The former chief of the Duke University Psychiatry Department went on CNN this weekend to claim President Trump is mentally unfit for the office, and proceeded to up the hyperbole quotient to unprecedented levels.
Appearing on “Reliable Sources,” Dr. Allen Frances said comparing Donald Trump to the mentally ill is “an insult” to the latter.
While he differs with Yale’s Bandy Lee regarding the so-called Goldwater Rule - the American Psychiatric Association’s decree that “members never publicly discuss the mental health of a public figure” - Frances’ diatribe fit in well with Lee’s crusade to convince anyone who will listen that Trump’s mental state is endangering all Americans.
According to the Washington Examiner, Dr. Frances said
Well, I think ‘medicalizing’ politics has three very dire consequences. The first is that it stigmatizes the mentally ill. I’ve known thousands of patients, almost all of them are well-behaved, well-mannered good people. Trump is none of these. Lumping that is a terrible insult to the mentally ill and they have enough problems and stigma as it is.
Second, calling Trump crazy hides the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him and even crazier for allowing his crazy policies to persist.
The kicker: Trump “may be” culpable for “many more million deaths” than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, Frances continued.
“Trump is as destructive a person in this century as Hitler, Stalin and Mao were in the last century. He may be responsible for many more million deaths than they were,” Frances continued.
“He needs to be contained but he needs to be contained by attacking his policies, not his person.”
“It’s crazy for us to be destroying the climate our children will live in,” Frances continued.
“It’s crazy to be giving tax cuts to the rich that will add trillions of dollars to the debt our children will have to pay. It’s crazy to be destroying our democracy by claiming that the press and the courts are the enemy of the people.”
With such insane comparisons, Frances sounded like he needed to lie down on his own couch.
“There is absolutely no doubt that Trump is dangerous,” Frances claimed, arguing that Trump was “dangerous because he’s a bad, evil con man” rather than because he was mentally ill.
He then suggested that it would be acceptable to lie about Trump’s mental state if there was a way to use that false narrative to get him out of office.
“I think it’s very clear that he’s dangerous because he’s evil, he’s not dangerous because he’s mentally ill, and the mentally ill argument, if it would get him out of the office, I would say go with it even if it’s inaccurate,” Frances continued.
“Anything to get this man out of office. But it won’t work, so piling on inaccuracy, stigma, the press will get people who know nothing about psychiatric diagnosis spouting off at the mouth, it won’t add to the discussion, it will distract from the political stuff and we have to focus on how evil...”
But all host Brain Stelter could muster was this odd facial expression...
(Stelter later claimed on Twitter that his show was suffering from technical difficulties and thus did not hear Frances’s statements.)
Dr. Lee sat quiet during the Frances segment; nevertheless, a month ago she and several peers testified in an online gathering that President Trump was psychologically unfit for the presidency.
In that testimony, James Merikangas of George Washington University said Trump’s campaign rallies are like the “Nuremberg rallies that Adolf Hilter had,” while NYU’s James Gilligan added the president is “dangerous to an unprecedented degree in our history.”
Dr. Frances’s Twitter timeline is chock full of material like this:
Trump by far most dangerous president in history. Destroys democracy/ruins world climate/may start diversion war.— Allen Frances (@AllenFrancesMD) June 15, 2019
But psychological name calling is a dumb response to his political evil. Naive to think he'll be removed re #mentalillness.
We must #ImpeachTrump. Not diagnose him. https://t.co/38cOzz7LAs
I wrote the DSM criteria for Narcissistic PD.— Allen Frances (@AllenFrancesMD) May 2, 2018
Trump doesn't meet them because he enjoys being a narcissistic asshole & is rewarded for it.
We should stop worrying about his sanity & start worrying about our societal insanity- allowing him to threaten US democracy & world climate. https://t.co/z7MdzOPkPX