President Donald Trump’s mental health is “deteriorating” and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between his campaign and Russians in the election is edging the commander-in-chief closer to pushing the nuclear button on North Korea, a psychologist opined.
The stress of Mueller’s intensifying investigation is “clearly driving him crazy,” psychologist John Gartner said of Trump during a panel of mental health and nuclear weapons experts convened by the "Need to Impeach" campaign Monday night in Washington, D.C.
“What we need to understand is that for him, this also is pushing him towards pushing the nuclear button because it would solve all of his problems,” said Gartner, claiming that Trump has no empathy or concern for the people whose lives would be destroyed.
“We are not in a static situation—we are in a deteriorating situation,” said Gartner, concluding, “As every day goes by, we are at greater risk of total annihilation.”
Earlier on Monday, Trump said he hoped that the U.S. would never have to launch its nuclear weapons, but that the arsenal is being modernized “because others are doing it” and that reducing it “depends really on what other people are going to be doing.”
Another panelist, nuclear security specialist James Doyle, said it is undesirable for a president to be “impulsive, easily angered or frustrated, somebody who seeks confrontation, has a high sense of bravado, or is vindictive”—all characteristics that Trump has been linked to.
Trump has “no obvious logical thought process,” psychologist and lecturer David Reiss said, citing a tweet the president wrote with “falsehoods” on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Bottom line is, looking toward the future, we have a man in office who we have no confidence has the ability to problem-solve the events that may occur to safely control the government and to safely make logical decisions,” Reiss said.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the panel from Newsweek on Tuesday.
Tom Steyer—the founder of the Need to Impeach initiative that has more than 4.7 million signatures demanding Congress to begin impeachment proceedings—prefaced the panel by explaining the so-called Goldwater rule, an informal name for a code of ethics created in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association's Principles of Medical Ethics. The rule, officially called Section 7, deems it unethical for psychiatrists to offer a professional opinion on a public official without a physical examination.
“I think there’s been a sense in the profession that Mr. Trump is such an extreme and potentially dangerous president,” Steyer said, “That they’ve gone outside the rule that stood since the early '70s.”
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