Pretty much anybody who has ever seen a war movie knows that they have a special phrase for getting out of the military due to emotional or mental issues, they call it getting a “section 8,” named after the regulation. There is a similar mechanism where the Presidency is concerned, it is called “the 25th amendment.” And Trump may well be making the case unintentionally.
Briefly, the 25th amendment allows for the Vice President to facilitate the removal of the President from his duties if he is an any way unable to perform them. It has actually been used under the radar in the past, usually when the President undergoes some kind of surgical procedure where he is physically unable to respond to a potential threat. The most memorable occasion was when George HW Bush temporarily took over the role of President when Ronald Reagan underwent surgery following his assassination attempt. In invoking the 25th amendment it requires a majority of the existing cabinet to vote to affirm the removal of the President due to fitness.
Look, it’s one thing for “little people” to look at each other over a brewski and say “That dude is nuckin’ futz”, or “Trump is outta his gourd”, but wadda we know, right? But there is a growing group of people who by ethics norms should really be keeping their mouths shut on this issue, and they’re coming forward to express alarm.
Those people are mental health professionals, especially psychologists and psychiatrists. Their standing rule is that they should never publicly diagnose a patient that they personally have not examined, and they have been true to their word. Up until now, they have largely stayed within that guideline, but the clear warning signals that Trump is shooting off like the tail of a comet has forced some og them to respond publicly.
Not only are they publicly speaking out, they’re so concerned that they wrote a freakin’ book about it. Yale psychiatry professor Brandy X Lee sought compositions from colleagues on the subject, tha the result is “The dangerous case of Donald Trump.” In it, 27 different psychiatrists and psychologists lay out very specific, medically grounded cases for the fact that Donald Trump is dangerously unstable, and unfit to lead. The reason they are breaking their own prohibition is simple. Donald Trumps is such a public figure, who so shamelessly pushes himself into the public spotlight so incessantly, and the symptoms are so obvious that these dedicated professionals don’t need to physically examine him, they can see the warning signs from all the way over here.
Exercising the 25th amendment is not like impeachment, congress does not initiate it, it is normally triggered by the Vice President. To my mind, instead of pushing a partisan led effort to impeach Trump, since the GOP would resist, let Mueller do his job, and present congress with a case they can’t deny to impeach Emperor Numbus Nuttus, and instead bring as much public pressure as possible to bear on removing Trump from office for mental instability.Trump is actually actively assisting there. It takes a majority of cabinet members to sign on to the petition to activate the 25th amendment, but Trump has shown about as much loyalty to his cabinet as he has to the guy who painted the walls at Mar-A-Lago.
Trump is not getting better, he’s getting worse. It used to be funny to talk about how Trump had conned even himself, creating an alternative reality, where things were true just because he believed them. It’s no anymore, not with North Korea galloping towards a delivery system for a nuclear warhead they already possess. The fact that it is being widely reported that now Trump is not only claiming that it’s not his voice on the Access Hollywood video, and that Obama is actually a secret Kenyan Muslim, but that witnesses claim that he apparently believes them to be true, only adds to the case that Trump is devolving from a fact based reality into an alternate reality. And it will only get worse, especially since Trump would refuse treatment, even if a treatment was available, there’s nothing wrong with him.
We would all love to see Trump impeached, it’s what this site is all about. But impeachment is a political process, and it takes time. But with Trump continuing to dissolve mentally before us, and mental health experts coming out to confirm what we all already suspect, that Trump is a sick man who could cause great danger and harm, time is a luxury we don’t have. If the GOP won’t put country over party, we can only hope that they’ll put survival over party.