A panel of mental health experts convened by Tom Steyer Monday night said Donald Trump’s mental health may be a threat to the United States, as the Democratic activist pushes forward his effort to impeach the president.
Steyer founded Need to Impeach, an organization that has pressed for Trump’s impeachment. His group has gathered contact information for millions of activists, leading to speculation about the California billionaire’s political ambitions.
A White House physician last month gave Trump a clean bill of health and said he performed well on a cognitive exam. Still, the five mental health experts gathered by Steyer in Washington expressed concerns about Trump’s access to nuclear weapons.
Steven Buser, a former Air Force physician and panelist who signed onto a letter earlier this year urging the president’s physician to evaluate his neurological health, said he would not want Trump to have the ability to launch U.S. weapons without a psychological evaluation.
"That brings us to the great irony of the situation that the entire military chain of command are all held to the highest degree of emotional and psychological stability except one man, the president of the United States, the very person who has his finger on a nuclear button," Buser said.
Trump on Monday said he hoped the U.S. would never have to use its nuclear weapons, but he said he planned to keep upgrading them until other countries stopped building their own arsenals.
“We’re modernizing and creating a brand new nuclear force. And, frankly, we have to do because others are doing it. If they stop, we’ll stop. But, they’re not stopping,” the president said. “Hopefully we’ll never have to use it, and hopefully we can reduce it in the years ahead, and that depends really on what other people are going to be doing.”
The panelists also discussed the so-called Goldwater Rule, which says it’s “unethical” for psychiatrists to give their professional opinion without an examination.
One of the panelists, psychologist and author John D. Gartner, said those rules couldn’t apply anymore: “When you see the rise of an autocrat, silence is a sin, Goldwater be damned.”