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Friday, August 18, 2017

When Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona was running for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964, he suggested during an interview that the use of “low yield” atomic bombs in North Vietnam could block off supply lines from Communist China. Despite strong blowback depicting him as a war monger, the rightwing populist won his party’s nod to lead the country. “In your heart, you know, he’s right,” trumpeted his followers.

Supporters of Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded John F. Kennedy after his assassination in Dallas, came up with a counter-slogan for Goldwater: “In your gut, you know he’s nuts.” LBJ crushed him in a landslide.

These days, “nuts” and “insane” and are among the pejoratives regularly lobbed by critics from both parties at Donald J. Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee now notorious for his erratic stream-of-consciousness patter, some of it outrageously vulgar. But does he really dwell in a twilight zone?

His detractors claim he’s mentally and emotionally unqualified to have his tiny fingers on the nuclear trigger, citing as evidence Trump’s extreme proposals — such as building a wall to keep out Mexican “rapists” and other criminals, advocating killing the families of terrorists in the fight against ISIS (he now denies saying this), and claiming he had witnessed thousands of Muslims celebrating the fall of the twin towers on 9/11 — a proven lie. He has also called for violence against protestors at his rallies (“knock the crap out of them, would you?” Trump said during a Feb. 1 event in Cedar Rapids).

On July 12, New York Times columnist Gail Collins told Arthur C. Brook in a published conversation that she expected that the bloviating Manhattan billionaire would prevail at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. But she added. “I actually do have faith that over the next few months people will realize that Trump is, as a potential president, totally bonkers.”

A few days earlier, during a Cincinnati rally, Trump’s commentary seemed unhinged as ever as he praised “bad guy” Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as being “good” at killing terrorists. He also defended an image put out by his campaign of a six pointed star that struck many as anti Semitic, saying he wished it hadn’t been taken down. His rambling speech prompted The New Yorker writer John Cassidy to inquire online: “Is Trump losing it?”

In his article, Cassidy quoted John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a New York Post columnist who had tweeted in part: “The man is a mental patient.” Cassidy also cited Kyle Foley, a commentator for the conservative Web site RedState, who wrote: “If you choose to support Trump, that is absolutely your prerogative, but he has proved tonight (and pretty much every night) that he is absolutely and certifiably insane.”

And so it goes as varied pundits — not mental health experts — describe Trump as a whack job run amok across America. The Trump campaign itself did not respond to questions about his mental state.

A Park Avenue clinical psychologist told The National Memo that Trump “fits to a t” the definition of a person with a narcissistic personality disorder, showing such traits as grandiosity and lack of empathy. She said that “the shoe still fits,” even though that disorder was recently removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders.

Although several prominent therapists went on the record to characterize Trump as narcissistic for Vanity Fair article last November, this psychologist asked not to be identified, apparently fearing reprisals from the candidate. She noted that Barry Goldwater had “successfully” sued a publication —Fact Magazine — for libel after it published a 1964 article polling psychiatrists on his fitness to be president without ever meeting with him personally. She deemed their conduct an ethical breach of medical privacy, one that evolved into the Goldwater Rule issued by the American Psychiatric Association: Never comment on anyone unless you have examined that person. Goldwater had sued the APA for a substantial amount.

Goldwater sued Fact Magazine, its publisher, Ralph Ginzburg and managing editor Warren Boroson for $2 million. A jury awarded Goldwater $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages against Fact and Ginzburg. Fact and Ginzburg appealed the decision, which was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Boroson, who went on to write a syndicated column for Gannett newspapers and to pen about 20 books, said in a telephone conversation yesterday that he didn’t regard Trump as clinically disturbed (but insisted Goldwater was).

“Trump is just a clown and a petty dictator with a monstrous ego. He’s someone who’s been pampered all his life and surrounded by yes men, but I don’t think he’s nuts,” Boroson said. “He has supreme self-confidence. Yes, he changes his mind all the time, but he’s basically just a very shallow person. Shallow is the best description of him. He shares prejudices with a lot of Americans who are in favor of him because he’s rich and they think he’s successful. But he’s going to lose this election badly.”

Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, doesn’t think Trump is crazy either and believes that Hillary Clinton “started” the media commentary that the real estate mogul has lost his marbles. Indeed, Clinton has claimed that Trump is temperamentally unfit to lead the country.

“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different — they are dangerously incoherent,” she said during a foreign policy speech in San Diego on June 2. “They’re not really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.”

