December 29, 2017

Ezra Klein notes in his op ed in Vox, commenting on Trump’s recent interview at Mar-A-Lago, that this president of ours, is not well. He is right, but I want to talk about why he is right and how we can understand Trump’s inner world of thought. This interview gives us a rambling look inside of Trump’s mind.

The interviewer, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times, got lucky by being present at Trump’s golf resort in Florida when Trump was eating lunch, away from his handlers. Schmidt was at the Grill where Trump was having lunch. They started by talking casually. Then Schmidt suggested they continue on the record. Trump agreed.

The reporter revealed that he stayed in a crouched position for the whole 30 minutes of the interview (which reminded him of the time he was a catcher on his baseball team when he was in school). He crouched next to the president’s chair, his face close to the president’s face so that Trump would have to keep looking at him. This was how he got the president to stay focused on him and keep his attention. (Trump is notoriously unable to keep focused). Schmidt asked him open ended questions that allowed Trump to respond without feeling challenged. What Schmidt captured by doing that was Trump’s stream of consciousness. There are people who are upset that Schmidt did not challenge the numerous lies that Trump uttered. But I am glad that he did not do that. If he had challenged Trump. he would not have gotten the unadulterated fire hose of thoughts that Trump spewed unchecked and unfiltered. We can learn a lot from this unimpeded flow from Trump’s unconscious which is remarkably helpful if you are trying to understand the psychology of this man. Why is he an inveterate liar and why does he seem to be so unconnected to reality? I think this interview helps us to understand the answer.

I believe that when Trump talks, he is talking to himself. He is calming himself down.

Over and over again he says “There is no collusion. No collusion.” He says it 16 times in the interview. Some pundits say that Trump says this to convince his followers. Say it over and over and people will believe it. Maybe so. But I think the internal motivation is different. I think he is saying this to convince himself. Because he knows the truth. On some level of conscious thought, he knows otherwise. But in his mind he cannot accept bad things about himself. He rejects bad things about himself. He desperately needs to be the best and to be loved and revered. Which is why the Saudis and the Chinese and Vladimir Putin can play him – he is desperate for love and adoration.

So he re-creates reality and works to keep that reformulated reality front and center in his mind. For Trump, unwelcome truths are probably only a subtle or distant memory – almost forgotten. Reality for him probably feels elusive, but it keeps bubbling back up. And he has to talk it down again so he can feel okay.

Try on this idea: when Trump talks, he is talking to himself inside a bubble which is the world as he wants it to be, not the world as it is and he is reassuring himself over and over again. We can hear him calming himself down and reassuring himself so that he can be less afraid and can reject the bad parts of himself he needs to get rid of. This is classic “projection.” He projects the “bad” onto others so he can feel okay about himself. Obama is bad. Hillary is bad. Jeff Sessions is bad for not being loyal and protecting him. And on and on.

I do handwriting analysis for personality traits and Trump has the signature of a very paranoid person. Very. We are not talking about a slightly suspicious person, but a person with full blown fantasy level paranoid thinking. Conspiracy theories are par for the course with someone this paranoid. His signature looks like a heart attack. It also looks a lot like a big jagged wall. Why? Trump is afraid. He needs to keep away the things that scare him. He needs protection. He has to have loyalty because that is protection from the things that scare him. There is much that terrifies Trump. And since his relationship with reality is shaky at best, he is mired in fears of the boogeyman or the conspiracy or the shadow state, the so called “deep state” that is out to get him – and so on. He will not say that in so many words because he has to seem strong, but his signature exposes that about him. And so does this rambling conversation with Schmidt.

Why does he say he is the best? Why does he insist he has ultimate control? He is the best CPA. He knows more than anyone else. Hillary colluded with the Russians, not him or his campaign. He can do anything he wants with the Justice Department. He is in control of everything. These are the musings of a terrified person with a serious mental impairment that might be early Alzheimers. He is deeply disconnected from reality.

I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I’m a former Assistant US Attorney. The Goldwater Rule does not hold me in check. So I can straight out give my opinion here. And it is this: if you listen to what Trump is saying to the crowds during a rally, in his tweets, in this rambling interview, you can hear what he is afraid of and how he is trying to remake reality to protect himself. Try reading and listening to Trump with this idea in mind. It is very revealing as well as very unsettling to listen to him with this understanding about the way he is experiencing the world through the filter of his fearful mind.

Incoherent, authoritarian, uninformed: Trump’s New York Times interview is a scary read

The president of the United States is not well.