Part XII. Donald Trump: The Eye of the Hurricane

Donald Trump: The Eye of the Hurricane
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An eerie quiet has settled over the land. We find ourselves in the eye of the destructive hurricane that is Donald Trump. So inured have we become to surreal daily news that it now often seems mundane. North Korea fires another missile or two over South Korea and Japan--ho-hum, whatever, the stock market goes up. We barely notice what terrified us a few short weeks ago. Trump goes before the United Nations and does his best Bill Maher imitation by mocking Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man?”—yawn, “How’d the Cubs do last night?” We have anesthetized ourselves as a psychological adaptation to Trump-fatigue such that little surprises us as we await the tail of the hurricane that in our hearts, we know is coming.

In an effort to combat what has come to be called the “normalization” of Trump, the mental health community is finally shaking off its timidity. The October 4th release of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professional Assess a President ( is a clarion call—finally!—from mental health professionals to alert the public that, as quiet as this lull may be, the worst is indeed coming.

Toward that end, on October 14th, timed to coincide with the release of the book, there will be a coordinated multi-city town hall event across the country under the banner of Duty to Warn (, a rapidly expanding group of over 4,000 mental health professionals alarmed about the extreme psychological instability of the most powerful man on the planet. Nuclear Don?

Similarly, petitions with tens of thousands of signatures have been sent to the President’s Cabinet as well as a letter to all members of Congress expressing extreme urgency about Trump’s fitness to serve (see below),

The world must never be allowed to look away out of a sense of profound powerlessness in the fairy tale that, “This can’t be happening.”

If horrific events do not precede, when Robert Mueller connects all the Russian dots and decides it is time to spring his meticulously designed trap from which there will be no escape, the tail of Hurricane Donald will screech in with a meltdown into blind rogue rage, potentially more lethal and threatening than anything we have yet witnessed.

With his unopposed access to the nuclear codes, we can take some comfort in what appears to be a quietly orchestrated triangle defense by Generals McMaster, Kelly, and Mattis.

Because it is happening.

We are sending this statement to every member of the House of Representatives and every Senator because we know of your deep concern about these matters and your constitutional commitment to act upon them.

September 11, 2017

To Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:

Since the election of 2016, mental health professionals have warned against President Trump’s alarming psychological instability and its implications for international security. Few would dispute that Mr. Trump’s provocation of North Korea—not to mention alienation of our allies—has contributed to the dangers that we now face. Our professional group predicted this months ago, and our predictions also indicate that the worst is yet to come.

We ask that you use this opportunity to consider instituting a separate and independent expert panel. Fitness for duty evaluations follow standard procedures in mental health, and courts and other legal entities ordinarily rely on expert recommendations for making their determinations. Experts form their recommendations based on how the particular symptoms (if any) affect the capacity to carry out the duty in question. That we do not have a way of making this evaluation for the highest, most consequential office in the nation is a glaring omission, when we require this for every other military officer and civilian serviceperson.

Mental impairment is not any different than physical infirmity, according to medical evidence: it is no less debilitating, no less objectively observable, and no less fits the intentions of the 25th Amendment than its physical counterpart. The mental health field has not served the public well, we feel, by furthering the secrecy and stigma surrounding mental disorders. A commission requiring an expert panel would help remedy this situation and put our knowledge base to important public service.

Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div.

Assistant Clinical Professor in Law and Psychiatry,

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Frederick M. Burkle Jr., M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.

Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, and Professor of Emergency Medicine (retired),

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Judith L. Herman, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Leonard L. Glass, M.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Henry J. Friedman, M.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Lance Dodes, M.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (retired), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D.

(Former) Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,

University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA

Nanette Gartrell, M.D.

(Former) Associate Professor of Psychiatry,

University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA

David M. Reiss, M.D.

Private Practitioner of Psychiatry, San Diego, CA

Steve Wruble, M.D.

Private Practitioner of Psychiatry, New York, NY, and Ridgewood, NJ

Craig Malkin, Ph.D.

Lecturer of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Howard H. Covitz, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

(Former) Director, Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies, Philadelphia, PA

John D. Gartner, Ph.D.

(Former) Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Edwin B. Fisher, Ph.D.

Professor of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health,

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL

Elizabeth Mika, M.A., L.C.P.C.

Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL

Harper West, M.A., L.L.P.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Clarkston, MI

Betty P. Teng, L.M.S.W.

Psychotherapist, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, New York, NY

Diane Jhueck, L.M.H.C.

County Designated Mental Health Professional, Island County, WA

James A. Herb, M.A., Esq.

Florida Supreme Court-Certified Circuit Court Mediator, Boca Raton, FL

James Gilligan, M.D. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY

Michael J Tansey, PhD

Chicago, IL


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