Is Donald Trump just a liar or has he lost his grip on reality?
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
It violates a whole bunch of norms to suggest that the president of the United States may be suffering from serious mental illness. It’s long been considered inappropriate for professionals to diagnose someone from afar. It’s also harmful to stigmatize people with mental illnesses, who are, statistically speaking, no more likely to become a corrupt white nationalist buffoons than anyone else.
However, a dangerous aftereffect of those sensible preclusions is that, as a general public, we’re belittling the likelihood that a person who approaches the atomic football is off his rocker.
We bring this up with regards to Trump’s most recent eye-raising babble: His tweet recommending that his scandalous meeting with NBC’s Lester Holt was by one means or another controlled to influence it to give the idea that he had moronically proclaimed an admission that he’d let go previous FBI Director James Comey to put a conclusion to the Russia examination.
This took after a before tweet in which Trump asserted that Google had a group of Antifa mythical people, possibly, filtering through news stories and downgrading those that said pleasant things in regards to Trump.
Most spectators see this stuff for instance of the Big Lie method, and that might be right. Basically every word out of Trump’s mouth is a lie, and dependably has been, yet his base keeps on trusting that he’s the sole authority of truth. It hasn’t harmed him with Congressional Republicans, to a limited extent since they know their constituents like Trump more than them, or their gathering. So he just presents a perpetual stream of glad horse crap, and this claim about the Holt meet is only one more illustration.
But the Big Lie is for public consumption, and Trump makes similar claims in private. Recall a report from The New York Times last year that, “despite his public acknowledgment” that the Access Hollywood tape that captured Trump bragging that he could grab ‘em by the pussy was real, “and his hasty videotaped apology under pressure from his advisers,” Trump began “raising the prospect with allies that it may not have been him on the tape after all.” According to the report, shortly before the inauguration, “Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the recording that had him boasting about grabbing women’s genitals.”
Which brings us to a serious question: Does he actually believe this stuff? It’s one thing to peddle it to his gullible, perpetually pissed-off supporters for political gain, but what if the pressures of the office – and the myriad investigations closing in on him — have caused a legitimate break from reality? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, psychosis is best understood “as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t.”
While we at What Fresh Hell aren’t psychologists, you don’t need a degree to see that trump displays all of the classic symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. In addition to having trouble empathizing with others and displaying “a sense of entitlement” and the need for “constant, excessive admiration,” per the Mayo Clinic, people who suffer from this disorder “have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism,” and can “experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change.”
Trump’s 71, and it’s hard to imagine a more stressful change than shifting from the lifestyle of a sleazy business man and game show host who’s always surrounded himself with sycophantic yes men to that of a POTUS dogged by scandals and hemmed in by investigators.
We can’t know what he believes is real and what’s just spin, but we should probably take the possibility that he’s gone nuts more seriously than we tend to. He’s no longer just a reality TV star.