(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

"Distorting reality": Politicians, mental health experts say they're worried about Donald Trump

Al Franken was the first to question Trump's mental health. Now, professionals are speaking out


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Charlie May
February 15, 2017 2:47AM (UTC)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Washington D.C. are now being joined by mental health professionals in openly questioning the mental stability of the president.

It started on Friday, when Sen. Al Franken, D- Minnesota, said on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that some legislators have think that the president was "not right mentally."

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"I haven't heard a lot of good things, and I've heard some great concern about the president's temperament," Franken said. But this isn't just a partisan or political issue anymore.

On Monday, the New York Times published a letter signed by 37 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, in which they expressed grave concern over Trump's ability to make rational judgments. The letter cited, and stood with, columnist Charles Blow's article last week, which criticized Trump for undermining the judiciary checks of power in U.S. government.

Mental health organizations typically refrain from issuing judgments on public figures they have not personally evaluated due to a self-imposed ethics code known as the Goldwater Rule.

"But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer," the letter said.

Mental health professionals feared that President Trump's toxic rhetoric, as well as his actions, "demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions."

The letter went on to illustrate that Trump's behavior towards the press, and the scientific community, have serious implications. On numerous occasions Trump has berated the press for simply doing its job, as well as discredited the scientific community for expressing concern over the environment.

"In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president."

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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