Trump 'severely mentally troubled' and must resign from coronavirus response, mental health group warns

World Mental Health Coalition urges president's impeachment or resignation for 'dangerous detachment to reality' that is making pandemic worse

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 03 April 2020 14:39 EDT
How Trump has responded to coronavirus

Donald Trump is "so severely mentally troubled that he is a great danger to our nation" and must be removed from office, according to a group of international mental health professionals calling for the president to resign or for the "complete removal" of his decision-making powers leading the White House response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Mental Health Coalition has issued a "prescription for survival" that urges several calls to action, including the invocation of the 25th amendment of the US Constitution, which would relinquish the president from office once the chief executive is determined unfit.

It also calls for the president's "urgent impeachment" in Congress and conviction in the US Senate, which must realise its decision "involves the very fate of the nation."

The president also must undergo a court-ordered mental health evaluation and establish a Coronavirus Crisis Department within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which would lead the US response to Covid-19, the group says.

White House briefings, which have devolved into platforms for misinformation and false claims about the US response to combat the outbreak, should also be suspended, and briefings must only be delivered through the CDC, according to the group.

In a petition, the group said that if Mr Trump "were president of any major institutions, it is likely the Board of Directors would have required him to undergo a comprehensive mental health assessment. If he were any law enforcement or military officer, he would have taken a fitness-for-duty test before even assuming his job. All of our country's military personnel who handle nuclear weapons are required to submit to rigorous psychological testing yearly — except the commander in chief."

The president "is incapable of protecting lives but is making a global pandemic worse — not just through incompetence and ignorance, but through a dangerous detachment from reality" and "a need to convey false information," the letter reads.

Yale School of Medicine forensic psychiatrist Bandy X Lee, the group's president, had recently convened a panel on coronavirus to discuss the administration's response and efforts to downplay the severity of the impending crisis.

She said that the president's "germophobia" is merely "about people, not germs," and is not dissimilar to his inability to take seriously pandemic surveillance and containment while focusing on immigration and travel bans, she told Salon.

"Someone who causes this kind of crisis is also incapable of containing it but will make it worse," she said. "He is setting the atmosphere for the nation and the world where every state will have to scramble for itself, and every country fend for itself, which means terrible inefficiency and a recipe for global conflicts, when we could have been uniting around fighting a common enemy."

His "insatiable drive" allows him to "seduce and hypnotise the masses" while simultaneously endangering them with his policy decisions, she said.

"They will cling to him more, defensively idealizing him, since the psychological cost of admitting his errors would be even greater."

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