Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) has proposed a bill calling for President Donald Trump to undergo both a physical and a mental health examination to determine whether he’s sufficiently able to perform his duties as commander-in-chief.
The text of the bill, which was introduced Friday, doesn’t say it would “force” Trump to undergo a psychological evaluation, but would instead urge Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration to “quickly secure the services of medical and psychological psychiatric professionals to examine the president and to assist in their deliberations under the 25th Amendment.”
The possibility of Pence and the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office has become something of a fixation for a handful of Democrats and progressives who have questioned the president’s mental health. The amendment, which was adopted in 1967, enables the vice president and the cabinet majority to declare the president unfit to serve, thus forcing a congressional vote to determine whether or not he’d be allowed to stay in office.
California congresswoman calls for Trump to get a mental exam to determine whether he should be removed from office https://t.co/mGvsvI47Rn
— Casey Tolan (@caseytolan) August 18, 2017
The question of analyzing and questioning Trump’s mental health from afar has been controversial and contentious one among health professionals. Since the presidential election of 1964—when Fact magazine ran its now-infamous article polling psychiatrists regarding the mental health of then-Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater—it’s been considered unethical for psychiatrists to publicly assess the mental conditions of public figures they have not personally examined.
Despite that fact, a number of experts have weighed in regarding Trump’s mental well-being. In April, a critical conference on Trump’s mental state was held at Yale. Just two months earlier, in February, Dr. Allen Frances, the professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times criticizing his colleagues for analyzing Trump from afar. He did indulge his own assessment, however, denying that Trump suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.
It’s worth noting that the odds of Lofgren’s resolution passing are next to nil. The Republicans currently hold the majority in the House, as well as a two-seat majority in the Senate, which means it would require a serious flood of GOP defectors for the bill to pass both chambers. Also, the bill is specifically worded to “urge” Pence and the cabinet to take this course of action, but would not require it.