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Psychiatrist to CNN's Stelter: Trump 'may be responsible for many more million deaths' than Hitler, Stalin, Mao

The former chairman of psychiatry at Duke University said Sunday during an interview with CNN's Brian Stelter that President Trump may be responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. 

"Calling Trump crazy hides the fact that we're crazy for having elected him and even crazier for allowing his crazy policies to persist," Allen Frances, the author of "Twilight of American Sanity," said on CNN's "Reliable Sources." "Trump is as destructive a person in this century as Hitler, Stalin and Mao were in the last century. He may be responsible for many more million deaths than they were. He needs to be contained, but he needs to be contained by attacking his policies, not his person."

The comments from Frances came during a panel discussion on CNN about Trump's mental fitness and whether psychiatrists should be allowed to weigh in publicly on the subject. 

Frances voiced opposition to the practice, saying that doing so can have "dire consequences."

"The first is that it stigmatizes the mentally ill. I've known thousands of patients. Almost all of them have been well-behaved, well-mannered, good people. Trump is none of these," he said. "Lumping the mentally ill with Trump is a terrible insult to the mentally ill, and they have enough problems and stigma as it is."

He then went on to compare Trump to leaders such as Hitler, Mao and Stalin. Hitler and his Nazi regime were responsible for approximately 11 million deaths, including the deaths of about 6 million Jews throughout Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. 

Historians estimate that about 20 million people were killed under Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1952. Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward campaign to transform the Chinese economy in 1957 led to between 20 and 45 million deaths, according to estimates.

Frances's comparison drew heavy pushback, with many questioning on social media why Stelter did not immediately confront the psychiatrist about the claim. 

"The only thing 'Reliable' about Stelter is that he is reliably a leftwing hack," Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, said on Twitter. 

Stelter said on Twitter that he should have interrupted Frances following that statement but that he hadn't heard it due to technical difficulties. 

"Not hearing the comment is my fault," he said. 

Frances has been openly critical of Trump throughout his presidency. After Trump suggested mental illness played a factor in mass shootings, Frances tweeted that it was a "dirty trick to distract" from the evil posed by the National Rifle Association and the GOP. 

He's also tweeted is Trump was one of the main individuals responsible for America's decline. 

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