Connect with us

News

Why Trump’s ‘Grandiose Paranoid Character’ Appeals to His Supporters: Harvard Psychoanalyst

Published

on

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), making multiple misleading claims about the economy, the wall and his tax cuts. According to the Washington Post, the speech contained 104 misleading claims, bringing his total number of false or fishy statements to roughly 9,014 over the course of his administration.

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Henry J. Friedman, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, about why the President finds it so easy to lie and the unique dynamic he has with his base that lets him get away with it.

Friedman is a contributor to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” edited by Bandy X. Lee, the expanded edition of which is to be released this month. He brings a psychoanalytic perspective to understand the totalitarian mindset, which presents a multifold threat to the world.

Tana Ganeva: According to one report, Trump’s CPAC speech contained 104 instances of lies. Why do you think the President finds it so easy to lie?

Dr. Henry J. Friedman: When facing an audience that responds to him with adulation, he is inclined to present his worst tendencies in excess because he knows it pleases his base if he is extremely opposed to established standards of truth and politeness.

Trump’s base love him for liberating them to hate illegal immigrants and indulge their hatred of social change, of same sex marriage or woman’s rights and the rise of African Americans as a powerful political and social presence in the United States. His stance against equality for disavowed minority groups is exactly what they find attractive in him. He liberates their worst inclinations and fights against those who want to see the best in humanity dominate our society.

Tana Ganeva: How is the President different in front of his supporters?

Dr. Henry J. Friedman: He is empowered by such an audience to state things he wants to believe in as facts, as truths. He flirts with open totalitarian positions because these please this particular audience who find his authoritarian positions compatible with what they desire in a leader.

RELATED: HARVARD PSYCHIATRIST BREAKS DOWN TRUMP’S ‘SEVERE, CONTINUOUS, MENTAL DISTURBANCE’

His base prefers a leader who is authoritarian and ruthless about getting what he personally wants, as this often reflects their experience with parents, particularly fathers who insisted on obedience. Trump demands that the world operate as he wants it to be, not as it actually is. Authority isn’t authoritarianism, hence it is easy to confuse a strong leader who represents all of our citizens from an authoritarian leader who panders to the worst desires of some groups in terms of their destructive impulses directed at other less powerful citizens.

Tana Ganeva: Can you explain why the President still has such a fervent following, despite arguably breaking a lot of his campaign promises, such as having Mexico pay for a wall at the Southwest border?

Dr. Henry J. Friedman: They respond not to his campaign promises or even to his actual accomplishments, which may be against their actual interests, but because his grandiose paranoid character appeals to them.

He always is ready to attack anyone who opposes him. His enemies are constructed by him, but they are what many individuals personally do in their own relationships with those around them. What his followers want is his immoderate, rash and destructive “self directed against an enemy.”

His followers are pleased with his leadership because they believe in the dangers that he insists are present when in fact they are non-existent except in his paranoid thinking. A grandiose paranoid leader appeals to and preys upon the paranoid fears of the many citizens who constitute his base.

Tana Ganeva: How does your psychoanalytic background inform you about what is happening?

Dr. Henry J. Friedman: Absolutely, this kind of grandiose paranoid character is frequently encountered in our work with patients, but in a much attenuated form or only directed at those in the grandiose paranoid individual’s family or who are employed by him or her. Those of us who work with paranoid patients understand the insistent need to find an enemy, to see an exaggerated form of danger coming from the hated others who will damage you unless they are contained and ultimately destroyed either by deportation or simply being kept out of the country.

Tana Ganeva: How can mental health expertise help the nation?

Dr. Henry J. Friedman: By giving words and concepts from our work that help the public in putting words and concepts to the anxieties that they feel, without being able to label it in such a way that they understand why Trump must be opposed, not allow to do his “Hitler routine” and destroy the free press and any criticism of his behavior and desires.

The more Trump is able to destroy the free press by denouncing it as fake news, the more he will be able to keep the public uninformed and unable to oppose his draconian approach to anything or anyone who threatens his domination and control. We in mental health can see more clearly what others see, because we recognize it from our work in treating and evaluating those who are fearful and aggressive because they are filled with hatred and loathing of all who are different from them.

RELATED STORIES:

PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ORDER ‘VERY SOON’ ON CONSERVATIVES ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

TRUMP’S MENTAL IMPAIRMENT: A PSYCHIATRIST MAKES THE CASE FOR INVOKING THE 25TH AMENDMENT

‘STAGGERING OMISSION’ IN TRUMP’S OFFICIAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT: YALE PSYCHIATRIST

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch Predicts Trump Will Drop Out in the Face of ‘The Biggest Landslide Defeat in US History’

Published

on

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” regular contributor Donny Deutsch said he would not be surprised at all if Donald Trump dropped out of the 2020 presidential race because he wouldn’t be able to face losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in a landslide.

