Donald Trump

‘Trump has a thought disturbance’: psychiatrist claims White House officials contacted her about president’s behaviour

Trump defended his mental fitness in January, calling himself a ‘very stable genius’ and ‘like, really smart’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 10:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 5:16pm

A Yale University psychiatrist claims White House officials contacted her last year out of concern for what they saw as US President Donald Trump’s increasingly erratic behaviour.

Bandy Lee, who edited the bestselling book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, told the New York Daily News on Thursday the staff contacted her because the president was “scaring” them.

Lee’s revelation came as Trump fumed in response to an anonymous op-ed about administration insiders and a White House tell-all by journalist Bob Woodward, who claims there are grave concerns among the highest ranks of the Trump administration about the president’s judgment.

Lee briefed a dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate last December about Trump’s fitness to be president. But lawmakers on Capitol Hill weren’t the only ones who said they were alarmed by Trump’s behaviour, troubling tweets or temper.

A pair of West Wing representatives contacted her two separate times on the same day because they believed the president was “unravelling”.

“I had not mentioned this before because I did not want to confuse my role as an educator to the public,” Lee said when pressed about why she did not speak up sooner. “I thought I would be more effective by retaining my public role than getting involved in either the treatment of those who were feeling scared or in the actual intervention with the president.”

He has a thought disturbance. When Donald Trump says something he expects others to believe it is reality
Dr Bart Rossi

Salon first reported Lee’s claim. Around the same time, a Trump family friend emailed her about concern for his mental health.

Trump defended his mental fitness in January, calling himself a “very stable genius” and “like, really smart”.

He was responding to the release of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which contained concerns from Trump’s senior aides about his mental fitness for office.

Woodward’s title paints a similar picture.

Although mental health professionals typically stay away from diagnosing public figures they’ve never actually evaluated, Lee and others have chosen to speak out about their concerns.

The Trump official behind the anonymous New York Times op-ed appears to confirm Lee and other experts’ fears, that the “root of the problem is the president’s amorality”.

“Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision-making,” the unidentified writer says.

Woodward’s book and the anonymous op-ed both paint Trump as a troubled, impulsive and dangerous man who has little regard for the rule of law or the power of the presidency.

His actions have led several officials to retaliate by trying to subvert his efforts.

“Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader … The dilemma – which he does not fully grasp – is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the unidentified official wrote.

Political psychologist Dr Bart Rossi said it is clear that Trump has been exhibiting narcissistic behaviour which has been getting worse as the pressures of the office mount and the Russia probe drags on.

“I see someone who has a real narcissistic problem,” Rossi told the New York Daily News . “The problem is he is narcissistic to the extreme. He’s self-absorbed to the point where he’s only concerned about himself. The other problem is that he has a thought disturbance. When Donald Trump says something he expects others to believe it is reality even if it is completely fabricated.”

Rossi said his analysis is based on Trump’s public statements and is made in the context of political psychology.

“We’re in very dangerous territory,” he said.