The Goldwater rule was created after the left attacked Barry Goldwater (the Republican Presidential Candidate of 1964). Fact magazine published an article, "The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater" that polled leftist psychologists on whether Barry Goldwater was fit to be president, their their political bias (or professional opinions biased by politics) as facts in a libelous ad that stated 1,189 psychiatrists agree that Goldwater is unfit to be President. Goldwater sued the publishers and won. The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics (Section 7) since added that it is unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures whom they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements. But that didn't stop NeverTrumpers from doing the same thing to Trump.
To show how low the left is willing to go:
- 2016 and 2017 - a number of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists faced criticism for violating the Goldwater rule, as they claimed that Donald Trump displayed "an assortment of personality problems, including grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and 'malignant narcissism'", and that he has a "dangerous mental illness", despite having never examined him.
- 2017.02 - Allen Frances wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, regarding Trump and narcissistic personality disorder: "I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them." According to the American Psychiatric Association, "saying that a person does not have an illness is also a professional opinion." Of course it is easier to see if a person doesn't fit the criteria than if they do.
- 2017.04 - John Gartner, a practicing psychologist, and the leader of the group Duty to Warn, stated that: "We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump's dangerous mental illness."
- 2017.04 - Bandy X. Lee, a rabid anti-Trumper and Psychiatrist accused the Goldwater Rule of becoming a "gag rule", and raged about how she should be free to opine on Trump, who she had never met, diagnosed, nor had his consent to comment on. Then she went on to cash in by editing a book titled, "The dangerous case of Donald Trump: 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts assess a president", which was full or political bias induced slander/libel against Trump. It of course went nowhere, since Psychiatry isn't a hard science, and the opinions of psychiatrists are about as consistent as those of politicians. Especially ones will to sacrifice their medical ethics for politics.
- 2017.06.06 - The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), a different organization from the APA, sent a letter that highlighted differences between the APA and APsaA ethical guidelines, stating that "The American Psychiatric Association's ethical stance on the Goldwater Rule applies to its members only. APsaA does not consider political commentary by its individual members an ethical matter." In other words, you're free to violate professional ethics for Donald Trump visa vis the Goldwater Rule
- 2017.07, the website Stat published an article (by Sharon Begley), "Psychiatry Group Tells Members They Can Defy 'Goldwater Rule' and Comment on Trump's Mental Health".
- Yahoo News reporter Michael Walsh criticized the Stat article, saying it was "misleading" by stating that the letter "represents the first significant crack": The American Psychiatric Association retains the Goldwater rule, and the APsaA never had the rule and was not changing. Also, even though the APsaA has no Goldwater rule for its members, its Executive Councilors unanimously endorsed a policy that "the APsaA as an organization will speak to issues only, not about specific political figures".
- 2017.09 - Jeffrey A. Lieberman published an article extensively speculating on diagnoses for Donald Trump despite claiming to adhere to the Goldwater Rule in the beginning paragraph. He arrived at a diagnosis of "incipient dementia" but faced no sanctions.
- 2019.12.05 - a group of mental health professionals led by Yale Medical School professor Bandy X. Lee, George Washington University professor John Zinner, and former CIA profiler Jerrold Post, publicly urged the House Judiciary Committee to consider Donald Trump’s “dangerous” mental state that was ostensibly arising from his “brittle sense of self-worth” as part of the Congressional impeachment ongoing process.