Media, Dems Attack Kanye West Over Mental Health Issues

Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor

Members of the media and a Democratic member of Congress are attacking Kanye West for his reported mental health issues as the superstar rapper embraces President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Kanye said over the summer that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but claimed in an Oval Office meeting with Trump on Thursday that he was misdiagnosed. (RELATED: Kanye Overcome With Love, Hugs Trump In Oval Office)

“I wasn’t actually bipolar; I had sleep deprivation, which can cause dementia 10-to-20 years from now when I wouldn’t even remember my son’s name,” Kanye said.

Anchors and guests on CNN and MSNBC have argued that Kanye’s mental health issues are a reason not to take him seriously and have suggested that his support for Trump is a side effect of his diagnoses.

MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle said shortly after Kanye’s Oval Office visit that the White House is taking advantage of his mental illness.

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“This is someone who actually sat there and said, ‘I have been diagnosed bipolar, which, if we’re going to address mental health issues, let’s please do that,” Ruhle said. “Let’s not exploit someone in a position like that because it is unclear what his message or his goal was at all there.”

CNN’s SE Cupp made a similar argument on Thursday, calling the entire Kanye-Trump meeting “sad.”

“All jokes aside, I thought that was really sad,” Cupp said. “I think you had there a man who’s clearly not okay, and a president who’s willing to exploit that.”

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“Worse, to exploit that under the auspices of race relations and black communities, joblessness, mental health — all the things that ended up in this bucket of issues,” Cupp declared. “I don’t know that any of them were very well served by this circus.”

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier added her own voice to the pile of critics, saying on CNN that she felt like she was sitting in on a “psychiatric visit.”

“I would suggest that the president should maybe curtail these types of engagements,” the California Democrat asserted.

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On Tuesday night, a CNN panel led by Don Lemon brought up Kanye’s mental health in an effort to discredit him. (RELATED: CNN Panel Calls Kanye West A ‘Token Negro,’ Mocks Mental Health Issues)

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“This is ridiculous, and no one should be taking Kanye West seriously. He clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized,” CNN contributor Tara Setmayer said. “Not to trivialize mental health issues, but obviously Kanye has taken a turn in a very strange way.”

Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live,” who has been open about his own struggles with mental health, told Kanye that his issues are not an excuse to “act like a jackass.”

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“Kanye, I know you’re like, ‘This is the real me. I’m off the meds’ … Take ’em. No shame in the medicine game. I’m on them. It’s great. Take them. There’s nothing wrong with taking them,” Davidson said as the audience laughed.

People have further speculated about Kanye’s mental condition on Twitter.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported Thursday that mental health professionals are speaking out against CNN for stigmatizing Kanye’s hospitalization for mental health issues.

“Mental health professionals, particularly those who specialize in the effects of social stigma on individuals with mental illness, have told The Intercept that the kinds of comments aired by CNN often prevent patients from seeking the treatment they need due to the shame associated with these conditions,” Greenwald reported.

Psychology Professor Patrick Corrigan, for example, said Setmayer’s comments are “troubling, even if one does not like Donald Trump or his constituency.”

“It tries to minimize someone’s opinion, not because of the spirit of the message but because mental illness is some kind of slur against one’s character,” Corrigan explained.

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