A Yale University psychiatrist who practically made a career out of diagnosing President Donald Trump as dangerously mentally ill from afar has been fired for being in gross violation of the “Goldwater Rule.” Dr. Bandy X. Lee is no obscure doctor since for the past four years she has made frequent appearances on MSNBC and CNN shows as well as being prominently written up with a favorable slant in such periodicals as the New Yorker and the Washington Post.
Her lawsuit against was written up Friday by Mihir Zavery in The New York Times. The breaking point was Alan Dershowitz responded to charges of his association with Jeffrey Epstein by saying he had a “perfect sex life” with his wife:
In January 2020, she compared Mr. Dershowitz’s wording with Mr. Trump’s own prominent use of the word “perfect,” suggesting in a tweet that it could reflect a “shared psychosis” through which Mr. Dershowitz had taken on what she said was Mr. Trump’s “grandiosity and delusional-level impunity.”
Days later, Mr. Dershowitz complained in an email to Yale, saying that Dr. Lee had violated ethics rules by offering a public diagnosis without examining him.
The Times noted that Yale spokesperson Karen Peart said Dr. Lee was a “voluntary faculty member” in the medical school and received a faculty affiliation in exchange for up to four hours of teaching per week. Voluntary faculty are not tenured professors, so when the contract expired, that was it.
Claiming Alan Dershowitz, along with almost all Trump supporters, had “wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion” was going too far, as was reported in Tuesday’s Yale Daily News:
According to court documents, after Dershowitz sent his letter on Jan. 11, chair of the Psychiatry Department John Krystal MED ’84 warned Lee via an email that the department “would be compelled to ‘terminate [her] teaching role’” if she continued to make similar public statements. She continued to tweet about the mental fitness of Trump even after Krystal’s warning. Lee then met with Krystal and additional unnamed faculty members and was told that she “breached psychiatric ethics,” according to an email excerpt in the filing. According to court documents, Yale refused to hold additional discussions or investigate the accusations further. On May 17, 2020, Lee was notified that she was terminated. She appealed the decision multiple times in August and September, to no avail.
Krystal wrote to Lee in a Sept. 4 letter included in the court filing that the department’s main consideration in the termination was her “clinical judgement and professionalism” after she publicly stated her “diagnostic impressions” of Trump and other public figures. Krystal emphasized in the letter that the termination “was not because of the political content” of her statements.
“Although the committee does not doubt that you are acting on the basis of your personal moral code,” the letter read, “your repeated violations of the APA’s Goldwater Rule and your inappropriate transfer of the duty to warn from the treatment setting to national politics raised significant doubts about your understanding of crucial ethical and legal principles in psychiatry.”
The American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule states that it is unethical for psychiatrists to comment on a public figure’s mental faculties in an official capacity unless granted permission or after a medical examination.
It’s like the Goldwater Rule was written with completely irresponsible psychiatrists such as publicity hound Bandy X. Lee in mind.