Long, who told this reporter last spring that he had never seen a campaign like Trump’s in his lifetime, nonetheless supports him over Clinton. “And I believe the rank and file will endorse Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton will take the country in the wrong direction. The pathway to stop Hillary Clinton is through Donald Trump.”

As for Trump’s mental state, Long said: “I don’t believe he’s mentally unstable. I think that’s a narrative Hillary Clinton began. I know he’s not perfect and says many things that a conventional candidate wouldn’t say. He’s not politically correct. But it’s clear that he has resonated with people across the country. And they’re not all crazy. He speaks his mind and strikes a chord with American people who are fed up with politics as usual.”

Meanwhile, quite a few Republicans are voicing buyer’s remorse about Trump. Some find themselves echoing a Hillaryesque mantra that he’s too much of a volatile drama queen to occupy the Oval Office. One is Republican strategist Evan Siegfried, who announced he was voting for Mrs. Clinton in a May 4 op-ed for the New York Daily News.

Siegfried, 33, author of the forthcoming book, GOP GPS: How to Find the Millennials and Urban Votes the Republican Party Needs to Survive, wrote that many in the GOP were terrified at the prospect that Trump’s candidacy would bring down Republican majorities in the House and Senate. He also said it was “insanity” when Trump insinuated during the primaries that Ted Cruz’s Cuban father had been involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

But in speaking to The National Memo, Siegfried stopped short of saying that he and other Republicans who have turned against Trump consider him out to lunch. “They’re out car shopping because they realize that they’ve bought a lemon,” he said, adding that he decided to support the previously “unthinkable” Hillary Clinton because of Trump’s rants against minorities and his “authoritarian” bent.

“Everything he says reveals character and temperament and gives many Republicans great pause,” Siegfried said in an interview earlier this week. “He’s remaking the party in a bad way. We have worked long and hard to reach out to [diverse] communities. We have had trouble reaching them and Trump has single handedly disintegrated” those efforts.

Siegfried also claims Trump is losing the white collar vote, “a voting bloc which Romney carried and which Trump needs to win.”

Although Siegfried won’t be going to the RNC next week, he fully expects a “Dump Trump” contingent to “voice dissatisfaction. But at the end of the day, he’ll be nominated. I’m a realist.”

Will Trump be able to accept reality if voters reject him in November? Perhaps, but this 70-year-old man who seems intent on imposing his views on the public and appears to identify with William Randolph Hearst, the iconic, lonely-at-the-top publishing magnate portrayed in his later years by Orson Welles in the 1941 film Citizen Kane.

Trump, who has called the film his “all time favorite,” was interviewed about it for a short documentary by Errol Morris.

“Do you have any advice Charles Foster Kane?” Morris asks.

“Get yourself a different woman,” Trump replies, smirking. 

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Copyright 2016 The National Memo

28 Responses to Is Trump Nuts, Or Crazy Like A Fox?

  1. Is Trump Nuts, Or Crazy Like A Fox?

    Top Ten signs that Donald Trump is nuts:

    10) His campaign is offering a free Trump University degree with every vote for Trump

    9) His health care plan includes vaccinations against Mexicans, and separate doctors for Blacks.

    8) His gracious offer to make Chris Christie, Secretary of Donuts.

    7) His forceful insistence that Han Solo is not a war hero because he was captured by Jabba the Hut.

    6) His solemn pledge to the American people that there will be a ten fold increase in the use of the words “huge” and “schlonged” in future State of the Union adresses.

    5) Claims he’s one of the greatest minds of the 12th century.

    4) His secret plan to grind America into the ground and then replace it with a newer sexier country.

    3) His claim that he’ll make waterboarding far classier by using only sparkling Perrier from Trump hotels.

    2) His announced plan to replace NATO with the cast of Celebrity Apprentice.

    and the number one sign that Donald Trump is nuts

    1) Wants to build another wall between earth and space to keep out illegal aliens.

    • Thank you. You should Email that one to David Letterman, just so he can gripe about another $*#*ing Top Ten list.

    • How about his suggestion that if he’s elected he may determine that he doesn’t want to serve as president – and won’t decide on that until after he’s elected and determines just how much work being president may end up being???

      • Absolutely, he has never done a day’s work in his life. He will probably have his kids running the country — better think hard about that. He hires all his work out so he has to do nothing. He only wants the title, not the job. He just has to Win, that is his goal. Hope we don’t end up with Pence for the President because this whimp quits. Hope he is not elected at all. KEEP THIS POS AWAY FROM THE WHITEHOUSE !! He cannot be trusted around nuclear weapon info. Shudder at the thought.


