Culleton: Trump showing signs of mental illness

When a member of one's family shows increasing signs of mental illness it is a sad day for all concerned. When a national leader shows signs of intermittent mental illness it is not only sad for the family but also dangerous for the nation.

The British people faced such a tragedy at the time of the American Revolution when King George III fell mentally ill. Some historians attribute this illness to a hereditary factor that rendered him vulnerable to a disease called porphyria. Previously he had been a charming and effective monarch.


In that primitive time they treated him by strapping him in a chair. Today, we have better ways of treating afflicted people.

Many of us have had to put up with an ungracious relative or an unpleasant coworker. We learn to accept their shortcomings. But when their behavior worsens over time it gets our attention

Two men, Donny Deutsch and Donald Trump respectively, have been friends for a long time. Deutsch did not vote for his friend, Trump, but he congratulated him on his victory.

Recently, Deutsch, the former host of the CNBC show “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” has noted with some alarm the deterioration of his friend's mental state. He suggests that it is time to consider seriously exercising the 25th Amendment and removing the ill president from office before irreversible damage is done to the nation.

This is not a political issue. His acting successor would be Republican Vice President Michael Pence. Pence has a long record of political conservatism as a member of Congress, as governor of Indiana, and currently as vice president. His accession to the presidency would not be a victory for liberalism but rather salvation for the conservative majority.

Time is of the essence. Removal via the 25th Amendment requires action by the vice president and by a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments. Or the Congress can establish another body by law to make this decision.

If and when the president recovers from his illness, the Congress can vote to restore him to his office. Recovery is not likely, however.

We need to face up to his illness. He can't.

For those who voted for President Trump, and still admire him, removal by constitutional action for illness is better than a humiliating defeat at the polls in the next election after he has left a trail of destruction in his wake. An even worse fate would be an impeachment trial based on the Russian connection he is so anxious to cover up. His staff has suggested that the president cannot be tried for obstruction of justice. That would leave impeachment by Congress the only way to remove him from office. If this occurs he would leave under a cloud of shame.

If his ham-fisted treatment of the North Korean threat leads to nuclear war, his term and many thousands of lives will end under a mushroom cloud.

There are other issues beyond President Trump's future. There is a possible recession. There is the reality of our declining status in the world due in part to his abandonment and/or insulting of our faithful allies, from Great Britain to the valiant Kurdish forces. The current tax cut for the rich and tax increase for about half the middle class could, over time, cost the Republicans their majority in the Senate and damage if not destroy the Republican majority in the House. Climate change is likely the long-range threat to not just the United States but all the human race. We are the sole nation not supporting the Paris Climate Accord.

In this time we need wise and careful leadership. We don't have it now.

Keep an eye on the senatorial election in Alabama on Dec. 12. That may be a predictor of what happens in next year's midterm elections.