Real estate developer. Reality TV showman. Wannabe presidential candidate.
Donald Trump has now added another title to his resume: pseudo mental health pundit.
As Ed Mazza of The Huffington Post reported earlier today, the Donald tweeted on October 16, "I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama's mental health. Why won't he stop the flights. Psycho!"
Leave it to Trump to rally some of us behind President Obama at a time when the president's leadership has been a bit lacking.
First, a little history of the Trump-Obama feud.
Trump famously questioned whether or not President Obama was born in this country.
The Donald's needling annoyed President Obama sufficiently; the president ultimately released his birth certificate from Hawaii, proving that Obama was not in fact born in Kenya or Bethlehem, for those who believed that our president was the second coming.
The Donald also famously demanded that the president release his academic transcripts. While it may be the case that Obama did not excel at Occidental or Columbia, since he has never indicated that he graduated with honors from college, there is no denying that the president did indeed thrive at Harvard Law School, where he reportedly graduated Magna Cum Laude and served as president of the Harvard Law Review.
I have argued in the past that President Obama's lack of experience in the real world has hurt his presidency and that it would have been nice if his greatest achievement prior to his assuming his current role had been something outside of academia.
I stand by that assessment.
And I, too, have questioned the president's actions on many matters, from his decision to remove planned missile shields and interceptors from Poland and the Czech Republic, a decision that probably emboldened Putin and other enemies; to his failure to adhere to his "red-line" on chemical weapons use in Syria; and to his reliance on diplomacy and economic sanctions in handling Iran's development of nuclear weapons, an approach that has allowed Tehran to continue spinning centrifuges and perhaps to threaten the world.
Then there is the Ebola crisis, to which Trump recently alluded in his tweet. The Ebola crisis has sadly revealed how ill-prepared the CDC and some of our hospitals have been in training medical staff and establishing safe and consistent protocols. But the problem does not lie per se with President Obama's policy regarding flights to the U.S. from West Africa.
If we shut off direct flights from West Africa to the U.S., we may have that much more difficulty in trying to determine if passengers have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three countries at the epicenter of the crisis.
So is President Obama "psycho"?
Let us first determine whether Trump even understands the difference between "psychopath" and "psychotic," two words that, as I have discussed at length in the past, share six letters but otherwise have next to nothing in common.
Psychopaths are people who plan violent acts for which they show no remorse.
Does President Obama qualify as such a violent, evil man?
Not even Trump, who is old enough to remember the Hitchcock film bearing the word he tweeted, should believe that.
What about psychotics?
Psychotics are people who are divorced from reality, who in many cases experience hallucinations and/or delusions.
President Obama, as I have written before, may possess a naïve, almost absurd, belief that the law and diplomacy can settle everything.
In a world of evil and even "evildoers," a comical Bushism that nonetheless has some validity, President Obama should realize that the law, even backed with economic sanctions, cannot resolve every dispute, every conflict. Not when we are dealing with enemies as sinister as ISIS and as corrupt as Putin.
But President Obama is not psychotic. He is not hallucinating, and to the extent that he is a bit delusional, it is not even remotely at a clinical level.
I know this from my own experience as someone who endured two psychotic breaks in the late 1990s, a time when I feared that I would be assassinated and blamed for a series of crimes sweeping the nation.
I definitely was psychotic during that time.
Thankfully, our president has not suffered from any such psychosis, which has killed many beautiful human beings, including perhaps Robin Williams, whom I wrote about earlier this year.
Whether or not Robin Williams was clinically psychotic, he did battle substance abuse problems as well as severe depression.
He is not the only one.
Abraham Lincoln, whom President Obama reveres, experienced two major depressive episodes in his life and may have even attempted suicide by jumping out of a window, according to Joshua Wolf Shenk's book, Lincoln's Melancholy.
Winston Churchill, whom Trump may admire, grappled with major depression, which he dubbed his "Black Dog."
And King David, to whom John Kennedy and Bill Clinton among others have been compared, may have been psychotic when he wrote in the Psalms, "All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt. An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him."
No such evil disease cleaveth to President Obama. Instead, the world is plagued now with an evil virus that tragically has come to our shores.
But it does not help for Donald Trump to denigrate President Obama as a "psycho," nor does it help for Trump to malign those of us who have suffered from mental illness.
Trump might take the time to realize that some of the luminous figures in history have battled mental illness. And the planet has been enriched by them.