by Henry Walker
I want you to lend me your focus for a few minutes to cogitate with me on the meaning for our Nation of the recent public behavior by the Republican candidate for President. Being a progressive Democrat, I had concern as to my own bias, which in the end only served to delay me accepting that Mr. Trump suffers from several severe mental dysfunctions, referenced below. Understanding their multi-faceted components brings one to the inescapable reality of these illnesses. This, and knowing that he would have unilateral access to the nuclear trigger if elected, clearly creates an insurmountable hurdle to his candidacy. As former CIA Director Michael Morell put so clearly recently: “Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security,” and “Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.”
So, what are these “character traits”, and why are they so dangerous? You should begin by pulling up Jayne Mayer’s article in the July 25th edition The New Yorker. This is amazing stuff, where Tony Schwartz , whoghostwrote Trump’s ‘autobiography’ The Art of the Deal, now says that if he were writing today, it would be entitled The Sociopath. Please, take the time to read the article.
Next, pull up the July 20 edition of The Atlantic Magazine, where senior editor James Amblin, M.D. explains why the descriptions of Trump’s behavior in the New Yorker article must be taken seriously.
Referencing the latest edition of the ‘DSM’ (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Dr. Amblin writes that a “Sociopath” is more accurately defined as a person with some combination of:
1) Narcissistic personality disorder, and
2) Antisocial personality disorder, both generally meaning “without a conscience”.
Amblin: “A Narcissist is a person with an inflated sense of one’s own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others, but behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. From watching him at televised political events, didn’t Trump sound like a text book Narcissist?
Dr. Amblin then looks at the second Personality Disorder, above: “According to the DSM, Antisocial Personality Disorder should be diagnosed in a person who meets two criteria about:
1) the way they function in the world, which focuses on Deceit, Manipulation, Disregard for the rights of others, and Failure to take responsibility for one’s actions”(are there any questions?), and
2) criteria about their Personality functioning, which may include “an absence of prosocial internal standards, associated with failure to conform to lawful or culturally normative ethical behavior” (Any questions?),
and must include two other traits that Amblin considered significant, Antagonism & Disinhibition:
1. Antagonism- “Can be characterized by hostility, manipulativeness, deceitfulness, or callousness.
And, he said, “ it’s worth considering these one by one” :
Hostility– defined as persistent or frequent angry feelings, or anger or irritability in response to minor slights, or mean, nasty or vengeful behavior- (Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly? Trump called her a “bimbo” with “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her ‘wherever’”),
Manipulativeness– Frequent use of subterfuge to influence or control others; use of seduction, charm, glibness, or ingratiation to achieve one’s ends. Amblin: “I think this might alternatively be defined as politics. That’s not a joke. Steve Becker, a psychotherapist who specializes in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, has written that “Trump’s ‘psychopathy,’ incidentally, is expressive in a less ‘compartmentalized’ form than that of most candidates,” Becker writes, “meaning he’s really more than a ‘political psychopath’— he’s really just broadly, flat-out a psychopath.”
Deceitfulness– Dishonesty and fraudulence; misrepresentation of self; embellishment or fabrication when relating events. “Of the more consequential statements put to the test on the fact-checking site Politifact, 56 percent of Trumps statements are false or mostly false. Another 19 percent are “pants on fire.” Some of them he continues to repeat. Just this weekend, Trump insisted again on 60 Minutes that he opposed the Iraq War from the start. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker and Politifact have proven that false, with BuzzFeed even having published a 2002 interview in which Trump supports the invasion.
Callousness– Lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one’s actions on others; aggression. Amblin: Trump intends to ban immigration by Muslims. And maybe most fitting here is his unwillingness to apologize for anything, including his insults to Megyn Kelly. Even after an episode of clear plagiarism on the part of his campaign in Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican Convention, which could have been forgiven, he gave no indication of guilt or remorse.
2. Disinhibition, characterized by:
Impulsivity-acting on the spur of the moment, without a plan or consideration of outcomes (Any questions?), or
Irresponsibility-disregard for and failure to honor financial and other obligations and commitments; lack of respect for and lack of follow through on agreements and promises. Amblin: We’ve all heard the reports of how he screws his workers (painters, carpenters, etc.). One obligation of a presidential candidate is to disclose his income taxes. Trump has refused. or
Risk taking-engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard for consequences; Boredom Proneness and thoughtless initiation of activities to counter boredom. (Any questions?)
As the final element in diagnosing antisocial personality disorder, Dr. Amblin points to:
Impaired Interpersonal Functioning, in one of two domains, Empathy or Intimacy:
Empathy: Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others; lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another.
Nowhere was his lack of remorse more evident than in his attack against the Kahn family, without an ounce of pity for a family whose son sacrificed his life for this country. So how will he assess the loss of American lives in the next conflict? And note- he actually believes that by hiring “tens of thousands” and building structures in New York City, he made a ‘sacrifice’ to the Iraq war comparable to the Kahn’s loss of their son, a brave young man who gave his own life to save his men from a suicide bomber. If Trump can twist the meaning of sacrifice in such a way, what will he do to justify use of force on other nations?
2) Intimacy: Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others, including by deceit and coercion; use of dominance or intimidation to control others.
Amblin: “The realm of intimacy is beyond the purview of public inquiry, though some thought it telling that when his (third) wife, Melania, spoke of her husband (at the Convention) , she delivered an endorsement that could have come from anyone. She said nothing of him as a husband, lover, or father to her child—the insight that many were hoping she would provide. Using dominance or intimidation to control others, though, shows up time and again in Trump’s history. He has done this particularly to journalists, and entire newspapers and magazines. In one incident, he sent The New York Times’ Gail Collins a copy of her column, having circled her photo and scrawled “The Face of a Dog!” He has attempted to silence not just media, but protesters at his rallies, implying support for violent retaliation and publicly suggesting that he may pay the legal fees of one assault suspect. These examples could go on, and maybe should, as the news cycle tends to help us forget these stories. They are especially important as Trump has disclosed very little in the way of policy on which to judge what his presidency would look like, placing further burden on evaluation of his character.”
Simply stated, Donald Trump’s personality disorders are so severe that he must never be allowed to get his fingers anywhere near the Nuclear Trigger. As has been made crystal clear by our military commanders and other experts recently, once an incoming nuclear strike against us has been verified, the President, with no one else sharing the decision, will have six seconds to decide whether some seventy million people will die! And if this isn’t enough, remember what former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough said last Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, that Trump would consider a peremptory nuclear strike! Apparently, an unidentified foreign policy advisor told Scarborough that, in a briefing, Mr. Trump had asked three times “If we have them, why can’t we use them?” If you need more on the issue, please read yesterday’s report that fifty top Republican national security officials signed a letter warning voters that Trump would be “the most reckless president in American history”!
Please, please forward this email to others and ask them to forward to their friends. Some of our more entrenched Republican friends may wish to argue, and if so, we would ask them to try and really, really think about what you’ve told them, explain that all this compiled information really does point to a clear and present danger to our national interest which transcends politics, going way past who you trust, whether one prefers Hillary or not, and so on… and can only hope that they will come to agree that having a President Trump is unthinkable, and that then we will just move on to the next person to persuade. Remember, six seconds…..God help us.