DISCLOSURE: As a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD, Forensic Criminalist), I start this profile/commentary agreeing w/a growing number of psych- and neuro-scientists convinced that Donald John Trump exhibits a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (DSM-5, 301.81).
Some clinicians note that it’s not a “full-blown disorder” in that it has not yet reached a “maladaptive level, causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or functioning in society.” While that may be de rigueur in therapeutic interventions, I don’t believe that society—even one that prizes a pathological amount of individual narcissism– needs to reach that critical stage, thus causing irreparable social harm. The readers of course can judge for themselves.
Donald was born in 1946 in a wealthy community in Queens, NYC, to his jumped-up slumlord father, Frederick Christ Trump and immigrant mother, Mary Anne (née MacLeod).
Donald’s father, Frederick, was born in 1905 on the rich side of East Tremont in the Bronx* to German immigrants.
The original German family name was Drumph. Frederick denied his German heritage—as did Donald into his 40s—claiming they were from Sweden.
(*For myself, Nick Medvecky, born in ’42, I was raised for a time in the nearby Bathgate ghetto of the South Bronx. As my Slovakian Aunt Ann was a nanny/governess to wealthy families, I was often dragged along and became quite familiar with a number of these “little-lords.”)
Having Donald at the age of 41, Fred Trump made his early wealth in building housing for military personnel in the NYC area during WW-II. Later, he multiplied that wealth in building and renting low-income and row houses in Brooklyn and Queens. He secured much of that wealth thru gov’t loans and subsidies, often at significant legal jeopardy.
Fred Trump was also cited a number of times by the US Justice Dept. for refusing to rent to African-Americans. That discrimination (passed on to his son) persisted throughout his life. At least once he was arrested with a number of Ku Klux Klanners in a demo in which several police were assaulted.
Donald was a discipline problem as a youth, a classic school-yard bully. In the 8th grade he was sent to the NY Military Academy from which he graduated high school.
As is wont in authoritarian societies, his wealth and bully-personality earned him the ranking of “cadet captain.”
Donald then went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he perfected his privileged, party-down role in the local fraternity–having virtually a simplified curriculum–and graduating in 1968 (w/an economics degree in “real estate”).
During that period he was classified four times w/a 2-S student-deferment from the military draft. Upon graduating he secured a 4-F medical deferment for a “heel spur” disability.
Previously in the military academy, “DT” apparently earned a number of trophies at football, baseball, soccer and bowling. When asked by a reporter in 2015 about his “heel spur” affliction, he claimed that he couldn’t remember which foot it was on.
(Nick Medvecky: In 1967 I was a co-founder of the Veterans Against the War in Detroit. Among a variety of political activities we counseled students and others on the military, the draft, and how to beat it, if that was their choice. Our counseling included the initial recommendation that they first consider joining and working from the inside to oppose the war, educating their brother soldiers. Few however had either the knowledge or social consciousness to make such a commitment. Most choose avoiding the draft; we never failed a single counseling session.
(As military veterans, we have a special antipathy for Sunshine Patriots like Donald who avoid their service, yet they support the war and others to fight and die in it. In Donald’s case, he also claimed that his military school experience surpassed a lot of military service, and that he doesn’t respect John McCain because he was a POW.
(Having attended both Eastern Military Academy and the US Army, I can assure LollyPop that they’re not the same. McCain I expect can and will take care of himself.)
Joining his father’s real estate business in ’68 at the ripe old age of 22 (I was on a chain-gang in Tennessee at that age), Trump soon acquired the exclusive family-business territory of Manhattan. He parlayed the acquisition of the $60 million Penn Central (w/the help of political “friends”) w/zero money down. With a 40-yr tax abatement from NYC, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and created the Trump Organization.
(My own experiences in the same period included serving in the 101st Airborne Division, a number of yrs in the Old South as a civil rights activist and a year on a chain-gang [1959-65]. I started WSU, Detroit, in 1968 on the GI Bill. I jumped from Journalism, to pre-med biology, to criminal justice, eventually graduating w/a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.)
