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Noah Feldman

Trump's Judgment Is Debatable. His Sanity Is Not.

Calling the president "mentally unstable" just kills the political debate we should be having.
Name-calling doesn't belong here.

Name-calling doesn't belong here.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The claim that President Donald Trump is mentally unwell has a particular valence in today’s charged political environment. It isn’t supposed to sound like a partisan criticism. It’s supposed to sound like an objective statement of medical fact.

That’s especially true when it’s uttered by mental-health professionals, as in the recent collection of essays “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” But it’s also true when the allegations come from civil society, as in the pro-impeachment ad paid for by billionaire Tom Steyer, which calls Trump “mentally unstable.” And it’s even true when the assessment comes from politicians like Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who used the “unstable” line in hearings last week on the president’s power to wage nuclear war.