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Psychiatrists warn Trump becoming more mentally unstable, putting US, world at 'extreme risk'

  • A Yale psychiatrist says President Donald Trump has become increasingly mentally unstable in the past week.
  • Dr. Bandy Lee says Trump's behavior puts the U.S. and the rest of the world at "extreme risk of danger."
  • Lee points out a series of tweets by Trump, his use of a racial slur against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and his reported questioning of whether a tape of him boasting of groping women is fake.

A Yale University psychiatrist is warning that President Donald Trump has become increasingly mentally unstable in recent days, imperiling the United States and the rest of the word.

Dr. Bandy Lee's stark alarm, published Friday in a letter to The New York Times, calls for the public and lawmakers to demand a psychological examination of Trump.

It comes on the heels of Trump retweeting violent videos from a far-right group in the United Kingdom, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as "Pocohantas" during a White House event honoring Navajo Indian heroesof World War II, and a Times story that said the president has suggested an "Access Hollywood" tape of him talking about groping women may have been fake, despite his prior admission it was real.

"He's losing touch with reality," Lee told CNBC.

Then presidential-candidate Donald Trump mocking a New York Times reporter during a rally in South Carolina in 2015.
NBC
Then presidential-candidate Donald Trump mocking a New York Times reporter during a rally in South Carolina in 2015.

Lee, the editor of the book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President," said in her letter to the Times that "thousands" of mental health professionals are deeply worried about Trump's state of mind.

They have formed a group called the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts, whose website is Dangerouscase.org.

"All agree that he's dangerous," Lee told CNBC.

In her letter to the Times, Lee wrote: "We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability — in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behavior, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping."

"These characteristics place our country and the world at extreme risk of danger."

"Ordinarily, we carry out a routine process for treating people who are dangerous: containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation," Lee wrote.

"We have been unable to do so because of Mr. Trump's status as president. But the power of the presidency and the type of arsenal he has access to should raise greater alarm, not less."

"We urge the public and the lawmakers of this country to push for an urgent evaluation of the president, for which we are in the process of developing a separate but independent expert panel, capable of meeting and carrying out all medical standards of care."

Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division.
Source: Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division.
Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division.

Lee told CNBC said that when she organized a conference in April at the Yale School of Medicine on the ethical rules of discussing Trump's mental health "I received death threats."

But since then, she said, she has seen increasing support from people in the mental health community, as well as the public.

"When we put this book together seven months ago, people probably thought we were outlandish, and a little extreme," Lee said. "But within that time, the public caught on and [nearly] everything that we predicted in the book came true."

Lee said the book's writers predicted that Trump's "condition was far worse than what we were seeing" in early 2017.

Citing ethical rules, Lee would not say how she would diagnose Trump, based solely on his public comments and demeanor. But she said that based on his behavior, he seems to be reacting adversely to the stress of an ongoing criminal probe of his presidential campaign's contacts with Russia, saber-rattling by North Korea, and his decreasing popularity among the public.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment by CNBC on Lee's comments.