Nancy Pelosi Should Submit Donald Trump for 'Involuntary' Mental Health Evaluation, Yale Psychiatrist Warns

President Donald Trump's mental health is not being taken seriously enough by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he should be submitted for an "involuntary" psychiatric evaluation, according to a Yale psychiatrist.

Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor at Yale University, has long offered "translations" of Trump's tweets and public statements that seek to illustrate what the president is "telling us subconsciously." In recent comments made to Salon, Newsweek and in an annotation of Trump's six-page letter to Pelosi, Lee argues the president put forth a "confession" by projecting his own motives onto the House speaker.

Lee told Newsweek Saturday afternoon that mental health is not an insult and she and her colleagues have never weaponized any terms of mental health or diagnoses for political or negative purposes. She noted "it's not a happy vindication" that nothing in Trump's presidency has deviated from their initial concerns about the president's mental health dating back several years.

"It's not an insult [for Pelosi to request Trump be evaluated]," she said. "I object to this. The president himself does that when he refers to Adam Schiff as a 'deranged human being' or Hillary Clinton as a 'crazy woman.' But when mental health professionals are involved it refers to something we know about and are concerned about. We invoke terms in order to help a situation, that is the difference."

Lee defended civil commitment for the mental health evaluation of someone such as Trump, whom she described as potentially severely ill. She said that is a legal right when mental symptoms prevent your seeking treatment on your own and is not some pernicious form of "Soviet psychiatry" as claimed by uninformed critics. "The person is not subject to this, this is a right from courts of law" to protect the person as well as the public at large. She noted that obviously Trump voluntarily submitting for an evaluation himself is the preferred route.

The Yale psychiatrist criticized Pelosi for not challenging Trump on his repeated "denials and projection," because coworkers have a legal right to report "dangerous" individuals in their workplace. But she said Pelosi's recent decision to withhold the articles of impeachment against Trump is exposing the president's underlying motives -- but risks making him even more dangerous to Americans as he sits atop the government.

Lee argued it is Trump's mental health, and not impeachment, which will be his ultimate undoing.

"As a coworker, [Pelosi] has the right to have him submit to an involuntary evaluation, but she has not," Lee earlier told Salon. "Anyone can call 911 to report someone who seems dangerous, and family members are the most typical ones to do so. But so can coworkers, and even passersby on the street. The law dictates who can determine right to treatment, or civil commitment, and in all 50 U.S. states this includes a psychiatrist."

"The advantage of a coworker starting this process is that a court can mandate a mental capacity evaluation before the dangerous person returns to work," Lee continued. "The committing physician is preferably the patient's treater, but does not have to be."

Lee told Salon this past week that Trump's letter to Pelosi, which accused her of trying to "steal" the upcoming November 2020 election, reveals the president is "highly unwell." The Yale psychiatrist and president of the World Mental Health Coalition is not the first critic to make this case. Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton's press secretary, Joe Lockhart, said Trump's "stupid" letter to Pelosi proved he is "freaking out."

"[Y]ou can tell how unwell [Trump] is by the degree he cannot deviate from his defenses: mainly, denial and projection. We often say he is 'doubling down.' A truly sick person will be unable to show any tolerance of ambiguity, doubt or flexibility in thinking. The letter, like his lengthy interviews or his chronic tweeting over years, is unable to show any variation from the characteristic rigidity of pathology," Lee said in comments to Salon.

Speaking with Newsweek Saturday, Lee noted that the main reason she would support the impeachment process is because it offers a check of power on someone who has come to "consider himself as basically immune to any limitation or punishment for wrongdoing -- which can then proceed into creating a dangerous situation for the American people."

She noted that it's easy for casual viewers of Trump's tweets and statements to become "hypnotized" by the powerful effects of his rhetoric. Lee said Trump and his aides understand "it is easy for people to get confused about what is reality." By "translating" his Pelosi letter, Lee said she hopes to convey how it reads more as a confession than as statements of fact.

"He was not telling [Pelosi] anything so much as telling himself and his 'base.' He senses better than anyone that she sees through his façade and knows he is incapable — his biggest fear," Lee continued, saying he is trying to avoid Pelosi and other "healthy" world leaders. "He prefers to associate with his 'kind': those who are too deprived to notice, the uneducated, other incapable 'leaders' such as dictators and those who successfully manipulate him."

Trump's psychological state of mind has been questioned since he took office, from George Conway to psychiatrists and mental health professionals.

Updated 6:15 PM ET, with additional comments from Lee provided to Newsweek.

pelosi trump mental health evaluation
President Donald Trump's deteriorating mental health is not being taken seriously enough by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he should be submitted for an "involuntary" psychiatric evaluation, a Yale psychiatrist warns. MARK WILSON / Staff/Getty Images