Along the campaign season, we’ve heard from clinical psychologists who believe Donald Trump presents classic symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But their opinions were brushed aside early on, due to the fact that psychologists don’t diagnose an illness without speaking to a patient privately.
But according to the Toronto Star, conservative analysts are starting to wonder if maybe there is some lingering mental health issue that is plaguing Trump and making it difficult for him to control his behavior.
Stuart Stevens, a chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said that something was awry with Trump:
We can gloss over it, laugh about it, analyze it, but Donald Trump is not a well man.
Stevens added that he is not claiming to be a doctor or psychologist, just that he’s noticing Trump’s abnormal behavior:
There is something definitely off about him. At best, this is a very damaged person. And there’s probably something more serious going on.
Stevens isn’t alone. Last week conservative David Brooks wrote in the New York Times that Trump appeared “haunted by multiple personality disorders.” And Stephen Hayes from The Weekly Standard, a right wing news site, said:
Donald Trump is not of sound mind.
Of course, the Trump campaign denies it. Hope Hicks, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, responded by pointing to the clean bill of health Trump received from his physician:
I’m sure you saw Mr. Trump’s medical report released in December of last year, which described him as perhaps the healthiest individual to ever be elected President (paraphrasing) — I refer you to that.
But the doctor’s note only provided details on Trump’s physical health — not his mental state. And the note itself was highly suspect due to the fact it had typos, used phrases like “extraordinary” to describe Trump’s physical test results, and ends with this questionable statement:
If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency.
As I said previously, clinical psychologists disagree that Trump is the healthiest person in the entire history of this country. They say he’s such a classic case of NPD that they would use him as an example to teach psychology students about the disorder. George Simon, a clinical psychologist said:
He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics. Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.
While it’s likely many public figures and politicians fall on the spectrum of having narcissistic traits, psychologists tend to see Trump on the far-end of the spectrum, like Dan McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, who wrote in The Atlantic:
Putting his name on everything, talking about himself all the time: this is beyond the pale. I don’t want to argue that it’s a clinical condition … but if there’s a continuum, in terms of narcissistic personality characteristics within a relatively normal population, he’s really way off on the extreme end.
There has been a notable pattern when it comes to Donald Trump. During times of tragedy, the GOP nominee has an awful habit of making it all about himself. For example, after the mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Trump appeared to pat himself on the back for foreseeing the incident — this is among many examples of Trump taking a mass tragedy and pointing out he was right all along. While touring Scotland during the Brexit vote, Trump decided he was in favor of Brexit because it would help out his new golf course.
During his speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump said that he alone would fix everything wrong with this country. That certainly speaks to a sense of inflated self-importance.
And as we have seen with the Khizr Khan fiasco, Trump can’t handle one iota of criticism and lashes out wildly at anyone who dares challenge him. His Twitter account is filled with name calling and bullying journalists who dare review Trump negatively or ask him hard questions, and he’s even taken to insulting and bullying prominent politicians from his own party — well after his primary was over and it stopped mattering, all in an attempt to destroy their careers.
Trump was supposed to appear more subdued and presidential after the convention, but he seems incapable of controlling his itchy Twitter finger and mouth. His own party and endorsers seem rightfully horrified over his comments to a Gold Star family of a fallen hero. Taking criticism gracefully is part of the job of being president. Can you imagine if President Obama lashed out at every single person who criticized him?
This isn’t to say people with mental health issues shouldn’t or couldn’t be President — we’ve had great presidents with mental issues before. But it is a reasonable expectation that efforts are being made to reign in whatever those issues may be so it isn’t damaging to the country.
But we haven’t seen that with Trump, and it’s becoming worrisome because he’s within an inch of becoming the next leader of the free world. And if members of his own base can see that something is rotten in Denmark, then it’s obviously becoming a real problem.
So we ask Donald Trump, are you okay?
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Mahoney