IS TRUMP A PSYCHOPATH?
And what this tells us about the 45th president
#11 - promiscuous sexual behavior
Let’s got with the infamous 2005 Hollywood Access tape obtained by the Washington Post shortly before Trump’s election. On the set of a TV show, Trump bragged to host Billy Bush about his past treatment of women, unaware that the conversation was being recorded as they were about to meet an actress.
TRUMP: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
UNKNOWN VOICE: Whoa.
TRUMP: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
UNKNOWN VOICE: That’s huge news.
TRUMP: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture — I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there.
And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
BUSH: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.
TRUMP: Whoa! Whoa!
BUSH: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!
TRUMP: Look at you, you are a pussy.
TRUMP: All right, you and I will walk out. Maybe it’s a different one.
BUSH: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s --
TRUMP: I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BUSH: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed. No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it…. “Is everyone OK?” You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. “‘Is everybody OK?” And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
#12 – Early behavioral problems
Dennis Burnham, a Texas business consultant, said his mother wouldn’t let him play with Trump because he was “known to be a bully.” Dennis’ mother left her son in a backyard playpen briefly, then discovered Donald throwing rocks at her son.
Another contemporary, Steve Nachtigall, said that he saw Donald and some of his friends jump off their bikes and beat up another boy. Said Nachtigall, a doctor: “He was a loudmouth bully.”
Mr. O and I debated whether these accounts, plausible as they are, add up to a conclusion of chronic bad behavior. So, we gave Trump an undeserved break, rating it “Applies somewhat.”
#13 – Lack of realistic, long-term goals
But many observers fault him for lacking long-term policy goals or having a second-term agenda.
Trump’s answer to a June 25 question in a Fox TV interview drew many comments, and was described this way by Snopes, the fact-checking website:
When (Sean) Hannity, one of the most pro-Trump broadcasters in the U.S. news media, asked the president the softball question of “What are your top priority items for a second term?” Trump did not articulate a single second-term goal of his.
#14 – Impulsivity
Trump does not have a foreign policy. He has a series of impulses — isolationism, unilateralism, bellicosity — some of them contradictory. One might surge at any particular moment, triggered usually by Trump’s sense that he might look weak or foolish. They are often unleashed without any consultation, and then his yes men line up to defend him, supporting the president’s every move with North Korean-style enthusiasm, no matter how incoherent.
#15 – Irresponsibility
Recent examples of irresponsibility include his failure to protect American troops after Russian offered bounties to fighters who kill them. But Trump’s willful bungling of the Covid-19 pandemic has imperiled millions of Americans.
The delays in responding to the threat lost crucial time and may have contributed to some of the more than 130,000 deaths so far. As the administration failed to devise a national strategy, leaving states to develop their own, often conflicting policies, Trump endorsed unproven treatments, and famously mused publicly about injecting people with sunlight and disinfectant.
There’s Trump’s refusal to wear a facemask, and his contempt for people who do. Let’s return to the briefing room, on April 3.
I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow, I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind. This will pass. Hopefully it will pass very quickly.
#16 – Failure to accept responsibility for one’s own actions
Trump answered this question on March 13, when a reporter asked whether he felt any responsibility for the lag in Covid-19 testing.
No, I don’t take responsibility at all.
#17 – Many short-term marital relationships
We note a recent book, The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, by Mary Jordan, a Washington Post reporter. She wrote that Mrs. Trump initially declined to move to Washington from New York City when Trump took office, because she wanted to strengthen her bargaining hand in rewriting their prenuptial agreement.
Mr. O and I agree there’s too much subjectivity in trying to rate this one.
# 18 – Juvenile delinquency
But as far as we know, Trump doesn’t have an official juvie record.
#19 – Revocation of conditional release (from prison)
#20 – Criminal versatility (i.e., commits diverse types of crimes)
- Impeachment. Sure, the Senate voted not to convict on Feb. 5. But the House did impeach Trump, charging him with the Constitutional sins of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” namely that Trump abused his powers by trying to shake down the president of Ukraine, threatening to withhold military aid, unless Ukraine investigated Joe Biden, Trump’s likely election opponent; and that he obstructed Congress’ impeachment inquiry.
- Mueller Report. Former FBI chief Robert Mueller pulled his punches in March, 2019 by not formally charging or explicitly linking Trump to colluding with Russia in the 2016 election. But his report is devastating, both in detailing the Trump campaign’s willingness to accept Russia’s help, and a damning assessment as to whether Trump obstructed the investigation: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
- Tax fraud. Trump has refused to release his recent income tax returns, and the dog and opossum agree he’s got something to hide. The previously mentioned New York Times investigation into Trump family’s shenanigans:
President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.
… Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.
- Sex crimes. Seventeen women have accused Trump of abuses, ranging from forced kisses (7); reaching up their skirts (3); grabbing their buttocks (4); leering at naked beauty contestants (2); and rape (1).
We note the seriousness of the allegations, especially the accusation by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in her book, What Do We Need Men For? An excerpt was printed in New York magazine June 21, 2019. She wrote that Trump asked her to help him buy a gift, and that he assaulted her in the dressing room of a department store.
The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.
The so-called “emoluments” allegations, whether Trump violated the Constitution’s ban on gifts, because foreigners seeking Trump’s favor stayed at his Washington hotel; Trump’s pardoning of a convicted war criminal; Attorney General William P. Barr’s corrupt meddling on Trump’s behalf, moving to withdraw the prosecution of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who’d already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI; and Barr’s removal of a U.S. attorney whose office was investigating former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer.
The list is so long.
Here’s our chart, and the final score.
According to the Psychology Today website, 30 points and more indicate a bona fide psychopath, so Trump is admitted yet another exclusive club with 33 points.
But Trump may be disappointed to learn that he’s six points behind serial killer Ted Bundy, who scored 39.
Trump shouldn’t fret, though. He’s probably far ahead in actual deaths.
- Deaths, never to be counted, of asylum seekers and other would-be immigrants denied entry into the U.S.
- Deaths of Covid-19 victims who might have lived with a responsible U.S. campaign against the pandemic.
- Deaths of people denied medical care, housing and food because of Trump policies.
- Deaths because of rollbacks in air and water quality.
- Deaths of U.S. soldiers who may have died in Afghanistan because Trump ignored Russian bounties.
- Death of the planet, if Trump’s policies mean it’s now too late to reverse climate change.
Even if Trump truly is a psychopath - Merriam-Webster's definition is "a person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one's actions, an absence of empathy for others, and often criminal tendencies" - that doesn’t get us very far.
It doesn't help us understand his cruelty, racism, incompetence, viciousness and divisiveness that, combined with the enormous powers of a president, make him such a destructive and frightening force.
Still, we’ve found this exercise useful in one way: it’s allowed us to pull together a few of Trump’s many bad deeds and dangerous qualities. It’s hard to keep all of them in mind in the turmoil of continuous bad news that Trump generates daily.
So, maybe this helps remind us that the score that matters will be the electoral college’s tally after the Nov. 3 election.
What’s really scary? There’s only 119 days to go.