Democrats to introduce ‘stable genius act’ making presidential candidates undergo mental health test

The move comes after Donald Trump's tweet referring to himself as a 'stable genius' 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 09 January 2018 19:48
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Democrats have introduced a new bill requiring presidential candidates to take a mental health exam after US President Donald Trump's tweet calling himself a 'stable genius'
Democrats have introduced a new bill requiring presidential candidates to take a mental health exam after US President Donald Trump's tweet calling himself a 'stable genius'

A House Democrat is introducing a bill called the "Stable Genius Act" that would require presidential candidates to take a mental health exam after President Donald Trump's tweet referring to himself as a "stable genius".

Mr Trump's tweet just ahead of Michael Wolff's tell-all book Fire and Fury: Inside the White House hit shelves in which he wrote that White House staff consistently questioned the President's mental stability.

The act would make it mandatory for anyone running for the highest office in the country to submit a report to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) "certifying that he or she has undergone medical examination by the medical office under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Navy."

Candidates already undergo, and release the results of, physical medical examinations while on the campaign trail. Mr Trump never released his during the 2016 election save for a letter from his doctor saying he was in good health.

Representative Brendan Boyle is the bill's sponsor and said in a statement that "before voting for the highest office in the land, Americans have a right to know whether an individual has the physical and mental fitness to serve as President."

Mr Boyle said he does not believe Mr Trump's tweeted claim, adding that Mr Trump's "reckless, erratic behaviour has exposed a critical flaw in our existing election process."

“I consider it a work of fiction," Mr Trump said about the book and then referred to Mr Wolff as "a total loser" in a tweet.

Mr Wolff gathered the reporting in the book by spending time with the transition team and at the White House over 18 months with the freedom to record conversations.

He conducted 200 interviews including Mr Trump and took, according to him, “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” to do so

Donald Trump says Michael Wolff is a fraud denying the contents of book Fire and Fury

Fire and Fury went on sale days earlier than planned and publishers are rushing to print more copies in order to meet high demands.

Several in Washington have speculated on the President's mental health since his time on the campaign trail, but trained mental health professionals have officially refused to do so.

Given the public outcry however, American Psychiatric Association President Susan H. McDaniel, PhD released a statement during the campaign: "Our Code of Ethics clearly warns psychologists against diagnosing any person, including public figures, whom they have not personally examined."

In February 2017 though, 35 psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers - some of them retired - signed a letter to the editors of the New York Times expressing their concern over Mr Trump’s “profound inability to empathise.”

They wrote people with this trait “distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them.”

The bill is being introduced in a wholly Republican-controlled Congress and given the stalling or failure of previously-introduced measures to begin impeachment proceedings, it is unlikely to pass.

However, rumours of possible 2020 bids for the White House continue. Mr Trump launched a re-election committee within weeks of taking office in January 2017. Other rumours of former Vice President Joe Biden and even media mogul Oprah Winfrey in light of her recent speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony have swirled as well.

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