NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

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jserraglio
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NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jserraglio » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:40 pm

By The Editorial Board
Jan. 10, 2018

Is Donald Trump mentally fit to be president of the United States? It’s an understandable question, and it’s also beside the point.

Understandable because Mr. Trump’s behavior in office — impulsive, erratic, dishonest, childish, crude — is so alarming, and so far from what Americans expect in their chief executive, that it cries out for a deeper explanation.

It’s beside the point not because a president’s mental capacity doesn’t matter, nor because we should blindly accept our leaders’ declarations of their own stability, let alone genius. Rather, we don’t need a medical degree or a psychiatric diagnosis to tell us what is wrong with Mr. Trump. It’s obvious to anyone who listens to him speak, reads his tweets and sees the effects of his behavior — on the presidency, on the nation and its most important institutions, and on the integrity of the global order.

Presidents should not, for instance, taunt the leaders of hostile nations with demeaning nicknames and boasts about the size of their “nuclear button.” They should not tweet out videos depicting them violently assaulting their political opponents. They should not fire the F.B.I. director to derail an investigation into their own campaign’s possible collusion with a foreign government to swing the election. And, of course, they shouldn’t have to find themselves talking to reporters to insist that they’re mentally stable.

This behavior may be evidence of some underlying disorder, or it may not. Who knows? Mr. Trump hasn’t undergone a mental-health evaluation, at least not one made public. But even if his behavior were diagnosed as an illness, what would that tell us that we don’t already know? Plenty of people with mental disorders or disabilities function at high levels of society. Conversely, if Mr. Trump were found to have no diagnosable illness, he would be no more fit for the office he holds than he is today.

The problem lies in trying to locate the essence of Mr. Trump’s unfitness in the unknowable reaches of his mind, as opposed to where we can all openly see it and address it in political terms. As the psychiatrist Allen Frances told The Times: “You can’t say enough about how incompetent and unqualified he is to be leader of the free world. But that does not make him mentally ill.”

Unfortunately, a number of psychiatrists, politicians and others who should know better have increasingly taken up the Trump-is-crazy line. In “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” released last October, more than two dozen contributors, most mental-health professionals, concluded that Mr. Trump presents a grave and immediate danger to the safety of America and the world. No argument there, but why do we need to hear it from psychiatrists relying on their professional credentials? Dr. Bandy Lee, one of the book’s editors, said the authors are “assessing dangerousness, not making a diagnosis.” Anyone with access to newspapers or Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed can do the same.

The psychiatrists say they have a duty to warn the public about what they see as a serious threat to the nation. That’s commendable, but they should consider how their comments will be taken by the vast majority of Americans, particularly in a highly politically polarized time. The language of mental health and illness is widely used yet poorly understood, and it comes loaded with unwarranted assumptions and harmful stereotypes. There’s a good reason the profession established an ethical guideline in 1973, known as the Goldwater Rule, that prohibits psychiatrists from offering professional judgment on public figures they have not personally examined.

In the future, it would be a good idea if presidential candidates voluntarily submitted to a mental-health evaluation, just as they often do a physical one — and in that case, psychiatrists would have a critical role to play. But you don’t need to put Mr. Trump on a couch now to discover who he is.

So what’s the right way to deal with Mr. Trump’s evident unfitness?

Not the 25th Amendment, despite the sudden fashion for it. Ratified in the wake of President John Kennedy’s assassination, the amendment authorizes the temporary removal of a president who is unable to do the job. Its final section, which has never been invoked, was meant to clarify what should happen if the president becomes clearly incapacitated. One of the amendment’s drafters, Jay Berman, a former congressional staff member who has said Mr. Trump “appears unhinged,” still doesn’t believe that the amendment applies to his case.

Even if invoking the amendment were the best approach, consider what would need to happen. First, the vice president, plus a majority of Mr. Trump’s cabinet, must declare to Congress that the president cannot do his job. If Mr. Trump disagreed, they would have to restate their case. Only then would both houses of Congress get involved, and each would have to agree by a two-thirds vote. The chances of any of these steps being taken in today’s political environment are less than zero.

Impeachment would be a more direct and fitting approach, if Mr. Trump’s actions rise to the level of high crimes or misdemeanors. But this path is similarly obstructed by Republicans in Congress, who are behaving less like members of a coequal branch with oversight power than like co-conspirators of a man they know is unfit to govern.

