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.
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.
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‘Malevolent Kraken’: Tulsi Gabbard Mocked After Attacking Hillary Clinton Over Claim Russia Is Grooming a Woman Democrat
‘Unhinged and Disgraceful’
Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii launched an attack against her own party and her own party’s most-recent presidential nominee late Friday afternoon, as reports grew that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Russia is grooming an unnamed but current 2020 presidential candidate, a woman, to run as a third-party candidate.
Gabbard – as did many – apparently assumed Clinton was referring to her, and took to Twitter to slam Clinton as “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
She also said Clinton has been “cowardly” behind a “concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” and invited her to once again run for president.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
… powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.
It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
Clinton, whose charges against Donald Trump have come true, said Russia’s goal is to throw the election once again to Trump.
While Clinton did not name or even suggest Rep. Gabbard, many on social media assumed it was the Congresswoman from Hawaii.
Gabbard has a history of aligning herself with Russian and Syrian talking points. Her unannounced and largely to this day unexplained 2017 trip to visit Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, who has been accused of war crimes including gassing his own people.
On Twitter, Gabbard was quickly berated and mocked:
Lol, you’re getting beat by @AndrewYang. Maybe Hillary Freaking Clinton is a *little* out of you political league, just at the moment?
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) October 18, 2019
Hillary never mentioned your name. That you recognized yourself in her words is telling. Your reputation preceeded you. Your vile anti-gay rants sounded just as unhinged as this. So did your demands that Obama refer to”radical Islam.” And your refusal to disown Assad. We see you. https://t.co/MqiGLMR9sk
— Victoria Brownworth🎃👻💀 (@VABVOX) October 18, 2019
This response by @TulsiGabbard actually removes any doubt about the claims Secretary Clinton made about her. A frightening insight into her true colors. Unhinged and disgraceful.
— Alex Mohajer (@AlexMohajer) October 18, 2019
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) October 18, 2019
This tweet reads an awful lot like the Facebook content pumped out by Russian bot farms in 2016. https://t.co/SLpvgdbBQL
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 18, 2019
Gabbard is vile; in some ways the best strategy is to ignore her. But 2016 election was multi-prong attack that involved not just attacking Clinton but bolstering candidates like Stein who undeniably played spoiler role. We ignore possibility of that repeating itself at our peril
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 18, 2019
I wish HRC hadn’t called Gabbard a Russian asset. I see no evidence for this. Definitely a stooge and a useful idiot. But that’s different. But gaslighting her notional party is the centerpiece of Gabbards politics. She is the malevolent kraken of Democratic politics.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 18, 2019
Tulsi claims the primary is between her and Clinton, but sure, Hillary is the “crazy” one. https://t.co/XxmuSCXOOi
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) October 18, 2019
Why is Tulsi Gabbard getting so frantic on Twitter?
Because her presidential bid is Russian out of time.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 18, 2019
I blocked Tulsi Gabbard a couple years ago and I’ve never felt better about a decision on here.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 18, 2019
— Ben Popken (@bpopken) October 18, 2019
Watch: Trump Announces Perry Out
President Donald Trump has just announced his Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, has resigned.
“Rick and I have been talking for 6 months” Trump told reporters in Texas minutes ago. “In fact, I thought he might go a little sooner. But he’s got some very big plans, he’s going to be very successful. We’ll announce his successor pretty soon.”
Trump added he will announce Perry’s replacement at a rally tonight.
Perry was Trump’s second Energy Secretary. He appointed Grace Bochenek as Acting Secretary on his first day in office. She stayed until March, when Perry was sworn in.
Trump says Perry leaving by end of year.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 17, 2019
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Ambassador Serves Up Devastating Testimony Trump Ordered Him to Work With Giuliani on Ukraine
President Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the European Union is testifying behind closed door to congressional impeachment investigators and has just delivered a devastating indictment of the president. Ambassador Gordon Sondland says President Trump ordered him to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine.
“He directed those of us present at the meeting to talk to Mr. Giuliani, his personal attorney, about his concerns,” Ambassador Sondland said, according to The Washington Post. “It was apparent to all of us that the key to changing the president’s mind on Ukraine was Mr. Giuliani.”
Sondland added that it was not “until much later that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 reelection campaign.”
Vice News’ Cameron Joseph adds that “Sondland, in prepared opening statement, says Trump directed him, Volker and Perry to work with Giuliani on Ukraine corruption in late May.” Volker is former United States special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker. Perry is Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
CNN adds, from Sondland’s prepared remarks that he “will testify that Trump put on hold effort to strengthen relations with Ukraine until top US officials were in contact with Giuliani, who had been pursuing investigation into the Bidens and 2016 elections.”
But one expert is poking holes in Sondland’s claims of innocence.
Matthew Miller, a former Dept. of Justice top spokesperson:
About Sondland's claim that he didn't realize on May 23 that what Giuliani and Trump were really after was a Ukraine investigation into Biden…the NYT had reported that's what Giuliani wanted on May 9. It was a big story! https://t.co/2YkROA2XcZ
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) October 17, 2019
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