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A Psychological Portrait of President Trump


A Psychological Portrait of President Trump

César Chelala

Last October, before he was elected President of the U.S., I, among others, put forward the hypothesis that Mr. Donald Trump was a narcissist. I based my interpretation on the fact that he fulfilled practically all the criteria included in the classification of narcissism established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in many countries all over the world.


I think even many people who voted for Trump recognized that he was psychologically unfit to be president. But probably they voted for him anyway for a variety of reasons including that there was finally a candidate speaking for white people, he wanted to shake up Washington (whatever that means). he promised to bring back factory jobs and coal mining and increase fracking and oi dirlling, he took on political correctness, etc.


I think the Goldwater Rule should be extended to apply to everyone citing medical credentials. Concerned as I am about the behavior of the man gilding the Oval Office, I find it hugely inappropriate for those identifying themselves as “Dr.” to offer diagnoses from no more information than I have. The DSM is primarily a coding manual for medical insurance. Using it to pick public labels to apply to public persons is inappropriate and unethical. There is nothing to be gained by this kind of article.


Is there anyway that Trump could be given a psychiatric evaluation and be told he is mentally, incompetent to be a president of the U.S.?

I have spoken with Trump supporters to find out why they voted for him and the most common answer that I have heard, is that some of his supporters even though they acknowledge Trump may be mentally unstable say:" but he is not a politician; he is a business man". One even told me as long as the stock market keeps going up, it does not matter to him!


So what is the primary diagnostic manual for mental illness used professionally in the USA?


We can all speculate about Trump until the cows come home.

I know that I am in a dwindling minority, but I am still convinced that Trump never actually intended to become president. It was all a publicity stunt that got out of hand. I think that along with way, especially after it looked like he would win the Republican nomination, it evolved into a scheme to start a Trump media empire, as he was hoping to use a populist message to pick up many disaffected FOX viewers as that network was making a move toward becoming mainstream, but he still didn’t expect or want to become president.

I believe he was the most shocked man in America when he actually won. He had just been engaging in simplistic demagoguery that appealed to so many of the common folk, more than he ever expected, because the political system in Washington is far more broken than he or than the corporate MSM imagined and because his opponent was extremely flawed.

He never studied or developed his message beyond the simple demagoguery. That could be explained by: (1) he is dumb as a stump; (2) he is completely insane; or (3) he never really wanted or expected to have the job.

As for (1), this man conned a great many sophisticated people out of a great amount of money over the years, with very complex and intricate business schemes. Though he is inarticulate, he is far from stupid.

As for (2), again, he has had four failed business out of over a hundred he started, and he has four very solid adult kids, not to mention he ran this successful campaign as a novice, which all argues that he is fairly solid mentally.

That leaves us with (3), that he never actually wanted the job, which makes sense. He’s a very wealthy bon vivant who enjoys conning people out of their money and spending his own money in his free time. He is no Hitler with a secret maniacal obsession to reshape his country and the world at all costs. He is probably about as far from there as any political leader anywhere in the world today.

I do agree with the author of the article and many others that Trump is a narcissist, but I suspect that virtually everyone who runs for president is one also, so that doesn’t tell us much. But Trump is also a bit thin-skinned and is overly competitive, which tells me that the best way to turn this buffoonish bon vivant into some kind of maniacal Hitler-like monster is to constantly criticize him for everything he does. It was a fluke that he became president, but it will be the result of extreme recklessness and obtuseness by his political opponents if he evolves into a monstrous fiend.


I’m not a psychiatrist either, but I doubt many of them delve into the DSM to come up with a diagnosis or treatment plan. It’s the nature of our medical system (the focus on insurance rather than care) that dictates the use of the DSM.


Gave you the <3 for the basic idea, but you missed the backing by the radical apocalypticist religious right. They threw in behind him at the price of Pence as his running mate and then transition manager. I’m convinced their expectation was that he would create chaos to nudge God on to launching the Rapture (and he’s doing a great job of it, again with Pence’s help), and failing that, should djt get tired of the game, impeached, or assassinated, Pence will have control of the nuclear option to help God along. Remember Pat Robertson? His mistake was to say it out loud that he was God’s little helper. Romney was too smart for that, but too many voters were still rational. Apocalyptic is, I think, the greatest threat to the world today.


