If you have the nuclear codes, you should also have a therapist
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It’s 2017. By now, taking care of our mental well-being should be as commonplace as getting an annual physical or a teeth cleaning. Democratic Representative Ted Lieu agrees. On Tuesday, Lieu suggested U.S. presidents in particular should prioritize their mental health, telling the Huffington Post, “I’m 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 way to get the president treatment?”
Of course, he’s not just talking about any president. Congressman Lieu plans to introduce legislation as early as next week that would put a full-time psychiatrist on staff at the White House, primarily to address the needs of President Donald Trump. Despite what many conservatives might rush to assume, this wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. In 1928, Congress passed legislation to have a doctor on staff at the White House, but it made no mention of psychiatry, thanks to the cultural sigma surrounding mental health at the time. Fast-forward nearly 100 years, and we have a president launching 3 a.m. tweets about nuclear weapons and “EASY D.” In reference to Trump, Lieu told the Huffington Post,
“It is not normal for the president of the United States, within 24 hours, to write about death and destruction and fake news and evil. 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 jobs or health care. They talked about crowd size. And then lied about it. It’s one of the most bizarre events I’ve witnessed in politics. …
When you add on top of that his stifling 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. That’s why I’ve concluded he is a danger to the republic.”
Trump’s erratic, dangerous behavior withstanding, it’s a good idea to require mental health assessments of all politicians. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed support for Lieu’s bill, and Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who also chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) recently told The Washington Post he’d consider legislation enforcing mental health examinations on current and future presidents. Considering the president should set an example for the entire country, this law seems long overdue.