NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The push by mental health professionals to have President Donald Trump removed from office on the grounds he is mentally unfit to serve came to New Haven on Thursday.
About two dozen people convened at a town hall style meeting held at Yale’s School Of Medicine.
“I’ve worked with some of the most dangerous people our society produces, directing mental health programs in prisons. I’ve worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognize dangerousness from a mile away,” said James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University. “You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.”
Dr. John Gartner, who spoke at the event, started an online petition encouraging other mental health professionals to speak up and declare they believe Preisdent Trump is mentally ill. So far, the petition has more than 40-thousand signatures.
“We do believe that Donald Trump’s mental illness is putting the entire country, and indeed the entire world, in danger,” said Dr. Gartner. “As health professionals we have an ethical duty to warn the public about that danger.”
Connecticut Republicans shot back at Thursday’s event saying the people signing the petition are using their medical expertise to push a political agenda. Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said, quote:
“This is a sad day. These so called professionals have thrown ethical standards out the window because they cannot accept the election results.”
One of the arguments against the health professionals’ movement is that these individuals have not sat down with Trump one on one.
“This notion that you need to personally interview someone to form a diagnosis actually doesn’t make a whole lotta sense. For one thing, research shows that the psychiatric interview is the least statistical reliable way to make a diagnosis,” said Dr. Gartner.
Gartner says Trump’s statement about having the largest crowd at an inauguration was just one of many that served as warnings to what they see as a bigger problem.
“Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking and he proved that to the country the first day he was President,” said Dr. Gartner.
Yale released the following statement about today’s meeting:
“The Department of Psychiatry endorses the application of the expertise and experience of its faculty in the service of public policy. In this case, a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, Bandy Lee, Ph.D., organized a conference focused on the question of how psychopathology in a national leader should be addressed. She invited nationally-recognized experts in the field of mental health. This group included Robert Jay Lifton, formerly professor of Psychiatry at Yale and an internationally renowned figure in the area of the impact of psychological traumas. The conference participants were specifically instructed to follow the “Goldwater Rule”, which prevent mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures based on second-hand information, i.e., information presented by the public media. The conference was organized by people who focused their presentations on President Trump and who were likely to discuss some of his actions. It was made clear that the opinions presented at the Conference did not represent those of the Department of Psychiatry or the University.”
Yale Lecturer, and Assistant Clinical Professor Dr. Bandy Lee, who organized the event, released the following statement:
“The panel at Yale School of Medicine abided by ‘the Goldwater rule.’ Eminent psychiatrists were invited to speak about whether there are other ethical rules that override it, as in ordinary practice. The organizer, Dr. Bandy Lee, agrees with the Goldwater rule but is troubled by its recent expansion as of March 16, 2017 and the silencing of debate. She hopes that the public and politicians will understand that mental health issues are not to be used as a weapon, just as other health issues are not. Dr. Gartner was invited as an activist and was not on the actual panel. The organizer emphasizes that the event was independent and did not represent the views of Yale University or Yale School of Medicine.”