EOH H L R M

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - Gold­wa­ter rule Men­tal dis­or­der Any­thing but Whats ahead

ANUMBER of those work­ing closely with U.S. Pres­i­dent Trump called him be­hind his back a “mo­ron,” “id­iot,” “crazy and stupid” -- in­clud­ing a trea­sury sec­re­tary, a na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, and a chief of staff -- and now pub­licly dis­closed in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion: a tel­lall, sala­cious, tabloid-spir­ited book by a writer who had free ac­cess to the White House.

But sources of the opin­ions in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: In­side the Trump White House” on Trump’s men­tal con­di­tion are no med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis. They are close aides hold­ing key po­si­tions who watch Trump up close, skilled in other dis­ci­plines but not in psy­chi­a­try.

Trump’s trusted peo­ple said he was crazy or stupid. Per­haps they were merely giv­ing vent to some frus­tra­tion or anger that Trump “doesn’t read” or “has the ex­pec­ta­tions and tantrums of a child.” Or they were just bitch­ing about the boss whom they blamed for the dis­ar­ray in the White House dur­ing its first year.

Even full-pledged psy­chi­a­trists can­not, or do not, make as­sess­ments of any pub­lic of­fi­cial from afar, with­out per­son­ally ex­am­in­ing the per­son. They call it the Gold­wa­ter Rule in the U.S., named af­ter Barry Gold­wa­ter whom a num­ber of psy­chi­a­trists said was un­fit to run for pres­i­dent in 1964.

Last March, how­ever, a leaked email said the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­an­a­lytic As­so­ci­a­tion (APA) told its mem­bers their com­ment on po­lit­i­cal mat­ters is not con­sid­ered un­eth­i­cal, in ef­fect a re­vi­sion of the Gold­wa­ter rule.

But judg­ing Trump’s men­tal con­di­tion seems to have be­come a “par­lor game” in the U.S. since the pri­maries when he joined Rpub­li­can pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rants in the race to the White House. When the “Fire and Fury” book ap­peared, the guess­ing game turned into a se­ri­ous of­fen­sive on his fit­ness to hold the po­si­tion of pres­i­dent.

This time, his crit­ics want men­tal dis­or­der to set off the pro­ce­dure that would re­move him from the White House. The U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, how­ever, re­quires the vice pres­i­dent Mike Spence to ini­ti­ate the process in the Cab­i­net. Would the faith­ful and docile Spence even think about it?

It won’t need med­i­cal train­ing and ex­per­tise though to judge Trump’s be­hav­ior. His ac­tions and state­ments tend to con­firm the pic­ture that Wolff’s book presents: a pres­i­dent who might be un­fit in his job and dan­ger­ous to his coun­try and the world.

But, Dr. Allen Frances who wrote the APA guide­lines, cau­tions against call­ing it men­tal ill­ness. Call it nar­cis­sis­tic, child­ish, dan­ger­ous or any­thing else but not men­tal dis­or­der. That stig­ma­tizes the men­tally ill, he says.

Trump whom his own staffers sus­pect as nuts in­sists he is not only smart but a ge­nius. Ear­lier, he chal­lenged his own sec­re­tary of state, who had called Trump a “mo­ron,” to an I.Q. test com­pe­ti­tion. And what pres­i­dent, un­less some­what un­hinged, would boast he is a stable ge­nius?

Ex­pect the next weeks and months for Trump to be­have more ra­tio­nally or to ap­pear ra­tio­nal to the pub­lic. He might work harder to fit into the mold of men­tal prow­ess he ad­ver­tises of him­self.

Or the same reg­u­lar bizarre acts and words of the U.S. pres­i­dent may con­tinue and fuel more ques­tions about the man’s men­tal con­di­tion.

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