WASHINGTON A Democratic congressman is introducing legislation as soon as next week that would require a psychiatrist at the White House, something he says is overdue but also urgent dedicated his and other people concerns about President Donald Trumps mental health.
Rep. Ted Lieu( D-Calif .) told Tuesday that the president, any president, should have access to a mental health professional given the pressures of the job. Congress passed a law in 1928 involving a physician at the White House, but stopped short of involving a psychiatrist because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
Im looking at it from the perspective of, if there are questions about the mental health of the president of the United States, what may be the best route to get the president treatment? Lieu said in an interview with The Huffington Post. Were now in the 21 st century. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
But he isnt just thinking about future chairpeople. Lieu said hes been increasingly alarmed by Trumps erratic behaviour and penchant for lying about things, big and small, that are easy to disprove.
It is not normal for the president of the United States, within 24 hours, to write about demise and destruction and fake news and evil, he told. The most troubling aspect of this is it is very clear he has a disconnection from the truth. The very first press conference he had in this administration, they could have talked about undertakings or health care. They talked about crowd sizing. And then lied about it. Its one of the most bizarre events Ive witnessed in politics.
Since being sworn in as president, Trump has lied about matters more serious than the size of his crowds. He falsely claimed 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the election. He falsely suggested other countries besides Russia may have been behind the cyberattacks during the election. He falsely accused the mediaof not reporting on widely covered terrorist attacks.
Lieu said hes not a doctor, but many people like him are worried about the presidents pattern of behavior.
His disconnection from the truth is unbelievably disturbing, he told. When you add on top of that his dampen of dissent, his attacks on the free press and his attacks on the legitimacy of judiciary, that then takes us down the road toward authoritarianism. Thats why Ive concluded he is a danger to the republic.
A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Some of Trumps critics were citing his mental health as cause for concern before he became president and have said its grounds for removing him from office. The 25 th Amendment to the Constitution states that a president may be removed by a two-thirds vote of Congress if members of the executive branch deem him unable to discharge his duties.
That provision has never been used to depose a president, though when Howard Baker Jr. became President Ronald Reagans chief of staff, hewas warned that he may need to invoke it , dedicated Reagans deteriorating health. Baker ultimately decided it was unnecessary.
Ive concluded he is a danger to the republic. Rep. Ted Lieu( D-Calif .) on President Donald Trump
A handful of other lawmakers besides Lieu have hinted that Trump should get a mental health evaluation. Rep. Jason Chaffetz( R-Utah ), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told The Washington Post in January that he was considering introducing legislation to require chairpeople to undergo an independent medical exam, including for mental health.Heemphasized he wasnt suggesting Trump was unwell, but told, If youre going to have your hands on the nuclear codes, you should probably know what kind of mental state youre in.
An aide to Chaffetz told HuffPost last week the bill would apply to presidential candidates in the future.( Trump has already filed for re-election .)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi( D-Calif .) said last week that she would support legislation involving Trump to take a mental health exam. Rep. Maxine Waters( D-Calif .) took it a step further at a Monday press conference, suggesting Trump is on track to getting himself impeached. We cannot continue to have a President whos acting in this manner. Its dangerous to the United States of America, she said.
Pelosi, who was also at the press event, had to walk that back a bit. Impeachment will only be an issue for Trump when and if he transgresses the law, she said.
Lieu said hell reach out to colleagues to co-sponsor his bill as soon as its out and has his eye on at least one Republican who may be on board. Hes already the sponsor of another bill, along with Sen. Ed Markey( D-Mass .), that would restrict the president from launching a first nuclear ten-strike without Congress first voting to declare war. He previously introduced that bill last fall.
Right now, the president, with one order, can launch 4,000 nuclear weapons. The nuclear winter would destroy the United States, he told. We cannot imagine the framers would have allowed this situation to be in place.
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