Harvard Psychologist Says Donald Trump's Claims About Destroying Turkey's Economy Would 'Normally Trigger a Mental Health Hold'

A Harvard psychologist questioned President Donald Trump's mental health after the U.S. leader's claim to have unmatched wisdom and his threat to destroy Turkey's economy.

Trump made the comments amid bipartisan criticism of his military withdrawal from Syria, paving the way for Turkey to invade and attack the armed Kurdish groups that the U.S. had allied with against the Islamic State terror outfit. Turkey views Kurdish fighters as terrorists.

As well as the apparent betrayal of the Kurds, these armed groups hold many Islamic State fighters and members as prisoners. A Turkish assault on Kurdish-held areas could result in the release or escape of Islamic State militants, putting security at risk.

The president tweeted on Monday: "As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)."

Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, said he found the tweet concerning from a mental health point of view, and suggested it might be grounds for triggering his involuntary detention under psychiatric care.

"Am I the only psychologist who finds this claim and this threat truly alarming? Wouldn't these normally trigger a mental health hold? Right and Left must set aside politics and agree that there is a serious problem here," Gilbert wrote on Twitter.

Dr. Matthew Liebman, a New York psychologist, agreed, tweeting: "You are not. I sit here not only alarmed, but dismayed at the inaction toward @POTUS's truly evident pathology and its dangerousness given his position in our society. It cannot go unaddressed and should not be ignored."

It follows a lengthy article in The Atlantic by George Conway, an attorney and former Republican who is married to senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, detailing the evidence that Trump is mentally unfit to hold his office.

"Simply put, Trump's ingrained and extreme behavioral characteristics make it impossible for him to carry out the duties of the presidency in the way the Constitution requires," Conway wrote.

"The question is whether he can possibly act as a public fiduciary for the nation's highest public trust...Given that Trump displays the extreme behavioral characteristics of a pathological narcissist, a sociopath, or a malignant narcissist—take your pick—it's clear that he can't."

In August, the former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said that Trump is "losing it, mentally."

"He has declining mental faculties; he's becoming more petulant; he's becoming more impetuous. Okay, you see just by the way he's sweating, his body's not doing well," Scaramucci told Vanity Fair.

Last year, Bandy Lee, a Yale psychiatrist, told Newsweek that a longtime Trump family friend approached her with concerns about the president's well-being. She also said two officials from the administration did the same.

Lee wrote in a piece for The Conversation that Trump displayed "psychological symptoms reflective of emotional compulsion, impulsivity, poor concentration, narcissism and recklessness."

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US President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House October 7, 2019, in Washington, DC. A Harvard psychologist questioned Trump's mental health. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images