Speaking with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Deutsch — who has known Trump for years — said the president is looking at a humiliating defeat and may not stick around and let it happen.

“We’ve got four months to the election but we’re now entering the 57th month out of a 60-month experiment with Donald Trump,” he explained. “He is baked at this point, Joe Biden is baked at this point.”

“When you look at the 2016 election, you had Donald Trump who was an unknown, Hillary [Clinton] a known. Now we’ve got two knowns,” he continued. “And none of this stuff is going to work. It is just — it’s a pathetic attempt — people are not stupid, just like they’re not stupid about their health. They’re just not stupid and, Joe, I want to go back to something you teed up last week that I have been thinking all week.”

“I would not be shocked at some point if he doesn’t drop the mic,” Deutsch admitted. “It’s [the election] is not turning around. This is a guy that I cannot see standing up and owning the biggest landslide defeat in U.S. history. I know you have been throwing it out in, a lot of people are saying no, that’s not possible. But the more I think about it, the more I’m jumping on your bandwagon. I don’t see this guy going the distance.”

Watch below:

 

Continue Reading

News

‘You Just Want to Talk About White Power’: Kellyanne Conway Attacks Reporters Over Trump’s Racist Tweet

Published

on

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway clashed with reporters on Wednesday over a racist video that was shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump.

While taking questions outside the White House, NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Conway about a video tweeted by Trump in which a man shouts “white power.”

Conway noted that the president had eventually deleted the tweet.

“Does he need to condemn white power?” Welker asked.

“He condemned it by taking it down,” Conway replied. “He never heard that. He doesn’t support that phrase. This is a president that has worked for all Americans. If you’re not going to cover the other side of the coin, respectfully, everything he’s done for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, vulnerable populations.”

“You just want to talk about white power!” she complained. “He took the tweet down. Do you regret asking it three days later. I mean, honestly, you’re like a reporter for a major — I respect you, Kristen — you’re a reporter for a major network and you’re gnawing on the same bone three days later. Why?”

“It’s not a three-day-old story,” the reporter pressed. “Because there’s a reckoning on race in this country. That’s going on now. And the president still hasn’t come out and condemned it.”

“Condemned what?” Conway interrupted.

“White power,” the reporter said. “It’s a longer story.”

“No, it’s a longer story because you want it to be,” Conway remarked. “Because you think you decide how the president speaks and what words and punctuation he uses. And it doesn’t work that way. America sees what he’s doing for this country.”

“So, yes, we have to have an ongoing conversation,” she added. “I have that conversation with my own children. Of course we should have it as a nation. But if you’re just going to throw out the Sesame Street word of the day and expect us to have a conversation, that’s not how to have a conversation.”

Watch the video below from C-SPAN.

 

Continue Reading

News

Republicans Start Pretending They’ve Always Supported Masks – Now That COVID-19 Is Surging in Red States

Published

on

When blue states like Washington, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were hit with coronavirus in large numbers, Republicans from President Donald Trump to Fox News were vehemently opposed to mask wearing. But now that coronavirus is surging in red states, like Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia, they’re changing their tune – and pretending they’ve always supported mask wearing.

“If Americans submit to wearing masks,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked one month ago, “what other rights and freedoms can be taken?”

Fast forward to this week.

Here’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

The President of the United States still refuses to wear a mask in public, and has made clear he remains vehemently against them, but his son, Donald Trump Jr., on Tuesday out of the blue declared mask-wearing is no big deal.

“You know, I don’t think it’s too complicated to wear a mask,” Jr. told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo in an interview discussing the upcoming GOP convention.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Wednesday said that President Trump should tell Americans that wearing a mask “is the best thing you could possibly do,” and suggested he “start wearing them to send that message.”

“Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy seemed to mock RNC chair Rona McDaniel on Tuesday for her apparent continued opposition to mask-wearing – and her defense of the President’s refusal as well.

“I think that if the president wore one, it would just set a good example. He’d be a good role model. I don’t see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public,” Doocy said. “MAGA should now stand for ‘Masks Are Great Again.’ Let me give you some marketing advice right there.”

Here’s uber-conservative Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee:

Unofficial Trump advisor, Fox News host Sean Hannity, acts like he’s always supported mask-wearing – even though he called the coronavirus crisis a hoax. In fact, as Yahoo News reported in April, Hannity suggested “the pandemic might be a ‘deep state‘ plot to hurt the economy or, at another point, claiming concerns over the novel virus was a ‘new hoax‘ designed to ‘bludgeon’ Trump.”

Now, coronavirus is real and “masks work.”

This week we’ve seen Vice President Mike Pence wear a mask. In fact, the White House posted this image of the VP at a rare coronavirus task force meeting Tuesday:

Not all Republicans are on board.

Like President Donald Trump.

And Senator Rand Paul.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.