Emily Barsh, KABC News
On his radio show Monday, Dr. Drew Pinsky spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a Yale psychiatrist warning that President Trump’s “proneness” to violence makes him a danger to the human species.
Dr. Lee said she believes a mental health test should be applied to candidates for the office of President.
In response, Dr. Pinsky offered short psychological profiles of former Presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, well known for violent rhetoric and temperamental bluster, and Abraham Lincoln, who is believed to have suffered from clinical depression.
Based on the psychological sketches provided, Dr. Lee said these former Presidents, both of whom are included on Mt. Rushmore as among the nation’s greatest, would be “concerning” to her.
Dr. Lee has made headlines in recent months by saying the President’s mental health is “a public health emergency” that could result in “the extinction of the human species” and went on to claim “this is not hyperbole. This is the reality.”
She says her comments have been misreported, without offering specifics.
Dr. Lee and her colleagues in an activist group called “The National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts” have been providing interviews on the President’s mental health and have even published a book titled The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which describes the President as a “clear and present danger to our nation and individual well being”.
None of the members claim to have examined the President.
In Monday’s interview, Dr. Lee insisted she was not attempting to diagnose President Trump’s mental health; but rather warning that his behavior and actions pose a direct and indirect threat to public health because he has shown violent tendencies.
This would seem to contradict her December statements that “Mr. Trump is showing signs of impairment that the average person could not see,” that “he is becoming very unstable very quickly,” and that “there is a need for neuropsychiatric evaluation that would demonstrate his capacity to serve.”
Pinsky questioned Lee about what specific criteria she would apply in order to determine fitness or unfitness for duty. Lee said it can come from “many different sources: it could be mental illness, it could be a medical condition… it could be psychiatric, or it could be…a social pathology — that is proneness to violence.”
Pinsky asked, “So, it would be accurate to say that anybody prone to aggression or violence should not be in office…regardless of the will of the people?”
Lee responded that was indeed a criterion for most jobs, but did not address the second point — which Pinsky pressed her on, “So the will of the people, the Constitution should take second priority to these established criteria that you’re trying to make?”
Lee insists such screening is necessary, but while she was vague about how she would go about determining fitness-for-president, she and Dr. Pinsky agreed that that having a major mental health issue should not necessarily preclude candidates from holding office, and in fact some psychological issues can even contribute to the success of a Presidency.
Dr. Lee was a guest on ‘Midday Live with Dr. Drew and Mike Catherwood’ on TalkRadio 790 KABC. Listen to the full interview: