speculation about President Donald Trump's mental status is "very
dangerous," and the 25th Amendment was not made to be invoked when
parties don't agree about a president's "emotional makeup," Harvard Law
professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Monday.
"I have railed against the criminalization of political difference," Dershowitz told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.
psychiatrist-ization of political difference is much more dangerous.
It's what they did in Russia, it's what they did in China, it's what
they did in an apartheid South Africa. If you don't like a candidate,
first lock them up. If you can't lock him up, commit him to a mental
Yale Professor Bandy Lee earlier this month briefed
several congressional Democrats and one Republican earlier this month
over her concerns over the president's mental state, and Dershowitz said
her comments that he is dangerous and may need to be restrained from
action are in themselves dangerous.
"Imagine how dangerous that would be, and you know, psychiatrists are notoriously bad at predicting violence," said Dershowitz.
what they are looking at are things they knew about since he was
elected president," Dershowitz added. "I didn't like what I saw
necessarily so I did what you do in a democracy, you vote for the
candidate you prefer, I preferred Hillary Clinton. I knew about her, I
knew about him. I made a balanced judgment. You don't lock them up. You
don't put them in mental hospitals if you don't agree with them. So
dangerous to democracy."
Meanwhile, the 25th Amendment is designed to be used to remove a president who is incapacitated.
is designed for when somebody has a stroke or somebody is unconscious,
perhaps what happened when President [Woodrow] Wilson was president,"
said Dershowitz. "He had a serious stroke. It's not designed for
differences about a person's emotional makeup."
Dershowitz said that politically, the 25th Amendment likely would not be
invoked as the vice president would have to do that, and if the
president disputed the matter, then it would have to be voted for by two
thirds of both houses of congress.
"It would happen only if any
president, I'm not talking about a particular one, had a major psychotic
break," said Dershowitz. "Look, we once had a secretary of defense his
name is [James] Forrestal, he jumped out of the window of the Walter
Reed Center. He thought the communists were coming after him."
by the way, one of the things [Lee] talks about that's a symptom of his
mental illness is that he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel," said Dershowitz. "So did the majority of the Senate and
majority of the House and so did I support that. Am I getting locked up
Dershowitz on Monday also talked about the importance of allowing dissent on college campuses.
aren't enough college professors who stand up for the right of
dissent," he said. "The students are doing it. They are doing a great
job. They are not getting the support of the faculty or administrators."
The way to solve the issue is to fight back, Dershowitz added, while blaming college administrators for the unrest.
will tell you it's the administrators who don't have the courage to
stand up to these students because they know these students could make
their lives miserable," he said.