A group of leading psychiatrists told a conference that Donald Trump has clear hallmarks of mental illness that compromise his role as president.
Twenty-five researchers made a drastic break away from ethical standards by meeting at Yale University on Thursday to discuss evidence questioning the commander-in-chief’s mental health.
They were unanimous in their conclusions that the president suffers a combination of personality disorders.
The psychiatrists defended the move by saying it was their ‘ethical responsibility’ to warn the American public about the ‘dangers’ Trump poses to the country.Speaking to Daily Mail Online, they insisted the president displays anti-social, narcissistic and chauvinistic tendencies that, they believe, are grounds for impeachment.
However, other mental health experts have hit out at the conference, saying that such a ‘diagnosis’ is not possible without a one-on-one consultation.
And Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano accused the group of ‘throwing ethical standards out the window because they cannot accept the election results’.
Dr James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, said many psychiatrists have been timid about approaching the topic because of the Goldwater rule.
The rule states it’s unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person.
However, Dr Gilligan insists his and his colleagues’ duty comes from the Duty to Warn, a concept about when a medical professional fails to warn ‘victims’ when someone communicates an explicit threat of danger.
‘Not any pun intended, but in this case the Duty to Warn trumps the Goldwater rule,’ Dr Gilligan told Daily Mail Online.
‘And in this case, there’s a professional obligation to notify the public and if we remain silent, we’re passively going along with it.’
The group, organized by psychiatrist Dr John Gartner, has considered the president – who’s fast approaching his 100th day in office on April 29 – an unfit leader for the US.
They claim that President Trump suffers from a combination of anti-social personality disorders and extreme narcissism.
Dr Gilligan said he can point to multiple examples that predict Trump’s dangerous tendencies.
They cite the incident with Billy Bush as an example of chauvinistic behavior – when Trump was recorded saying that he could grab women ‘by the pussy’ and get away with it because of his celebrity stature.
‘He boasted about it, he didn’t feel guilty about it,’ Dr Gilligan said.
Another, they said, is the ‘incitement of violence’, hearkening back to when Trump encouraged his supporters to punch and attack protesters who didn’t agree with him during his campaign.
Despite working with convicted criminals in the past, Dr Gilligan said that he felt Trump’s erratic behavior has disturbed him.
‘You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or study it to recognize when it’s abundant and we have abundant evidence that he is,’ he said.
Duty to Warn, a group run by Dr Gartner, has organized a petition, calling for President Trump’s removal that has amassed more than 42,500 signatures thus far.
This is not the first time the group has called the president’s mental health into question, penning an open letter in February that said his mental state ‘makes him incapable of serving safely as president’.
Not everyone agrees, however. Some mental health experts argue that it’s impossible to make such a diagnosis without a face-to-face consultation.
Dr Allen Frances, co-author of the manual used to categorize mental conditions, slammed these from-afar diagnoses of the president’s mental health.
Writing in the New York Times, Dr Frances said: ‘Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled [Mr Trump as having] narcissistic personality disorder.’
‘He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill,’ he added.
Dr Frances made clear that he – like the psychiatrists diagnosing Trump – is not a fan of the president, and finds his politics ‘distressing’.
However, he insists that ‘psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering’ the president’s approach to politics.
In fact, he said, he feels it is an ‘insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr Trump (who is neither)’.
He writes: ‘Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely.’
Dr Gilligan slams claims the move is unethical.
‘We’re not trying to diagnose him at a distance but we’re indicating his dangerousness,’ he said.
‘Yet when you’re evaluating somebody, you don’t just take their word for it because they may be good at hiding how dangerous they are and it may be the least reliable way to diagnose.’