This is an ignoratio elenchi (red herring) fallacy. And of course, when it comes to mental instability questions, the first person I would ask is an attorney congressperson with an agenda and no medical credentials whatsoever.


As someone who commuted until December with a Christian fundamentalist, I can say my commuting partner didn’t like Trump at all, but was in it for the Court appointment. “Life” issues were a big concern and he felt Pence and Republicans in Congress would ensure a pro-life appointment. He called it right.

Frankly, I respect the big picture view I’ve seen all my life by folks on the right. The Left constantly factionalizes, checks out, and infights (Yunzer linked to an article about Pacifica Radio for a prime example). The Right has its infighting too, but its voters always show up in the end. As awful as Trump was, they were willing to set aside their differences recognizing that the Court was way bigger than a single presidential election. To talk about the Court here at CD prior to the election was just pushing “fear voting.” Oh well.


I doubt that lots of people who are out of work worried primarily about the court. Even if it is irrational, the last person in office is often blamed if the economy does not stack in their favor.


I’ve seen it closest up in the GLBT battles in a mainline Protestant church. We on the Left used to marvel at the “strategic thinking” and discipline of the Right, but you just couldn’t tell the eco-focused to put the Earth aside until we got GLBT rights. It’s not really factionalism and infighting, but passion and what we in the church call “calling.”


I don’t disagree, but I also think right-wing church goers are pretty big on the Court. Hell, that’s pretty much all my commuting partner knew about politics. I worked at a Christian Bookstore at one point in my life, and trust me, there’s more than enough literature on evil secularists taking over government to fill a bookshelf. It’s pretty much indoctrinated in conservative churches.

I should add, both my former commuting partner and I work in an industry that could be affected pretty negatively by Trump. It made no difference. Life issues held sway.


Add to that the legacy of the Chicago boys and what Naomi Klein so explicitly refers to as ‘disaster capitalism’. The long range lens doesn’t even need to be tinted much less ground with the religious establishment. Though the latter, simply through hierarchical pounding, is after the fact not infrequently coaxed like lithium grease onto the purchased blocs to get things to slide into place.


Trump and his family are not happy people. Sad.


Not being a psychiatrist I’ll offer a lay person’s definition: Trump is a Kafkaesk experience meeting a Woody Allen Nightmare.


That’s right. An unsolicited media diagnosis is unprofessional. We get them here at CD all the time. The analysis produced behind the screen, whether it be T.V. or computer, is seldom accurate. T.V. or internet personas often differ markedly from the individual you would meet in person.

On the other hand, a shrink has got a lot of captured footage of Donald in action, and can make educated guesses about what makes him tick. I would submit that most politicians are narcissists. I would further submit that most Billionaires are as well. It’s the nature of the beast.

Is there any way to eliminate both?

America did not start out with a President. No such office existed. I submit we get rid of the inherently narcissistic position. In 1776-1789 we had no President, but instead had a 2000 member Congress that actually represented the people fairly. The office of the President did not show up until 1789 against the advice of Benjamin Franklin, who thought we should have a council of equal Elders instead.


I’m afraid I disagree and sorry to be so blunt, but…

First of all, Trump, as our President, is a public figure and we are all affected by his mental condition. Second, as a public figure, he’s fair game. Third, as concerned citizens, we are all looking for help to understand what we are dealing with. Fourth, I’m not sure the DSM is purely a coding manual. Fifth, even if the DSM is purely a coding manual, if reference to it helps the public understand Trump better so be it. Sixth, there is nothing unethical here; no one is prescribing medical treatment for Trump. The only “treatment” that could come from this is invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment, both of which are political remedies, not medical ones.

Our society is in deep trouble with this man in office. We are all at risk of death and injury – both economic and physical. If armchair DSM diagnoses can, by animating the political process, help bring Trump under control or get rid of him, so be it. Limiting ourselves to some self-imposed constraint on account of the DSM’s proclaimed purposes and limitations, or the ethical constraints applicable to medical providers, is irrelevant and potentially dangerous.


No one is “fair game” for armchair psychiatric diagnoses for the amusement of the public. That’s what the Goldwater Rule is about, but that hasn’t stopped nonpsychiatrists like Dr. Chelala. And please note, I said “primarily,” not “purely.”


Fair enough. But this isn’t armchair amusement. This is deadly serious and, in my view, the public interest far outweighs any arguments against it.