Not that long ago we talked about the Goldwater Rule, which holds that mental health professionals aren’t supposed to openly diagnose public figures who they have not personally examined. One splinter group of physicians decided they would make an exception in President Trump’s case because… #RESIST, but the vastly larger professional organization which most of the doctors in that field belong to is holding the line in the interest of accuracy and professional standards.
That keeps us covered for all of the shrinks out there. But what if your medical credentials are somewhat less… substantial? What if, rather than going to college in a pre-med discipline, followed by medical school, residency and all the rest of that tedious nonsense, you decided to get a degree in journalism from , let’s just say… the University of Michigan? Is it then safe for you to begin offering very public diagnoses – or at least the suggestion that such diagnoses be done – of the President of the United States?
Well, if you happen to be Eugene Robinson, member of the Washington Post editorial board, the answer is a resounding yes. After offering a bevy of previously cited examples of ‘reasons President Trump may be unstable‘ derived from quotes made largely by politicians, Robinson makes it abundantly clear that he’s not speaking metaphorically, as in, that guy’s nuts!
I have spoken with people who have known Trump for decades and who say he has changed. He exhibits less self-awareness, these longtime acquaintances say, and less capacity for sustained focus. Indeed, it is instructive to compare television interviews of Trump recorded years ago with those conducted now. To this layman’s eyes and ears, there seems to have been deterioration.
Again, the people making this diagnosis in support of Robinson’s claim are “people who have known Trump for decades” but it’s not specified what they do for a living. Are they doctors? If so, one hopes that the President was not actually a patient of theirs or they’ve broken a very serious rule. But I somehow doubt it. If the author could actually get a qualified psychiatrist to say something like that it would be on the front page of the WaPo every day for the rest of Trump’s time in office.
Robinson then goes on to aver that he is, “not professionally qualified to assess the president’s mental health.” Not being one to let a little thing like professional qualifications stand in his way, he finishes up with this:
It is uncomfortable to talk about the president’s mental health. But at this point it is irresponsible not to.
First of all, discussing his mental health when you have zero, zip, nada in the way of qualifications is actually incredibly irresponsible. But let’s just put that aside for a moment and assume that you can. Now what do you plan to do about it? Because I don’t hear you offering a suggestion as to how you might get an actual professional evaluation which might lead to some sort of 25th Amendment action or whatever it is that you’re hoping for. All you’re really doing is generating headlines and fodder for liberal cable talk shows and that’s not going to help the prospective patient or the nation at large.
Unless… oh, wait. Is that what you were angling for all along?