Given Donald Trump’s disastrous presidential campaign and his even worse first month in the White House, several experts have raised suspicions that Trump is mentally ill and must be evaluated immediately. However, for prominent psychiatrist Allen Francis, M.D., there’s one major reason we shouldn’t be calling Trump mentally ill – because he’s something far, far worse.
Dr. Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Duke University Medical Center, has just written a damning letter to the editor of The New York Times stating that regarding Trump as mentally ill is a direct insult to those with mental illnesses. According to Dr. Frances, who was involved in writing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV), Trump “is bad, not mad” and “crazy only like a fox.” Frances said that claiming Trump has a mental illness is:
“a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).
Unlike those with actual mental illnesses, Dr. Frances argues that Trump “causes distress rather than experiencing it” and has been rewarded for his “grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy.” Instead of busying ourselves trying to decide if Trump is mentally ill or not, Dr. Frances believes that:
“He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.”
Many mental health experts have spoken out about Trump before, but this is by far the most critical of them. No one can argue with Dr. Frances’ assessment; everything Dr. Frances has pointed out about Trump’s behavior have been things that Trump has done very publicly. You can read his full letter in The New York Times below:
And is just the icing on the cake. Dr. Frances also wrote a blog post in Psychology Today in which he urged people to focus on Trump’s actions instead of his mental state. Dr. Frances wrote:
“The urge among amateur diagnosticians to mislabel Trump as mentally ill is perfectly understandable. They are terrified (as am I) by his dictatorial and impulsive behavior and feel compelled to resort to psychiatric name calling as a way of delegitimizing him. But this is inaccurate, unnecessary, unfair to the mentally ill, ineffective, and badly off target.
We must challenge Trump on his outrageous behaviors and constant lies, not on his mental status. Speculations on Trump’s psychological motivations, or whether he believes his own lies, are both distracting and irrelevant.
At this crucial moment, with our fragile democracy at serious risk, I really couldn’t care less why Trump does what he does. It is his dangerous actions that count, not the psychological reasons he does them.”
Dr. Frances also tweeted this on Tuesday:
“I’m so tired of amateur analyses of Trump’s psychology or diagnosis. Focus on real danger- his grab of dictator power.”
Dr. Frances is dead right. While we may never understand what goes on in Trump’s mind, the real threat to America is his love of unchecked power – and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.
Featured image via Mark Wilson / Getty Images