The best solution is the simplest: Vote, and organize others to register and to vote. If you believe Donald Trump represents a danger to the country and the world, you can take action to rein in his power. In November, you can help elect members of Congress who will fight Mr. Trump’s most dangerous behaviors. If that fails, there’s always 2020.

A version of this article appears in print on January 11, 2018, on Page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?.

jbuck919
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:36 pm

Don't we all wish it was a simple as that? The people who are nuts (in a different sense) are those who allow this kind of regime to come to power because, say, they can't stand the idea of a woman president.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

david johnson
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by david johnson » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am

I have no problem with a female prez. It should never be Clinton, and the Dems were completely nuts for running her.

jbuck919
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:56 am

david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am
I have no problem with a female prez. It should never be Clinton, and the Dems were completely nuts for running her.
Yeah well a lot of people disagree with you. What are you thinking of, anyway? Benghazi? E-mails? All fabrications or exaggerations put forth by the Republicans, quite probably with the aid of the Russians, which millions of Americans swallowed hook, line, and sinker. No Hillary so we're better off with Trump? What kind of fool notion is that? Don't worry, David, not getting personal, since I say exactly the same thing to my father.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:42 am

The Donald, much maligned as EGO when in fact he's ID.

Image

david johnson
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by david johnson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:35 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:56 am
david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am
I have no problem with a female prez. It should never be Clinton, and the Dems were completely nuts for running her.
Yeah well a lot of people disagree with you. What are you thinking of, anyway? Benghazi? E-mails? All fabrications or exaggerations put forth by the Republicans, quite probably with the aid of the Russians, which millions of Americans swallowed hook, line, and sinker. No Hillary so we're better off with Trump? What kind of fool notion is that? Don't worry, David, not getting personal, since I say exactly the same thing to my father.
lol. I have despised her since she was first lady in my home state when Bill was governor. Her wretchedness predates anything you've listed by years. She is untrustworthy and snotty about it. A keg of special Kool-Aid progressives are addicted to. Those who disagree w/me about her are the people who are wrong.

jserraglio
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 am

david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am
Those who disagree w/me about her are the people who are wrong.
Count me among the wrong. 'Snotty' Hillary would've been a good president: granted, she was not a good candidate. I also prefer bourbon to Kool-Aid.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

lennygoran
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:35 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 am
david johnson wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:35 am
jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:56 am
david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am
Those who disagree w/me about her are the people who are wrong.
Count me among the wrong. I like bourbon, not Kool-aid.
Count me in-among the wrong-no bourbon, wine please--as for the Jarankas-lock them up-do you see any indictments coming along-better make it sooner rather than later! Len [hiding out in secaucus]

jserraglio
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:41 am

NBC News

Hillary Clinton on Friday called President Donald Trump's reported remarks racist as she added her voice to the uproar after the president allegedly derided Haitians and referred to African nations as "shithole" countries in a discussion on immigration.

"Snotty"? Maybe. At least it is not "hate-filled, vile and racist."
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

jbuck919
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:02 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 am
david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:04 am
Those who disagree w/me about her are the people who are wrong.
Count me among the wrong. 'Snotty' Hillary would've been a good president: granted, she was not a good candidate. I also prefer bourbon to Kool-Aid.
Yup. Excuse me for not having had the experience of a wife of a liberal governor in the Deep South. Sorry, but this still sounds to me like misogyny pure and simple. And who else were the Democrats going to field? Part of the problem is that there are few if any up-and-comers.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:15 am

jbuck wrote:Sorry, but this still sounds to me like misogyny pure and simple.
Yup, the epithet "snotty" sounds more palatable than the nickname "crooked", but I agree it is derived from the same ad mulierem rhetorical toolkit.

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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by david johnson » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:24 am

Come on guys, I was being polite and you know it. You responders are so closed minded as to label me a misogynist? Who would the dems run? Sanders? I was going to go for him. They shot their own toes off and Trump has not done most of the stuff he said he would, like most pols. Jserr, I have some Knob Creek single barrel, will that do? :)

lennygoran
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Re: NYT editorial: Is Mr. Trump Nuts?

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:24 am

david johnson wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:24 am
Trump has not done most of the stuff he said he would
Too much damage to suit me-Neil McGill Gorsuch-the tax bill, how he comports himself, the corruption, the coverup, the Comey firing, the amount of lies, the good Nazis, pardoning Araipo, the insulting and vulgar comments! Regards, Len

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