This week, British Ambassador Kim Darroch resigned after it was revealed that he called the Trump White House a “uniquely dysfunctional environment.” He also called the President incompetent.
Raw Story spoke with Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee, who concurs with that assessment, and has also argued that President Trump suffers from a uniquely dangerous pathology that will end up wrecking the country.
Lee is a forensic psychiatrist and an expert on violence at Yale School of Medicine. She helped launch a public health approach to global violence prevention as a consultant to the World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies since 2002. She is author of the textbook, “Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures,” president of the World Mental Health Coalition, and editor of the New York Times bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” She and her coauthors recently prepared a mental health analysis of the Mueller report with recommendations. Next week, they will present their analysis at a town hall-style meeting on Capitol Hill as well as unveil five questions they would like to ask Special Counsel Robert Mueller at his testimony the following day (for more information, visit: dangerouscase.org).
Raw Story: Do you think Robert Mueller will be testifying as planned next week? Will it be helpful to your case?
Dr. Bandy X. Lee: His testimony will be helpful insofar as it is a presentation of facts and evidence. My understanding is that it may possibly be blocked, severely limited, or even sabotaged, and this is not surprising, given the magnitude of its importance. It is similar to the president’s relentless pursuit to include the citizenship question in the 2020 census—the sheer drive gives away the level of its importance to his and his party’s retention of power. Mental pathology usually views power differently: it is a fight for survival, rather than just a useful tool, and a strong, “primitive” drive often kicks in.
Robert Mueller’s response of requiring a subpoena to appear and posing severe time restrictions is consistent with his constraints on stating facts directly. Why didn’t he say more simply, “There were a dozen counts of criminal wrongdoing, but because of department policy, we cannot convict him”? It is a common psychological phenomenon. Those around a mentally impaired person who is unable to face facts will often give into that person’s wishful narrative—the sheer drive is often difficult to overcome. Entire households and entire nations can be vulnerable. This is why it is extremely important to prevent those who show signs of mental pathology from taking over powerful positions and why this is a public health problem.
Given the situation, in line with our societal responsibility as outlined in our professional ethics, we performed a mental capacity evaluation of the president with the information that Mr. Mueller provided. The wealth and quality of relevant information in his report made this possible. Having such high-quality reports, by both allies and opponents, allowed us to answer every question in a capacity evaluation with uncommon confidence. A personal interview is not as relevant in a functional exam. As someone recently said, you do not need to diagnose whether someone is drunk, has a brain tumor, or is not wearing one’s glasses to know that the person should not be driving. It is more useful to interview other drivers who witnessed the dangerous driving.
We explain this in a video op-ed of our report on the Mueller report, but we will go into greater detail at our town hall on Capitol Hill on the day before his testimony, on July 16, with details on our web site, dangerouscase.org. The public will have a chance to tune in and enter their questions, which we will try to answer, alongside questions from lawmakers.
Raw Story: Can you give more details of the town hall? Is this the meeting you were planning with Rep. John Yarmuth?
Dr. Bandy X. Lee: It is a prelude to that meeting. The authors of our report on the Mueller report will gather on Capitol Hill for an “online town hall,” inviting all members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees to drop in either in person or virtually to hear the questions we have for the special counsel based on our report.
As for the meeting with Chairman Yarmuth, the Washington Examiner, a right-wing newspaper, falsely reported it as an event “Dems” were holding for themselves. This misrepresentation stalled our plans, since the purpose of my returning to Mr. Yarmuth was because of his ability to draw a bipartisan audience: he is chairman over a bipartisan committee and has extensive contacts with Republican lawmakers in ways I have not seen elsewhere. Since the newspaper curtailed any possibility Republicans will attend the event, we decided to go independent and to hold a discussion online so that interested Republican lawmakers—and apparently there are many—can tune in confidentially from their offices.
Raw Story: That must have been a disruptive change of course to you.
The Washington Examiner had misled before, such as calling our expert panel group a “secret” meeting, when I was revealing everything except the identities of the panel members so that they could maintain their medical neutrality. We did not wish for the group members to be bombarded with attempts to influence them politically. Yet I deliberately engaged a right-leaning newspaper because its audience is the segment of the population that most needs to hear the truth. At the same time, these right-wing outlets will be precisely the ones that are more averse to straightforward reporting, and this will always be a risk.
Raw Story: What do you hope will be accomplished with your analysis of the Mueller report?
There is very little time now. Things will likely escalate from here, as we now see the nation’s birthday being turned into a salute to the self, “concentration camps” being run with great cruelty, and our making a nuclear “holocaust” an ever greater possibility by sending a message to every rogue nation that developing nuclear weapons, as North Korea has done, is preferable to keeping a treaty, as Iran has done. This is how the chaos, violence, and fear so apparent in Donald Trump’s psychology translates into chaos, violence, and fear in the White House, the nation, and the world at large.
I agree with British Ambassador Kim Darroch’s frank appraisal of a “uniquely dysfunctional environment” that will lead to “disgrace and downfall.” Whether we could heed such warnings and outside observations will be the test of whether or not our nation will emerge out of its predicament in a healthy way, but so far we have only attacked the ambassador and have caused his resignation. These are very poor prognostic signs, even as the problem becomes more manifest everyday.
It is a problem, in my opinion, that cannot be solved through one election or even should not be allowed to go on until the next election. If we avert the current dangers, it will only be because the healthy segment of the population will have mobilized. As mental health experts addressing a public mental health problem, our goal is to empower the public through the knowledge we can share.