Trump has followed in the colonial-settler footsteps of earlier capitalist rentiers, who essentially achieved their wealth, privilege and power thru the private and gov’tal acquisition of property and perpetually leasing it back to others. Early private predators acquired their initial property thru sheer theft from the Native populations (“financing” gov’t officials in return for such “licensing,” such as the railroads, mines and forestry combines).
In Trump’s case (following his father), he rigged public tax abatements and related financing. Trump’s narcissism led him into a variety of extensive and questionable ventures that greatly over-extended his finances and forced him to sell off significant properties, such as his Trump Shuttle airlines and his 282-foot mega-yacht, the Trump Princess.
Between 1991 and 2009, Trump had four bankruptcies, which he considers “good business” (in other words, “My shit smells like roses…”). The losing investors, public abatements and funding might disagree. In addition to individuals, the public treasury, banks and bondholders lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
True to other facets of his narcissism, “I’m really rich,” Trump said. He declared in his candidacy filings that he’s worth over $10 billion. Forbes called Trump’s figure a “100%” exaggeration. Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated a net worth of $2.9 billion w/significant debt.
In July 2015, the Federal election regulators released details of Trump’s wealth and financial holdings when he became a Republican presidential candidate, reporting that his assets are actually worth about $1.4 billion.
Trump has extended his wealth and acquisitions to a vast variety of other business ventures, including casinos, hotels, golf resorts, the Miss Universe pageant and personal TV shows. He got his “star” placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he makes a considerable income from leasing out his name to the ventures of other entrepreneurs.
Trump has been married three times, courting progressively younger brides (even while still married). Despite his public racist-nativism, he apparently he has no problems w/the horizontal posture of two of his wives, as well as his mother, and their being immigrants.
As w/every other facet of life, trump’s narcissism requires that he excel at everything, or at least give that illusion. When he looks around he assesses whether there is anyone or anything that he perceives as shinier than himself.
If so, then he makes whatever acquisitions are necessary, whether an item, a title or a person. As a narcissist, it’s how he defines himself. His current bauble? The White House.
Psych-wise, extreme narcissism is almost always based upon internal insecurities, and therein lies the approaching abyss. Sooner or later, if and when Trump meets an acquisition that is beyond him, there’s the threat that he will collapse…along w/whatever and whomever he influences around him.
Perfectly symbolic of Donald’s developmentally infantile mentality and public persona is a story by one of the hosts of Fox “news,” Tucker Carlson, who recently recalls an encounter w/Trump some 15-yrs-ago. Commenting on Trump’s hair at his then employer, CNN, Trump left him a message on his answering machine. According to Carlson, it said, “It’s true you have better hair than I do, but I get more pussy than you do.” Yeah…he buys it.
The fact is, w/such a mental disorder, there can never be enough…there is never a final pinnacle short of death. Should he ever actually achieve total political power (he would accept nothing less if elected), and if faced with failure in that exercise–or his perception of failure–he is capable quite literally of blowing up the planet before accepting less.
One of the more controversial revelations concerning Trump is the fact that he apparently kept and read a collection of speeches in his bedside night table, My New Order, published in 1941 by Hitler at the height of his powers and conquests. Racist-nationalism and nativism were central elements in that drive.
While first denying his first wife’s info in a BusinessInsider.com article, Trump later admitted that his “Jewish friend” Marty Davis of Paramount did buy him a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kamph, but, Trump claimed, “I never read it.”
(Davis said he bought him Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kamph, and that he’s not Jewish.)
This tome features speeches and commentary that details Hitler’s strategies on his conquests across Europe, Africa, the high-seas, the psychology of leading the masses, and the effects of being able to command the media.
Clearly, Trump is employing Hitler’s strategy to startling affect in his racist and nativist campaign for the White house, adding misogyny, anti-science and fundamentalist religion to his political manipulations of the American experience.
Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), January 2016…