From BuzzFeed two days ago about email content in a 2016 Breitbart-related exchange that reflects at least one true thing expressed by Steve Bannon:
In response to Bannon’s criticism of Trump’s lack of humility before God, Breitbart’s Washington political editor Matthew Boyle chimed in. “…He can’t do anything wrong, at least in his mind,” Boyle wrote. “Trump is a genius at showing absolutely no weakness whatsoever and projecting macho man confidence. He is a giant walking, living, breathing self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“Narcissist,” [Steve] Bannon wrote back.
Seven months later, Bannon left Breitbart to lead the Trump campaign.
And although they’re saying it in different and more words than Bannon used, it boils down to the same:
Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a diminutive Yale psychiatry professor who organized the meeting, puts it this way: “The Goldwater Rule is not absolute. We have a ‘Duty to Warn,’ about a leader who is dangerous to the health and security of our patients.” She has formed a coalition by that name, and it now comprises almost 800 mental-health professionals who are “sufficiently alarmed that they feel the need to speak up about the mental-health status of the president.”
The [pyschiatrist] group’s letter, sent to members of both parties, said: “It no longer takes a psychiatrist to recognise the alarming patterns of impulsive, reckless, and narcissistic behaviour — 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 US nuclear arsenal.”
And finally, also two days ago:
Dr. Bandy X. Lee reportedly met with the group of lawmakers on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 and warned them the president is “going to unravel.” All of the lawmakers in attendance were Democrats, except for one Republican senator.
“We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency,” Lee told Politico.
I’ve never been bothered by the Goldwater Rule (that mental health experts not offer a professional diagnosis of any person they have not personally examined) when it’s involved the matter of Donald Trump and the presidency. Psychology Today does a nice job writing about why so many (60,000+) mental professionals aren’t either:
[John Gartner, Ph.D] speaks for the book [The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President] contributors as well as the 60,000-plus mental health professionals who signed his petition when he contends that the mental health community has an obligation to protect the public that overrides the Goldwater Rule —we’ve advanced quite a lot in 44 years—and that Trump has proved himself a clear and present danger. Also, the Goldwater Rule is not relevant because it was established before the DSM made diagnosis behaviorally based.
and then they provide Dr. Lee’s explanation as well:
So why are so many mental health professionals—the contributors to The Dangerous Case and the rest of the 60,000+—willing to put their careers on the line? We’ll defer to Bandy:
“We are asking our fellow mental health professionals to get involved in politics not only as citizens, but also, specifically, as professionals and as guardians of special knowledge with which they have been entrusted. How can we be sure that this is permissible? It is all too easy to claim, just as we have done, that an emergency situation requires a departure from our usual practices in the private sphere. How can we judge whether in fact our political involvement is justified?
“We would argue that the key question is whether professionals are engaging in political collusion with state abuses of power, or in resistance to them. If we are asked to cooperate with state programs that violate human rights, then regardless of the purported justification, any involvement can only corrupt, and the only appropriate ethical stance is to refuse participation of any sort. If, on the other hand, we perceive that state power is being abused by an executive who seems to be mentally unstable, then we may certainly speak out, not only as citizens, but also, we would argue, as professionals who are privy to special information and a responsibility to educate the public. For whatever our wisdom and expertise may be worth, surely we are obligated to share it.”
Personally and professionally, I find this description extremely persuasive, even if Steve Bannon’s one word description in a 2016 email makes the same observation.