote. “Experts have, furthermore, been calling for a capacity evaluation to determine Trump’s ability to function in his position, regardless of diagnosis.”
They said the cognitive test gave the public a false sense of assurance.
“Warning about signs of mental disorder in an individual whose decisions could have dangerous public health consequences, and alerting people about what they need to know to further their safety, is a public duty,” Lee and Eisen wrote. “It is also a public service to point out omissions of information.”