25th Amendment: No Perry Mason moment from Pence

(UPDATED) Don’t hold out for V.P. Pence admitting Pres. Trump is mentally unfit and invoking the 25th Amendment. The Perry Mason moment is a “thing,” in other words, it has a Wikipedia entry:

In court proceedings in the United States, a Perry Mason moment is said to have occurred whenever information is unexpectedly (to most present), and often dramatically, introduced into the record that changes the perception of the proceedings greatly and often influences the outcome. Often it takes the form of a witness’s answer to a question, but it can sometimes come in the form of new evidence. It takes its name from Perry Mason, a mid-20th century television series where such dramatic reversals occurred, often in the form of witnesses confessing to crimes others were accused of in response to the sudden exposure of an inconsistency in their alibi. Such moments were frequent in the radio series and the original novels by ErlE Stanley Gardner.

The breaking news is that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe said in an interview aired on Thursday that top Justice Department officials were so alarmed by President Trump’s decision to fire James B. Comey that they discussed whether to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office. These discussions occurred on May 16, 2017.

It is noteworthy that mental health professionals were beginning to come out publicly about their opinion that Trump was mentally unfit for office in the spring of 2017 before the Comey firing. In April a conference was held at Yale University (right) on the subject. Author Gail Sheehy, a presenter, wrote “At Yale, Psychiatrists Cite Their ‘Duty to Warn’ About an Unfit President.”

I published the following on April 21, 2017: Articles about Yale conference on Trump’s MENTAL FITNESS TO SERVE: Shrinks debate Duty to Warn.

The founder of the Duty to Warn movement, Dr. John Gartner, published this article in USA Today on May 4, 2017: “Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism is toxic.”

More than 53,000 people have signed our petition, aimed at mental health professionals, stating Trump should be removed under the 25th Amendment because he is too mentally ill to competently serve. At a conference on the Duty To Warn last month at Yale medical school, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton warned against creeping “malignant normality.” Under a malignantly narcissistic leader, alternate facts, conspiracy theories, racism, science denial and delegitimization of the press become not only acceptable but also the new normal. If we do not confront this evil, it will consume us.

Vice President Pence has been on the air denying that he knew anything about this, and besides he says how could the president who has accomplished so much for the good and great benefit to the nation and the world be mentally unfit for office? This is a belief which is in his head, a noggin which resides, well, use you imagination where his head resides.

Does anybody expect Vice President Pence to say anything different? After all he has rarely appeared in a photo standing behind Donald Trump without gazing at the back of the president’s head in a state of rapture as if he sees a halo floating in the air above his master’s head.

The simple fact is that even if Trump’s accomplishments matched his rhetoric, this wouldn’t preclude the possibility that he was psychologically unbalanced to the point of not being able to make rational decisions. Being rational is obviously a sine qua non for holding any position of grave responsibility, let alone being the president.

As much as we’d like to see the vice president have a Perry Mason moment when he’s confronted by irrefutable proof that the president was so psychologically impaired (whether he committed treason or not) that the 25th Amendment had to be brought into play it remains highly unlikely.

Even though invocation of the 25th Amendment would make Pence the acting president no matter how manifestly unfit even to the point of psychotic episodes the president becomes, the veep either literally worships the president or fears that the president, unable to ever fire him, would retaliate in some horrific way.

I could be wrong. But right now I’m not betting on Pence having a Perry Mason moment.

UPDATE; FEB. 15, 2019

Andrew McCabe’s latest revelations show how Trump is his own worst enemy

Excerpts (emphasis in bold and red for danger which I think are indicattive of Trump’s psychopathology added):

McCabe’s account adds further detail to a picture of a president who is his own worst enemy. Again and again, Trump’s narcissism and insecurity led him to put himself in more jeopardy than he was already in. Had he been able to control himself, he might have gotten away with a lot more………..


