President-elect Donald Trump is about to move into the White House.. This is the man who has become a case-study and text book model of Narcissism for Psychotherapists. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as defined by Wikipedia, 'is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others' feelings."
Or, a Narcissist can also be defined as one who has to believe he cannot do wrong, cannot admit he has ever been wrong or apologized for any of his failings. So it would be helpful to understand President-elect Trump's failings, in order to understand and perhaps influence (as President Obama says he wants to attempt), just how he might behave as 'our' next President.
In fact, that is why Trump doubles down on any who would question him, accusing the accuser of the same misdeeds. Maria Konnikova implied that Trump was a classic Con Artist in her now famous New Yorker article: "A grifter takes advantage of a person's confidence for his own specific ends--ends that are often unknowable to the victim and unrelated to the business at hand. He willfully deceives a mark into handing over his trust under false pretenses. He has a plan."
That has to be why Trump maintained during the campaign that he would convene a special prosecutor to prosecute and jail Hillary Clinton for her "crimes", when in fact Trump himself has been prosecuted for outright criminal behavior, such as the three Trump University lawsuits that settled. Whereas, Hillary was cleared of all criminal charges for use of a private email server by FBI Director Comey. And we just learned that Trump has admitted to the IRS that his family foundation was "self-serving".
Or, he accused President Obama of not being born in the US for six years, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Was Trump being stupid? No, he was currying favor with the birther movement to gain their support; mainly white male, racist Tea Partiers still fighting the Civil War who wanted to cast doubt on Obama's legitimacy as the first African American President.
"What ultimately sets con artists apart is their intent," says Konnikova. "To figure out if someone is a con artist, one needs to ask two questions. First, is their deception knowing, malicious, and directed, ultimately, toward their own personal gain? Second, is the con a means to an end unrelated to the substance of the scheme itself?"
It is the classic definition of a con game. Distract from the actual behavior by misdirecting our attention elsewhere--preferably to something even more sensational. Mitt Romney, Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and many others have called him a classic con-man.
But no one seems to be asking why he has had to perpetuate so many cons, broken so many contracts, filed multiple bankruptcies, and been involved in so many lawsuits--some 4,000 at last count--on his way to become the celebrity billionaire? The toll on his supporters--even families--must be devastating to maintain that image of success with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
A major reason has to be his very short attention span. Tony Schwartz, ghost writer of Trump's "The Art of The Deal", has described him best: "Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn't seem to be fully understood," Schwartz told Jane Mayer, author of aother New Yorker article.
"It's implicit in a lot of what people write, but it's never explicit--or, at least, I haven't seen it. And that is that it's impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it's impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time," said Schwartz
Trump in fact may only be able to focus on what is in front of him at the moment, hence his need for advisors more capable than he to pay attention, to analyze and make intelligent decisions. It has to be why he has lost so much money in his various ventures (such as the Trump Casinos), stiffed so many investors, walked away from so many debts, so that all the major banks now shun him.
We can now know the reason for his admiration of Vladimir Putin, for instance, who Trump has been trying to cultivate since his 1980 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow. It was really an attempt to buy a Moscow luxury hotel. He has had to turn to Russian oligarchs and Mafia figures in order to fund many of his real estate ventures. How's that for a classic conflict-of-interest as President?
So the question: if once a con-artist, always a con-artist? He's 70 years old, and one doesn't change their behavior at that age. But can he use such talents for the good of US, as he has promised; or once again, for his own self-aggrandizement and wealth?
It doesn't look good. He was quoted in a recent New York Times interview that "Presidents cannot have a conflict of interest," which is blatantly unconstitutional under the emolument clause that prohibits gifts or favors from foreign governments or individuals.
If he is that misinformed about his responsibilities as President, what kind of behavior will result that isn't 'self-serving'?
Harlan Green © 2016
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