The Trump Mental Health Pandemic:

Bandy X. Lee
2 min readDec 28, 2021

A blow-by-blow account of how mental health experts warned about what would happen — that Donald Trump’s coup attempts would not stop but could overturn democracy — and went unheeded

On December 6, 2021, Barton Gellman published a remarkable article in the Atlantic by the title: “Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun: January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.” The below consists of quotes from that article, cited here with permission, and an item-by-item description of how mental health experts warned, long ago, about what could happen, why, and how to confront the problem that has gotten out of hand today.

Technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup. It will rely on subversion more than violence, although each will have its place. If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.

Mental health experts had been warning since 2017 that the newly-elect president’s psychological limitations would place the nation’s democracy in jeopardy. The fragility of his self-concept could not permit equality, and therefore his use of his presidential powers to impose authoritarianism was only a matter of time. This same fragility also could not allow for any winner other than himself and, having had the taste of power, swelled in its expectations.

[Awaiting author’s permission for full publication.]

Bandy X. Lee

Forensic psychiatrist, violence expert, president of the World Mental Health Coalition (, and editor of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”