A group of more than 70 psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals sent a letter to Donald Trump’s physician this week, imploring him to include an evaluation of the president’s neurological health in Trump’s upcoming physical examination.
The White House has said tests of mental fitness will not be part of the president’s physical. A president’s cognitive functions are not typically tested during a physical, though such tests are advised for people Trump’s age during annual checkups.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that the physician, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, would issue a statement following the exam and answer questions from the media next week.
The letter, according to Politico, says,
Your duty to this patient and the country that employs you as an officer of the United States Navy is to refer your patient to specialist care if any elements of your neurological and psychiatric examination yield pertinent results. Your threshold for such referral should be low given this patient’s position.
The letter refers to “increasing concern” about Trump’s “declining faculties for complex thought, rambling speech, difficulty completing a thought,” along with “suspect judgment, planning, problem solving and impulse control,” among other issues.
One of the letter’s signatories, psychiatrist Steven Buser, formerly served in the Air Force, where he conducted psychiatric exams on airmen, including those tasked with duties involving the nuclear arsenal. Buser also co-edited the book, A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump. Buser states:
My biggest concern has really been the whole nuclear threat. Our entire nuclear chain of command is held through DOD regulations to the highest standard of psychological well-being…except the man who has his very finger on the nuclear button.
Another psychiatrist who signed the letter, David M. Reiss, was a contributor to the book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. He says Trump’s pattern of behavior has been “disturbing, and it’s worrisome, and it really needs attention. It’s important for the public to see that these are concerns a lot of people have and understand our reasons and motivations.”
According to Politico, some Democrats have already introduced legislation that would require the president to undergo a mental health evaluation.
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