Actor Alec Baldwin not only plays Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” He also plays a psychiatrist in his own mind.
These credentials permit him to render keen diagnoses like this one, which he recently shared on Twitter:
I’ve seen a few ppl in my lifetime who were pre-nuts, but had a lot of $ to conceal/distract.
Overtime, they went full blown.
That’s Trump. The President of the US has a degenerative mental illness that is costing 1000’s of lives.
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) May 1, 2020
“Pre-nuts?” That must be the term mental health experts like Baldwin use to describe the stage of mental illness right before they declare a patient “loco.”
A search of the internet suggests there is no such thing as a “degenerative mental illness.” There are degenerative brain diseases and neurological disorders, but they fall outside the realm of mental health disorders. Yet to Dr. Baldwin, they apparently run together. In April 2019 he used the term neurologically impaired to describe the president, who, he insisted, was living in a fantasy world “like the set of ‘The Apprentice.’”
It is fascinating to watch Baldwin play amateur shrink since he himself grapples with real emotional health issues. In January 2019, for example, he was accused of punching a man near his Greenwich Village home for “stealing ” the parking space Baldwin planned to pull his car into. Baldwin denied the news reports, though he ultimately pleaded guilty and agreed to take anger management classes.
In principle, Baldwin’s fantasies about Donald Trump are no different from those of mental health professionals like Yale University Psychiatry Professor Brandy X. Lee, who in 2018 diagnosed the president as “emotionally unstable” even though she had never met or spoken directly with him. This was a breech of the American Psychiatric Association’a “Goldwater rule,” which states that psychiatrists should not diagnose public figures from a distance.
The only difference between Baldwin and Lee is that she is supposed to know better and is, therefore, that much more dangerous when she bandies about diagnoses of non-patients.