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

Dozens of House Republicans Refusing to Wear Masks March to Senate Side for ‘Taste of Freedom’

Published

on

After falsely blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the newly-announced mask mandate on the House side of Congress, dozens of Republicans Thursday afternoon engaged in a performative protest, not against the coronavirus but against efforts to end the pandemic. What appeared to be 50 or so House GOP  lawmakers marched over to the Senate side of the Capitol Hill building for what one called a “taste of freedom.”

The Attending Physician of the United States Congress, following updated CDC guidance this week ordered anyone on the House side of the Capitol to wear a mask if in a group, regardless of vaccination status, but did not make the same order for the Senate side.

While Dr. Brian Monahan did not explain why the rules were different, at last cxount only about half of the Republicans on the House side have said they are vaccinated. Almost every Republican on the Senate side is. All Democrats on both sides are fully vaccinated. Dr. Monahan’s office announced fines and possible removal for repeat offenders.

Among those in the maskless pack making their way to the Senate side were Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Chip Roy.

Roll Call’s Chris Cioffi and The Hill’s Scott Wong posted video:

Continue Reading

News

Watch Live: Day One of the Historic January 6 House Select Committee Hearing

Published

on

It’s been 202 days since Donald Trump, then the President, incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. The January 6 insurrection, an act of domestic terrorism, an attempted coup, is one of the darkest days in American history.

At 9:30 AM Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) will gavel in day one of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, a bipartisan investigation into that dark day.

You can watch live below. The proceedings will also be carried and streamed on most major networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN. Fox News is expected to have a degree of coverage.

Today’s hearing will feature testimony from four officers who defended members of Congress and the Capitol on January 6, or, as Chairman Thompson said, “frontline heroes who put their lives on the line to protect our democracy.”

Here are several feeds for you to watch live:

Continue Reading

News

‘It’s What Stupid People Do’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe Burns Kevin McCarthy for ‘Childish’ Games

Published

on

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough ripped House minority leader Kevin McCarthy for making up “stupid” nicknames for a pair of Republicans who refuse to go along with Donald Trump’s election lies.

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) were among 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, and they will sit on the House panel investigating that assault on democracy — and McCarthy mocked them as “Pelosi Republicans.”

“It’s what stupid people do,” Scarborough said. “If you look at the facts, which Kevin McCarthy doesn’t ever do, Liz Cheney has like a 95 percent [American Conservative Union] rating, 95 percent conservative rating over the course of her career, which is actually my conservative rating, but what I found out a long time ago and Liz certainly has known for some time now, obviously, by saying what’s going on, this Republican Party, Donald Trump’s Republican Party doesn’t care about ideas, doesn’t care about ideology, doesn’t care about conservatism, it is disconnected from conservatism.”

“It’s all tribal,” he continued, “it’s all about voodoo in medicine, violence on Jan. 6, it’s all about covering up actually what Donald Trump is doing, and so Kevin McCarthy resorts to childish name calling for, again, I don’t know what Adam’s lifetime conservative rating is, but Liz’s is 95 percent, one of the more conservative members in the United States Congress, by the way, and so, that’s what they resort to. Why? Because that’s all they have. They don’t have the facts on their side, they don’t have history on their side, so all he can do is act like act like a 3-year-old, or Donald Trump, same thing, and just throw names around. So lots of luck with that.”

“It’s not going to change the fact that four police officers are going to talk about how they were brutalized and almost killed by Donald Trump supporters on Jan. 6, as they were trying to actually overthrow the government and commit sedition against the United States of America and stop the voting, which is constitutionally mandated, of the Electoral College voting,” Scarborough concluded. “But that’s the party that Kevin McCarthy will always be associated with. Lots of luck with that, buddy, lots of luck with that.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.