In 2019, President Trump became the third president in history to be impeached. That isn’t likely to get him out of the White House, though. The Republican majority in the Senate means the president’s impeachment trial probably won’t end with him being ousted from the oval office. That leaves the Democrats with two options — either defeat him in the 2020 campaign or get him committed after Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prompted questions about his mental health.
Yes, you heard that right. According Bandy X. Lee, president of the World Mental Health Coalition and a psychiatry professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, Trump should be submitted for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation . Lee says Nancy Pelosi, a fierce Trump opponent, has the right to call the president out on his bizarre comments.
Specifically, Lee said, his six-page letter to Pelosi ahead of the impeachment vote suggests Trump’s mental health is in a questionable condition.
Pelosi herself said Trump’s letter was “really sick,” but Lee said perhaps she doesn’t see the gravity of the situation. Lee argued what she sees as a decline in Trump’s mental state coupled with criminal behavior suggests the president is becoming more dangerous, thus making him a candidate for an involuntary evaluation.
Pelosi isn’t the only one who saw the president’s letter as a sign that Trump’s health is declining. John Favreau, a former Obama administration official, called the letter “deranged” and “unhinged.” He also said it “makes a pretty compelling case that the president is unfit for office.”
Trump himself supports involuntary confinement for those with mental illnesses as a measure of protection. Just days after sending Pelosi the infamous letter, Trump attended a mental health summit in which he called for reinstating the mental institutions he remembers from his childhood in Queens:
And we must give major consideration to building new institutions. You know, when I was growing up in Queens, in New York, we had a number of mental institutions. And I’d look and I’d see these big buildings. And all of a sudden, you go and you don’t see them anymore. And you say, ‘What happened to all of those beds? What happened to all of that work? And where are those people?’ And in many cases, those people are living on the streets. It’s much different.
This is not the first time Trump’s mental health has been called into question— videos of him incoherently babbling on the campaign trail have made the rounds on the internet in recent weeks. But Lee’s calls for a psychiatric evaluation go beyond internet observers poking fun at the president.
Hillary Clinton was slated on the 2016 campaign trail for having mental health issues, and the 2020 race looks to have more of the same in store. But the stakes have been raised from mudslinging to actual accusations. Many of Trump’s opponents have remarked on his behavior— but backing those claims up with action is a different beast altogether.
It’s unlikely the Democrats will take another swing at Trump until the election rolls around as the impeachment appears to have done very little to dull the enthusiasm among his supporters. Still, if Trump continues behaving erratically and doesn’t rein in his rhetoric, Lee’s suggestion could be the Dem’s next move.