And at every step along the way, when any sensible person would have exercised care and restraint, Trump has acted like a guilty man, lying about everything, launching screeching attacks on anyone who’s critical of him and saying those who cooperate with prosecutors are “rats.” It’s no accident that both Comey and McCabe came away from their conversations with him thinking that he reminded them of a mob boss.

Of all Trump’s manifold character flaws, his bottomless need for validation and the unhinged way he reacts to criticism may be what gets him in the most trouble. Again and again we’ve seen that the targets of his pressure tactics and attacks, rather than backing off, become more convinced that they have to hold him accountable. And there are only so many people he can fire.


Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

O’Donnell and Scarborough get it: Trump is dangerous

It has taken far too long for the television antidote to Fox New, MSNBC, to recognize and explain how Donald Trump has a dangerous psychiatric disorder. I couldn’t keep counts of the times I heard hosts and guests say “I’m not a psychiatrist” and watch them roll their eyes as they tried to make sense of Trump’s behavior as if it was inexplicable.

His most unhinged behavior was always explainable. I am weary of Democrats saying, as a freshman member of Congress just did on MSNBC, Trump’s behavior is becoming increasingly bizarre and unstable.” You merely have to understand the basics of abnormal psychology that these words describe psychopathology.

On MSNBC’s “The Last Word” Wednesday night host Lawrence O’Donnell began with

In his first public speech of the new year the president of the United States revealed that the 27 psychiatrists and mental health professionals who co-authored the book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ were right, that Donald Trump’s condition is obviously getting worse.

Now all of us in middle age and above find us spending more and more time looking for our keys. There is some neurological decline is absolutely inevitable over time but Donald Trump’s is dramatic.

If you thought that his pathological lying could not become more pathological or that he could not become more delusional you were wrong. The mental health professionals who told us he would are right.

Lawrence O’Donnell was the first MSNBC host to recognize that Trump had a dangerous psychiatric disorder. Last year in February he interviewed clinical psychologist Dr. John D. Gartner, the founder of the Duty to Warn group of mental health professionals advocating for removal of Trump under the 25th Amendment.

UPDATE: In recent months Joe Scarborough has been questioning Trump’s mental fitness, with the latest coming on Thursday when he brought this up on Morning Joe:

“There would be people going up to the White House this morning saying, ‘Mr. President, questions abound whether you were fit for this office. If this continues, we are going to ask your Cabinet to take a vote on whether you were fit for office and invoke the 25th Amendment….

This is a man who obviously is not fit to hold the office, and we’ve known that for a very long time. But he keeps giving a preponderance of evidence to those members of the House and the Senate that will carry that vote. He is not fit, he is not acting fit, and he is pushing foreign policy initiatives that are actually going to do grave damage to this country, our national security and embolden and strengthen our enemy.”

Nearly two years ago one of the first mental health professionals to warn about the dangerousness of Donald Trump because of his psychopathology was clinical psychologist John D. Gartner. Over two years ago he started an online petition Mental Health Professionals Declare Trump is Mentally Ill And Must Be Removed which eventually had over 70,000 signatures. He has had numerous articles published and has been interviewed in many publications.

O’Donnell interviewed Gartner along with psychiatrist Lance Dodes, MD. in February. (Watch video here)

In October, 2017 O’Donnell interviewed the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.DIV. who appeared along with Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.” (Watch video here

When Rachel Maddow and other MSNBC hosts expressed puzzlement over Trump’s erratic and seemingly irrational words and decisions, O’Donnell consistently explained his behavior as being attributable to his having a severe psychiatric disorder.

Fox News managed to find someone to dispute the claim that Trump isn’t mentally fit to be president. The person they found, Gina Loudon whose book jacket proclaims that she’s ‘America’s favorite psychological expert.’ An article in the Daily Beast revealed the truth: “Trump Adviser Gina Loudon’s Book Claims She Has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She Doesn’t.”

