Just a short time ago, the idea of an Ivy League psychiatrist privately meeting with members of Congress to convince them that the president is mentally unstable would have been the stuff of crazed conspiracy theories. But that's exactly what Bandy Lee has been doing since early December.
As Politico first reported, Lee, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, briefed roughly a dozen Democratic lawmakers last month on the president’s mental state, which she describes as “dangerous.” Now, more meetings are in the works, and congressional staffers tell me that additional members of Congress are interested in attending.
The fact that so many lawmakers want to hear from Lee may suggest growing interest in removing Trump from office; Lee argues in the briefings that he should undergo a capacity evaluation to assess his fitness for duty. (The Atlantic’s James Hamblin has made a similar argument.) But lawmakers’ interest is notable, even radical, for another reason as well: In defiance of the American Psychiatric Association’s ethical guidelines, Lee is relaying her analysis of the president’s mental health without having ever examined him.
In the wake of Politico’s report, the APA issued a statement reiterating its objection to such public statements by physicians. “We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable-news appearances, books, or in social media,” it read in part. “Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.”