It’s hard to say where it started, but Joy Behar of “The View” joined the fray on Thursday, asking “Dr. Phil” McGraw, who plays a psychologist on TV, whether he thought Donald Trump was mentally fit to serve as president:
Therapists, a lot of respected psychologists out there, really big time really big names, are saying that Donald Trump is showing signs of narcissism. Which by the way, one of the symptoms is preoccupied with the fantasies of unlimited power, success and brilliance and they’re questioning that he has narcissistic disorder. Number one, do you think that’s a mental illness, narcissism, and if so is he fit to be president?
Coming on the heels of eight years of arguably the most egotistical man ever to occupy the Oval Office, the question is as inane as it is funny. Then again, later in the interview, Behar actually says, “You can’t just look at President Obama and say he has narcissistic disorder,” which suggests maybe she’s the one suffering from a mental deficiency.
What Behar didn’t invoke but which has come up elsewhere in the media in recent days is the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Section 4 of which outlines procedures for the removal of a president judged to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The section, which is the only clause in the amendment never to be invoked, reads:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Here’s self-styled neoconservative David Frum:
Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Article 4. We’re all going to be talking a lot more about it in the months ahead.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 16, 2016
Frum also has some advice for the president himself:
Pro tip: when meeting w the people who have the power to remove you under the 25th amendment, try not to say anything glaringly insane https://t.co/64hUBFAK38
— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 24, 2017
Then there’s “resistance” leader Keith Olbermann, who sizes Trump up thus:
For my money, he’s nuts — couldn’t pass a sanity test, open book. But of course, Section Four of the 25th Amendment here does not say “nuts,” or impaired, or erratic or unbalanced or unhealthy or bipolar or narcissist or sociopath or psychopath. It only says “that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
This is all wishful thinking, of course. But it’s more pernicious than just that. It is entertainers who are clearly out of their depth, engaging in foolish fantasies out loud and in front of a camera. The concern here is not the Behars and Olbermanns so much as it is the highly impressionable, low-information types who tune in to them that present a palpable risk.
Bear in mind that free speech is free only up to the point of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded auditorium.