In fact, anyone with mental health credentials who has gone public claiming that Trump is psychologically unimpaired and fit to be president is an outlier in the profession. While there are technical professional disputes as to whether he fits one or another diagnostic category or ethically should be given a diagnosis, I can’t find a single reputable mental health professional who says he is mentally stable.

Lawrence O’Donnell deserves kudos for grasping this early. Hopefully he can educate his MSNBC colleagues who still haven’t figured it out. I am tired of all the head scratching when Trump behaves in a way that can only easily explained by reading “Psychology for Dummies.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t give equal credit to former psychotherapist, popular progressive radio host, and author Thom Hartmann who often talks about whether Trump is up to the presidency, and whether he is temperamentally and psychologically unfit to be president, and that he should be removed under the 25th Amendment (video). 


Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Trump’s tweets show an angry reptilian brain, Obama’s show humanity, humor

Trump and Obama’s Tweets

Trump, ignoring what any rational person would see as threats to their employment status, to put it mildly (check out the odds of him making it through his first term), once again went berserk on Twitter this morning focusing mostly on the border wall.

This morning:

1. Fake News has it purposely wrong. Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position. Why wouldn’t someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington. Please report news correctly. Thank you!

2. Very productive conversations going on with China! Watch for some important announcements!

3. Great job by Michael Anton on @FoxandFriends. A true National Security expert!

4 ….People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!
5 …. I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built…
6….however, for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security. They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large-scale crime and disease. Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way…….
7…..Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border. A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution. We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new. The Democrats,…..
8 Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries…….

As it happens, most of these Tweets about the wall are lies, whether he has 10 actual qualified applicants for the chief of staff position is doubtful, and I doubt conversations with China will be productive for anyone besides China.

President Obama had one recent Tweet and it is already two days old. You can watch his video here if you are ready for fond memories of pre-Trump Christmas and Chanukkah seasons.

Barack Obama’s Dec. 10, 2018 Tweet and video

Here’s a president having a serious and calm, yet wryly humorous chat with his 104 million Twitter followers. Take that Donald Trump with your 56.2 million followers.

The “reptile brain” is shorthand for the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response. Trump’s reptile brain seems wired to fight, and to fight using any available means including venom, and never to flee. It could be said that a snake, even a cobra, fighting a mongoose would be well advised to flee.

“The mongoose is incredible, blurringly swift and is capable of dodging the strikes of the also very swift cobra, but the mongoose also possesses something called acetylcholine receptors which make it , not fully immune, but relatively tolerant of cobra venom. When it makes its move, the mongoose leaps, teeth bared, directly for the head of the snake. If the mongoose grabs the snake correctly it will kill it by biting right into its skull.” Reference

We know that Trump’s mongoose is named Mueller.

Trump’s reptile brain doesn’t seem to have a connection to his rational brain, the cognitive brain which enables most people to consider the longer term consequences of impulsive actions. In this day and age, Tweets are actions. Legal experts think some of them may end up as evidence of obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

Trump’s reptile brain doesn’t seem to have circuitry to enable it to connect to whatever part of the brain is capable of empathy. In fact it is difficult to find examples of Trump showing any other feelings besides anger, self-glorification, and boredom since he’s been president.

There has been reporting in the past two days that he “felt humiliated” when Nick Ayers turned down the chief of staff job; however I doubt this is true. True, he was humiliated. However, I don’t think he actually felt the feelings of humiliation (shame and embarrassment) someone who isn’t a malignant narcissist would feel.

In fact, Trump has been repeatedly humiliated, as an online search for Trump and humiliation shows. 

You’d never know it from his Tweets.


Dr. John Gartner, PhD, founder of the Duty to Warn group of psychotherapists (disclaimer: I was one of the first members) who have been warning about Trump having psychological problems making him unfit for two years, and co-author Rachel Montgomery, saved me the work of selecting a sample of Trump’s most revealing hostile Tweets, abet from last year, in this excerpt from their 2017 book “All I Ever Wanted to Know about Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets.”