Psychoanalyzing Trump? Stop It

“Articles about the president’s mental health have been cavalier, using innuendo from unnamed sources … “

COMMENTARY | 

Stop Psychoanalyzing The President

| Oct 02, 2019

Alex Green

WBUR – One of the stories people tell themselves to make sense of living in Donald Trump’s America is that the president suffers from extreme mental illness.

From the front page to the opinion section, hardly a week goes by without a major publication declaring that he is certifiably unhinged. It helps numb the pain.

It lets us make an easy distinction. He’s crazy. We’re not. We could save democracy if we could just rush into the Oval Office with a straight-jacket right now.

But for many of us with mental illness, this tale is a growing cause for concern.

In the span of a few years, it has shifted from a focused attack on the president, that was in and of itself unsettling, to a broad trope that stigmatizes mental illness more than at any time in a generation.

“The president’s behavior is not abnormal … “

From the outset, articles about the president’s mental health have been cavalier, using innuendo from unnamed sources within the White House to stoke public concern.

Given Trump’s propensity for using slurs like idiot and moron against his enemies, it became accepted practice to volley back at him with equal callousness.

Writing for The Los Angeles Times in June, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg joked that the president was, “a few fries short of a Happy Meal,” and questioned whether the White House nurse had swapped Trump’s medications with M&Ms.

We seem unable to accept the idea that the president’s behavior is not abnormal even if it is abhorrent.

Psychologists and psychiatrists have encouraged these lines of attack by assuring the president’s detractors that it is appropriate to engage in casual speculation about mental health. Read more. 

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