(NOTE: This is a repost of an article originally published May 24, 2017.)

Everyone can see that the 45th President of the United States of America has a strange orange hue to his thin skin. And, during the 2016 campaign, in an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, President Obama even made a spot on jibe about it. With a play on words referencing a popular Netflix Original Series, the 44th President of the United States of America quipped,  “…Orange Is Not the New Black”.

Since Donald J Trump was installed in the Whitehouse by the Electoral College following Barack Obama’s presidency; it has become increasingly apparent (in disturbing ways) that “Orange is Not the New Black”.  It is clear to me – and many mental health professionals - that “Orange is the New Whack”!

Though I find his illeism (talking about himself in the third person) annoying, it is Trump’s erratic behavior and tyrannical disposition that bothers me. His denial of facts, embrace of conspiracy theories, attention-seeking rallies, vindictive/vengeful rants and intolerance of anyone who does not share his views, are what make me think he’s psychologically impaired (whack). I feel free to say this because I am not a mental health professional and am not bound by American Psychiatric Association (APA) guidelines on making public statements about the mental health of public figures (the ‘Goldwater rule’).

Trump is leading the country into a constitutional crisis from which we may never recover.  It is blatantly obvious (even to the layperson) that the Trump presidency is NOT NORMAL. I find it disappointing, though understandable, that most Mental Health Professionals are hesitant to give their take on Trump’s mental/emotional state because of the so-called ‘Goldwater Rule’. [1]   But, there are a few brave souls in the mental health field who are speaking out … and their numbers are growing.

At Yale, Dr. Bandy Lee, Department of Psychiatry, organized and held an open forum/town-hall style meeting on April 20, 2017, inviting renowned mental health experts to discuss, as Dr. Lee says, “the elephant in the room” that is Donald Trump’s mental fitness (or lack thereof), and ethical dilemmas mental health professionals have regarding the ‘Duty to Warn’ the public and the 'Goldwater Rule'.

According to an article in Psychology Today, written by Hara Estroff Marano, the gathering of mental health experts at the Yale forum discussed “how to avert the "malignant normality”… now threatening American democracy.”  I hope they are successful in this “aversion therapy” for the POTUS, and for the sake of our country.

Mental Health Professionals, I think you do have a ‘Duty to warn’- an obligation to protect Lady Liberty - that overrides the so-called ‘Goldwater Rule’.  And I hope you have the courage to show your professional credentials, fulfill your ‘duty to warn’, and speak out for democracy by signing the petition to “respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.””

It’s a fact; I think the 45th POTUS is whack. But, I have enough self-awareness to realize that I could be wrong about Trump being mentally ill. It could be that, as the psychoanalyst and founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, Steven Reisner posits, he’s just EVIL.

[1]  APA’s Ethics Annotation Known as ‘Goldwater Rule’:  “On occasion, psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”


Bonnie Bertelson

Bonnie Bertelson

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