Trump's Mental Disorder-It's Time The Media Investigates

06/07/2016 12:33 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2017

We are wringing our hands and cringing each day every time Donald Trump makes an utterance. The most recent is his doubling down on making the heritage of federal U.S. District Court judge Gonzalo Curiel (born in Indiana) the basis to find him unfit to further preside over the fraud lawsuit against Trump's Trump University in San Diego. Of course, now Trump tells us that this is not being racist, but those in the media covering the story are. Speaker Paul Ryan today, among other Republicans, now disagrees, calling Trump's utterances about Judge Curiel's heritage the textbook definition of being a racist. Then, Trumps gets on a conference call yesterday (unusual for a presidential candidate) with his surrogates and belittles his own staff's dissemination of information. These actions, of course, are just further symptoms of a mental infirmity from which he cannot escape and upon which he cannot be elected---though the media has yet to figure it out.

No major media outlet (cable or otherwise) has addressed the reality of Trump having a mental condition that makes him unfit for president. It was, though, eloquently and most exquisitely addressed by author and novelist Richard North Patterson last week in Huff Post's politics section in his blog, "Too Sick To Lead: The Lethal Personality Disorder of Donald Trump". Another worthy piece is one by Professor Dan McAdams of Northwestern University, "The Mind of Donald Trump" that was published in The Atlantic. Though published after this post first went into print, the latest are Dan Dale's "Is Donald Trump OK? Erratic behavior raises mental health questions", and Tom Boggioni's, "Donald Trump's recent 'erratic behavior' has medical professionals questioning his mental health".

Because it is so important, some of Patterson's observations bear repeating in this post. He states, for example,

"There is only one organizing principle which makes sense of his [Trump's] wildly oscillating utterance and behavior-the clinical definition of narcissistic personality disorder.

The Mayo Clinic describes it as 'a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.' This is bad enough in selecting a spouse or a friend. But when applied to a prospective president, the symptoms are disqualifying."

He then scrolls off symptoms of this disorder: (1) an exaggerated sense of self-importance; (2) an unwarranted belief in one's own superiority; (3) a preoccupation with fantasies of one's own success, power and brilliance; (4) a craving for constant admiration; (5) a consuming sense of entitlement; (6) an expectation of special favors and unquestioning compliance; (7) a penchant for exploiting or disparaging others; (8) a total inability to recognize the needs of anyone else; (9) an unreasoning fury at people you perceive as thwarting your wishes or desires; (10) a tendency to act on impulse; (11) a need to always be right; (12) a belief one is above the rules; (13) a superficial charm deployed to disguise a gift for manipulation; (14) an array of inconsistent statements and behaviors driven by one's needs of the moment; (15) an inability to assess the consequences of one's actions in new or complex situations; (16) the visceral reflex to humiliate and degrade anyone who displeases you, no matter the context or situation; and, in sum (17) a total incapacity to separate the world from one's own psychodrama. Remind you of someone? The central theme to Trump's warped psychology (according to Patterson) is his belief that "filling the presidency requires nothing but the wonder of himself". The closest this writer ever came to such diagnoses was having a major in psychology in college, but these conditions surely seem spot on in explaining Trump's deficiencies.

But as dangerous is Trump's mentality for the presidency, equally disturbing is, to repeat, why the media has yet to focus attention on his disorder; it instead focuses on his supposed strategies or tactics to explain away his conduct and behavior, and, in so doing, provides him with all the attention he needs and craves. The media cajoles and chuckles over his behavior instead of trying to unravel its underpinnings; puzzles over his racist, misogynistic, demagogic and homophobic conduct instead of providing readers and listeners with an underlying psychological condition that provides an explanation from which he, himself, cannot escape and for which he could never be the leader of the free world.

The principal media outlets have become nothing but chumps at the voters' expense if it believes Trump's behavior in psychological terms is off limits or a forbidden topic. Given the totally preposterous verbiage that spews forth from Trump daily---again like the media being racist, criticizing with abusive language reporters and others that challenge him and call him to task; because they are of Mexican heritage, have Muslim blood in their lineage, even are female based on gender bias, judges cannot fairly and impartially decide cases involving Trump or his companies (3,500 at last count per a USA Today story recently); or even referring to an African American in a rally as " 'My' African American" [is this Thomas Jefferson we are listening to?]---it is about time the media disrobe Trump's psyche and dissect his psychological condition---nothing is off limits if Trump wants to play hardball with everyone and everything as he has been doing.

Trump is in the end psychologically unfit to be the country's president, and the Republican Party saying otherwise is, quoting Patterson again, "the political and moral equivalent of a criminally callous auto manufacturer, willing to sell cars with defective airbags and exploding gas tanks. Worse. For they are not selling us combustible cars; they are selling out the country. It is hard to put a name to their dishonor."

God help us all with a President Trump, but long before that happens let's stop wringing our hands and do something about it. The media, the ball is firmly in your court.

UPDATE

The conventions are over now and Trump continues to hammer those that criticize him, like saying yesterday (July 28, 2016) that he would want to punch out the little guy [obviously referring to former NYC Mayor and former Republican, Mike Bloomberg, due to his scathing remarks about Trump when he spoke at the DNC, also describing Trump using the word "insane"] so that his head would spin. Just another example of Trump's NPD. And then there was Trump, during his acceptance speech, saying "I am your voice; "only I can fix the problems". Another example of NPD. And HRC could not have put it more pointedly in her own acceptance speech when she said, paraphrasing now, would we want someone on the nuclear button who reacts [to criticisms] with tweets as Trump constantly does seemingly everyday? And his remarks about Russia and hacking into our computer systems?

SECOND UPDATE (July 31, 2016)

Coterminous with the conclusion of the conventions, and if the contents of this post and its update are not convincing enough, then all readers must read Jane Mayer's exhaustive piece in the July 25, 2016 issue of The New Yorker, "Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All". It details the "journey" author Tony Schwartz undertook with Trump in Schwartz's, NOT Trump's, writing of The Art of the Deal. Her article and Mr. Schwartz's interaction with Trump provide the "exclamation point" to the topic of this post. And, of course, the latest major dustup involves Trump's inability to courteously and with due respect address Mr. and Mrs. Khan's (parents of their fallen war hero son) quite negative public remarks about Trump's conduct and treatment of Americans (particularly Gold Star families) without even an apology, together with his lack of knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and what its provisions state and mean.

THIRD UPDATE (August 2, 2016)

Admittedly, any update to a post is unusual (why not just write another, more current post?), yet alone a third update. But the thesis of this story continues to spread, as evidenced by Eugene Robinson, noted Washington Post opinion writer-columnist-Associate Editor, and cable pundit, with his article, "Is Donald Trump Just plain crazy?" Robinson writes, "...I thought he was being crazy like a fox. Now I am increasingly convinced that he's just plain crazy...At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump's grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best." The article has a publication date of August 1, 2016 and appeared online on August 2.