Several psychiatrists have urged Congress to form a commission that would evaluate President Donald Trump's mental health. While several prominent mental health professionals have publicly questioned Trump's stability, there remains a consensus amongst the psychiatric community that it is unethical to diagnose a public official before personally evaluating them.
On Aug. 11, six psychiatrists submitted a letter to members of Congress voicing alarm over Trump's mental well-being. The missive was spearheaded by forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee of Yale University, who had edited an upcoming book titled "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump."
The psychiatrists asserted that publicly questioning Trump's mental health was not a partisan issue, USA Today reports.
"It no longer takes a psychiatrist to recognize the alarming patterns of impulsive, reckless, and narcissistic behavior -- regardless of diagnosis -- that in the Person of President Trump, put the world at risk... We now find ourselves in a clear and present danger, especially concerning North Korea and the president's command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal," the letter stated.
On Aug. 8, Trump asserted that the U.S. would take unprecedented retaliation against any aggression from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Reuters reports.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said during a press event in Bedminster, New Jersey. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
Trump administration officials later disclosed that Trump had not consulted with the Pentagon before making his remarks.
Several Democratic lawmakers have questioned Trump's mental health. Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland has proposed establishing a committee to evaluate the president.
On Aug. 12, Raskin introduced legislation that would create an Oversight Commission of Presidential Capacity. The potential committee would be comprised of 10 mental health professionals or public officials appointed by Congress. If the committee found that a sitting president was not mentally or physically fit, they would be able to recommend removing him or her from office through the 25th Amendment, The Hill reports.
"The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity," Raskin said in a statement. "Now is the time to do it."
As of Aug. 23, Raskin's bill had found 23 co-sponsors.
Lee is consulting with Democratic lawmakers about any potential committee to evaluate a president's mental health.
Psychiatrist Allen Frances, who has also penned an upcoming book about Trump's mental health, is skeptical that the president would ever be removed under the 25th Amendment.
"He's not going to be defeated by a bunch of mental health workers saying he's crazy," Frances said. "The way to defeat him is political."
The larger psychiatric community refrains from diagnosing public officials, a precedent that began after several mental health professionals publicly scrutinized the mental health of deceased GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona during the 1964 presidential race. Goldwater successfully sued them for libel, prompting mental health associations to prohibit their members from diagnosing officials without personally examining them, otherwise known as the "Goldwater Rule."
At least one prominent association has exempted its members from following the Goldwater Rule since Trump assumed office. On July 25, it was disclosed that the American Psychoanalytic Association had given its 3,500 members permission to publicly discuss Trump's mental health, STAT reports.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement blasting the speculation over Trump's fitness for office.
"This is nothing more than another absurd attempt to attack the President," Sanders said. "It did not work during the campaign, and it will not work now."
On Aug. 23, a Politico/Morning Consult survey found that 31 percent of registered voters believed that Trump was stable while 55 percent said he was not. 58 percent of respondents believed the president was reckless while 30 percent disagreed, according to Politico.