Apparently, neither Joy Behar of “The View” nor Mary Trump, the niece of President Donald Trump, has heard of the Goldwater Rule.
The text of the rule from the American Psychiatric Association: “On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”
The rule came about after the 1964 election in which mental health professionals said Republican presidential candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona was suffering from “chronic psychosis” and a “megalomaniacal, grandiose omnipotence.” He was diagnosed from afar as a “paranoid schizophrenic who decompensates from time to time” and was compared to Mao Zedong by one psychiatrist and to “Hitler, Castro, Stalin, and other known schizophrenic leaders” by another.
Mary Trump is only a psychologist (as well as a Democrat donor who was open about her contempt for her uncle long before he ran for president), but I would presume she’s familiar with the APA’s Goldwater Rule.
She’s also enjoyed only a fractious relationship with Donald Trump over the past few decades, and most of her contact with him seems to be mediated through second- or third-hand family information and media coverage. Thus, she’s not in a position to diagnose the president, something I would hope Behar would know. (This is a somewhat dodgier proposition, I admit.)
Whatever the case, the co-host of “The View” asked for a diagnosis when Mary Trump appeared on the ABC show Thursday morning — and the president’s niece was all too happy to oblige, saying that “he has serious psychological disorders.”
While Mary Trump’s 15 minutes of fame seemed to run out in real time, she got her money’s worth out of it. According to The Guardian, her Donald Trump tell-all, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” sold over 1.3 million in its first week.
It’s still No. 178 on Amazon’s charts. To be fair, that’s behind a motivational book by Kathie Lee Gifford (No. 32), a children’s Christmas book by late-night host Jimmy Fallon (No. 53), the “2021 Pooping Pooches” gift calendar (No. 55) and “Freddie the Farting Snowman” (No. 95), which is a sign that most of us have moved on.
To that end, her publisher announced a new book just a few days ago, one that “will examine America’s national trauma, rooted in our history but dramatically exacerbated by the impact of current events and the Trump administration’s corrupt and immoral policies.”
The hosts of “The View” preferred talking about her uncle as opposed to our national trauma, however.
Here’s Behar: “You’re a shrink, and I have a shrink question for you,” she asked Mary Trump. “I know you haven’t had him on the couch, but in your opinion, is the guy crazy? Is he crazy?”
“Well, that’s a really technical term. So not entirely sure how to answer the question,” the president’s niece responded, and then proceeded to answer the question.
“He has serious psychological disorders — which, you know, wouldn’t have been of any interest to us if he had no power and if he didn’t have the ability to inflict pain on other people,” she said.
“The biggest problem for us now is because of those undiagnosed and untreated disorders and his appalling lack of empathy, I — you know, people are dying unnecessarily every day. Children were stripped from their parents and incarcerated for no reason. So, you know, the horrors that he’s inflicted upon us with, again, the permission and enabling of the GOP, makes the fact that he is, as you say, crazy, all of our problems.”
“That’s right, that’s right,” Behar said.
Now, whatever familial insight Mary Trump might have into her uncle is tempered by the fact the two have only had a relationship through lawyers and courts since she and her brother sued over their grandfather’s will back in 2000. That’s not even delving into the conflict of interest here.
But never mind, because the hosts of “The View” wanted her to suss out how delusional she thought her uncle was.
Host Sunny Hostin asked whether she thought the president, who is engaged in a legal fight over the results of the November election, “really believes he won this and is being cheated out of something, or is something else going on?”
Mary Trump said her uncle would be “taking a wrecking ball to the United States government” to keep from admitting he was the loser.
Asked by Hostin whether the president was “remain a vocal force in the political world” or whether he was “going to want to cash in on all of this” after leaving office, Mary Trump said her uncle would “absolutely will try to maintain control because that will give him — continue to give him some measure of power.
“I don’t — I think he’s much more likely to pursue something in the media, though. That way he can have the spotlight trained on him at all times and just narrow his focus to his most fanatical followers.”
This was a fairly softball interview, and not only because it was “The View.” It was also “The View” without its first-string Republican.
When Mary Trump first appeared on the show in July, Meghan McCain, currently on maternity leave, was on the panel. In an interview that was some of the best television all summer, McCain dismissed the book to Mary Trump’s face, calling it “a great way for you to get a paycheck right now.”
“I certainly have extended family who I don’t interact with, or certainly only interact with at funerals and things like that,” McCain said. “So, I don’t think people like that would know the inner workings of my immediate family dynamic in the way that you present it.”
And that’s Meghan McCain — no friend of the president or his family, in case you needed that pointed out — talking. This time, the only thing keeping the segment from peak sycophancy was MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace as a guest panelist to tell Mary Trump how she was “chicken soup for my soul.”
It’s not as if there weren’t other venues for Mary Trump to opine about her uncle’s mental health absent the necessary information to do so. In a July appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” the host asked her whether the president had the same “sociopathic tendencies” as his father.
“Donald has so many pathologies and they’re so complex,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, she added that it was “difficult to tease out exactly what’s going on without testing.”
But again, let her tease it out. “Clearly he doesn’t seem to be interested in empathy. So I think it’s safe to say, sure, he demonstrates sociopathic tendencies,” she continued. “That’s something that should give every person in this country pause.”
At least he isn’t Barry Goldwater. That poor Mao-like “paranoid schizophrenic who decompensates from time to time” had “chronic psychosis” and a “megalomaniacal, grandiose omnipotence” about him.
Or maybe it’s just that both were Republicans who were deeply unpopular with the mainstream media. That too.
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