Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming event organized by a group called Duty to Warn. Duty to Warn has called for President Trump’s removal from office under the 25th Amendment on the grounds that he is not psychologically fit to serve. From the Hill:
Raskin is expected to discuss legislation he introduced earlier this year to establish an Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity that can determine if the president is incapacitated. His bill currently has 31 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats.
Under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members, “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” can jointly declare that a president is unfit to serve. Raskin’s bill would create an “other body” as permitted by the 25th Amendment.
The group of mental health professionals plans to host town halls across the nation on Oct. 14, including one in Washington, D.C., where Raskin will be speaking.
Raskin has been suggesting for months that the 25th Amendment provides a “way out” of the Trump presidency.
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) June 30, 2017
Duty to Warn apparently started as a petition at Change.org started by a psychologist named John Gartner. Gartner’s petition, which currently has 62,000 signatories reads:
We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Gartner recently spoke to Rolling Stone magazine to explain his approach:
Gartner’s argument is relatively simple. Add paranoia, sadism and antisocial behavior to narcissistic personality disorder and you have a new diagnosis: “malignant narcissism.” Trump, he says, is no paranoid schizophrenic who walks the streets claiming to be the Son of God – no one “so grossly ill” could be elected. However, the president’s increasing tendency to obsess over persecution theories – and not just parrot meaningless stupidities like the inaugural crowd story but seemingly believe them – shows that he’s crossing a meaningful diagnostic line into psychotic delusions, common among malignant narcissists.
“We’re not talking about a gross psychotic disorder,” Gartner says. “We’re talking about a way in which people with severe personality disorders can regress to what they call transient psychotic states.” He adds, “It’s a more subtle kind of psychosis, but it goes over the boundary into psychosis.”
The term malignant narcissist is said to have been invented by Holocaust survivor Erich Fromm, who used it to explain Hitler.
In a video posted on the group’s website, Gartner makes this connection to Hitler more explicit saying, “In 1930s, a malignant narcissist rose to power in part because people were silent, including mental health community.” He adds, “We don’t want to make that mistake again.”
All of this seems pretty extreme to me but apparently, it’s not to “the resistance.” Rep. Raskin appeared on CNN in July and emphasized repeatedly that his bill was not aimed solely at President Trump. Perhaps now that he’s the keynote speaker for a group explicitly suggesting the president is a kind of return of Hitler, someone in the media could ask him if that’s going too far.