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Rep. Ted Lieu to Introduce Bill Requiring a Psychiatrist in White House

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Dozens of mental health professionals recently wrote a letter warning that President Trump is displaying “grave emotional instability.” Now, one lawmaker has introduced a new piece of legislation that would require a psychiatrist in the White House. For more, we speak with that lawmaker: California Democratic Congressmember Ted Lieu.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Lieu, you are introducing legislation that would require a psychiatrist in the White House. Can you explain what you’re doing?

REP. TED LIEU: Sure. So, we’re looking at legislation. And let me just tell you the context for this. In 1928, Congress passed a law requiring that doctors be at the White House, because Congress concluded that presidents are human beings, and like all human beings, we have our own frailties. Because of how people viewed mental health at the time, there was no psychiatrist or psychologist that was required. In the 21st century, we know that mental health is just as important as physical health, so it seemed to make sense that the White House should also have a psychiatrist or a psychologist available. I am not the first to bring this up. Republican Chairman Jason Chaffetz told The Washington Post earlier this year that he thought the president should have an independent mental health exam. And I also know that in 2015 the National Defense Authorization Act, which was supported by over 300 members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, required incoming military recruits to get a mental health exam. Keep in mind, the president is also the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, and he can launch 4,000 nuclear weapons in a matter of minutes. So that’s what we’re looking at.

AMY GOODMAN: What makes you particularly concerned about President Trump’s mental health?

REP. TED LIEU: Well, there is a structural issue, where I believe that the demands of the presidency have increased significantly, especially since the advent of nuclear weapons, and the president should have the best treatment available. In terms of this bill, we’re trying to see if this is the best way to go about it. Clearly, to me, when you have a president that lies pathologically, that believes in alternative facts, it suggests to me there is a problem. I don’t know the extent of that problem. I don’t know what the best solution is. But I do think that this issue should be raised. And so I raised the issue. It is a bipartisan issue. And we’re trying to get more information and to see what’s a good next step.

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