The censorship on Trump’s mental health has already had an effect. Whenever professionals have spoken up to warn about the dangers we saw in the current presidency, the new rule has given cover for those who use the APA’s position to claim that we are acting unethically; that psychiatrist opinion does not count; that the President is “just a jerk” or does not have a certain disorder (which also breaks the rule, but that did not matter).

The restriction has helped to keep the public in the dark and to convey the false notion that the mental health field is divided, when it largely agrees on the dangerousness of the President’s mental makeup. Silencing mental health professionals falsely reassures the public that things are not as bad as they appear and hence do not require intervention.

Lying constantly while demanding trust and loyalty, and meanwhile chipping away at victim protections such as the free press, the legal system, and access to expertise, is behavior that is all too familiar to mental health professionals. Pretending that disruption and chaos are part of a brilliant strategy, when merely trying to cover up ignorance and incompetence, is another familiar pattern.