The two most vocal psychiatrists leading a Donald Trump-inspired charge to change a 44-year-old rule barring those in their profession from diagnosing public figures from afar donate heavily to Democratic Party causes.
Lance Dodes and John Zinner told the Los Angeles Times last week that the special circumstances of the Donald Trump presidency demand a revocation of the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule, established as a result of psychiatrists using their professional credentials to attack the credibility of the 1964 Republican Party presidential nominee, that currently prohibits such medical evaluations by remote. The Times identified the pair just as psychiatrists without noting their public record of donating to such groups as MoveOn.org and ActBlue, as well as a who’s-who of the Democratic Party.
A Breitbart News search of various political transparency websites shows a lengthy history of gifts large and small by Dodes and Zinner exclusively to liberal candidates and causes.
Zinner generously donated to the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and contributed at least twice to MoveOn.org, according to a Breitbart News search of OpenSecrets.org. FollowTheMoney.org details gifts by Zinner to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and to Ted Strickland’s failed Ohio gubernatorial bid in 2010.
A similar search of OpenSecrets.org revealed that Dodes awarded liberal political groups a series of relatively small gifts, including seven donations in 2016 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. FollowTheMoney.org showed $275 in donations to Senator Al Franken’s winning 2014 reelection bid in Minnesota, $465 to Elizabeth Warren’s successful 2012 run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, $260 to Senator Sherrod Brown’s victorious 2012 reelection in Ohio, and $50 to Deval Patrick’s triumphant effort to win a second term as governor of Massachusetts in 2010.
The pair spoke as professionals rather than partisans to the Los Angeles Times and other outlets. Dodes even insisted to U.S. News and World Report (which did not report his politics), “This has nothing to do with politics.”
Instead, Dodes has characterized his stance as prioritizing broad concerns regarding national security over the narrow concerns of his professional group.
“He has an antisocial personality disorder,” the Los Angeles psychiatrist told his hometown paper about Trump. “This is not difficult to diagnose. … It’s clear to see.”
In February, Dodes served as the lead signatory of a letter to the New York Times by 35 mental-health professionals calling for the end of the so-called Goldwater Rule.
“Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions,” the letter to the editor noted. “His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists)…. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”
Zinner, a professor at George Washington University’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, similarly argued that circumstances obligate psychiatrists to speak out. He told the Los Angeles Times, “People are afraid he could create havoc due to his impulsiveness.”
Last month, he took an even more strident tone.
“It’s my view that Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder,” Zinner explained to The New Yorker, which also failed to note his public record as a partisan. “Trump is deluded and compulsive. He has no conscience.”