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Presidents should have to pass psychological screening

Feb 27

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Many Americans have scrutinized the psychological and emotional health of former President Donald Trump, yet the highest executive office in the nation still does not require any tests affirming psychological wellness. Employees at far lower levels of government are subjected to these evaluations and required to pass them before taking their oaths. And while right-leaning writers attack President Biden’s cognitive acumen, they shy away from applying any similar scrutiny to his Republican predecessor.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette observes the absurdity of this situation, and then asserts that Donald Trump suffers from deep, destabilizing psychological issues which should be disqualifying for the highest office. Navarrette argues that Americans should choose presidents who are psychologically stable, emotionally mature, and who can be trusted with U.S. security, and that Donald Trump fits none of those criteria.

To become a police officer, one needs to take and pass a psychological exam that evaluates one’s mental fitness for a law enforcement career. If an otherwise qualified candidate has any psychological hang-ups or a problematic temperament, we need to know that before he or she gets handed a badge and a firearm.

Likewise, there should be a psych evaluation for those who want to become commander in chief. If a candidate for president has any psychological hang-ups, or a problematic temperament, or any personal insecurities or microaggressions, we need to know that before he or she gets access to the nuclear codes.

That’s the conversation that Americans should be having in the march up to the 2024 presidential election. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the memory of presidential candidates or their cognitive ability. But what we should really talk about and worry about and seek to evaluate early and often is a candidate’s psychological makeup. And if there were such a test, we can be sure one thing: Donald Trump would flunk it. There are not enough couches in this country to let Trump sort out all of his mental hang-ups.

To become a police officer, one needs to take and pass a psychological exam that evaluates one’s mental fitness for law enforcement career. If an otherwise-qualified candidate has any psychological hang ups or a problematic temperament, we need to know that before he or she gets handed a badge and a firearm.

 

Likewise, there should be a psych evaluation for those who want to become commander in chief. If a candidate for president has any psychological hang ups, or a problematic temperament, or any personal insecurities or micro-aggressions, we need to know that before he or she gets access to the nuclear codes.

 

That’s the conversation that Americans should be having in the march up to the 2024 presidential election. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the memory of presidential candidates or their cognitive ability. But what we should really talk about and worry about and seek to evaluate early and often is a candidate’s psychological makeup. And if there were such a test, we can be sure one thing: Donald Trump would flunk it.

 

There are not enough couches in this country to let Trump sort out all of his mental hang ups. One of the biggest won’t go away. It keeps resurfacing again and again at inopportune moments. And it’s made worse because Trump crassly puts it on display. If God forbid Trump is reelected, you can bet that the American people will see more and more of it in the years to come. And given that the president is also the commander in chief, that is that he or she literally commands our country’s armed forces, this particular hang up that plagues Trump is even more troubling. In fact, I’d call it disqualifying.

 

You see, the 77-year-old real estate mogul is a Baby Boomer, and like most boomers, the experience of coming of age in 1960s really weirded him out and twisted him up. In Trump’s case, he used his father’s wealth and political connections to weasel his way out of serving in the military in the late 1960s, something that would have brought with it the likelihood of serving in Vietnam. As such, he appears to have, for most of his life, harbored a resentment, the jealousy, outright contempt for men and women who do serve in the military.

 

It flared up again recently, when Trump took a swipe at Michael Haley, the husband of his only remaining opponent for the GOP nomination, Nikki Haley. Trump tried to make an issue of Michael’s absence on the campaign trail. It was like Where’s Waldo, but instead for Trump, it was like, hey, where’s Michael? Well, unlike Melania Trump, who has been MIA during her husband’s current presidential bid, Michael has a good excuse. He’s in the military, and he’s deployed abroad.

 

Now, Trump has gone so far as to suggest that Michael leave his deployment to join his wife on the campaign trail. It harkens back to Trump’s swipe during the 2016 election at Senator John McCain, a former Navy pilot who did serve in Vietnam, and who spent five and a half years as a POW at the Hanoi Hilton, because he refused to be released early since his father was an admiral. It reminds one of what Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly, himself a retired military general, a Marine general who lost a son in combat, has said about how Trump expressed disdain for veterans and those who died in war, seeing him as “suckers and fools” who wasted their lives. It brings to mind how Trump used to brag, with nothing to back it up, both as a candidate for president and then again after being sworn into office, about how he “knew more than the generals” about how to run foreign policy and fight wars. What’s wrong with Trump when it comes to the military? My sense is a lot. Can it be fixed? My guess is probably not.

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