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Trump and the Goldwater Rule: When is it OK to voice a professional opinion about the mental health of the president?

 (AP file photo)
(AP file photo)

Since Donald Trump became president, commentary about his public statements, tweeting habits, predilections and even his personality have become something of a national pastime.

Some in the professional psychiatric community have been moved to join in, offering their own expert analysis on why the president says what he says and does what he does.

But should they? Not according to the American Psychiatric Assn., which years ago adopted a rule for its 37,000 licensed members against offering a public opinion about the mental health or general psychological makeup of a public figure.

It’s known as the Goldwater Rule, and in the era of President Trump, it’s suddenly the subject of vigorous discussion — most recently at an association meeting last month in San Diego.

So what exactly is the Goldwater Rule?

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