      • I don’t think he realizes that (1) the presidential salary is pretty low compared to what he currently is getting; (2) he won’t be able to just willy hilly fire someone; (3) he’s going to have to take his name off of several buildings and turn over his holdings to his sons; and (4) he won’t like all the work he’ll have to do in the White House and will get bored and testy!!!

    • Trump is indeed nuts but he is also mob lunacy savant. Even though he is just a squatter in the house that The Koch would have, he has benefited from that.

      Koch salted the voters.

  2. I think it was Maya Angelou who said–If someone shows you who they are, believe them. Trump unplugged is who he is.

    • Arent we all? Is what we say in the shower the same as what we say before a group? Doubtful, i think, except Trump.

      • Yah but just about any picture of Trump with his silly childish pouting facial expressions and clownish mannerisms makes me laugh.

  3. Definitely not nuts or insane but definitely cagey. He put to rest long ago the answer to the question of how one creates a popular campaign with very little money. He underspent everyone and bragged about being No.1. The media kept him No.1 by his outragious comments. Free advertising. But like in the movie, The Candidate, there comes a point you have to actually perform. In the movie, the line was (after winning the election), “what do we do now?”

    As far as a campaigning goes he knows what he is doing. As president he is on par with everyone else who didnt have experience first and thats everyone. What was Obamas experience, what was Lincolns? FDR was enormously unqualified but there he was.

    In this campaign you see a person behind you in the checkout line who spouts off whatever is on his mind, vs. Hilllary who has long experience talking to a crowd as a polished presenter. If Hillary dropped the masquerade of being slick, what would she be saying? If the walls could speak……..

    The reference to Citizen Kane is meant to show he is a power maniac but its hardly fair since that and Casablanca are both the greatest movies of all time. if an interviewers favorite movie is also Citizen Kane, what does it say then, or if its Hillarys too? Nothing. “Imposing will on the public?” Hillary wont? Isnt that what every president ever did? Name one that didnt.

    I DO agree he is reshaping the GOP in a bad way. I dont consider him to hold Republican values. He should be Independent. But how is it different on the other side? Bernie should run in the Socialist Party instead of highjacking the Democratic Party to hide in. And who did more to reshape the Democratic party than Obama and Hillary to follow that?

    Myself Im a JFK Democrat, not an Entitled Socialist Democrat. That time, in 1961 (and much later too), god, Constitution and capitalism were still alive; we had the Pledge in the classrooms and our own bathrooms too, and Communism was a bad word. But now those thigns sound GOP, dont they, even though I havent changed anything. People on both sides have forgotten their legacy or if they havent, they have highjacked both parties. See on youtube “kennedy after two years” and “reagan warned us about obama” and see the true party ideals clearly. THATS Republican and Democrat.

    Trump knows he couldnt win as an Independent just as well as Bernie and Hillary knew they couldnt win as Socialists. They would HAVE to choose one of the only two parties you CAN win from and the true ideals of each party have been obliterated. Now its just people running with anything in their heads, not upholding of ideals from which people could make a clear choice.

    • You really should watch this Box. JFK is talking about his medicare and medicaid plans, which were to come about shortly after his death, to LBJ’s enormous credit. However, he’s also talking about a type of American universal health care system which was never realized. Conservatives misunderstand John Kennedy.;_ylt=A0LEViqSwolX2e0AeuMnnIlQ?p=jfk+talks+about+healthcare+to+a+madison+square+garden+audeience+in+1962&fr=yhs-mozilla-003&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-003#id=1&vid=b6d8cd4058f21d1acf50c002741e13c9&action=view

    • You just babble on without a lick of sense, don’t you, Box?

      “If an interviewers [sic] favorite movie is …” That doesn’t indicate the person admires Charles Foster Kane. It usually indicates he admires the quality of the work, the depiction of a sad megalomaniac, a set of brilliant performances, etc.

      But Trump identifies with Kane: that’s appalling.

      You’re welcome to call yourself a JFK Democrat, but I’ve never met an “Entitled Socialist Democrat.” You don’t define your terms, because they’re just made-up blather. And if you imagine, as you seem to, that capitalism is not alive, I don’t know what country you live in. Capitalism — vulture capitalism, as Bernie so rightly called it — is thriving, with the capitalists holding more power over the government, the media, trade, the financial system, and international affairs than even during the Gilded Age. Now it’s international capitalism on steroids — yet you pretend to believe we live in some Socialist hell.

      Hillary Clinton embodies and pursues the principles of the Democratic Party, even while the details and specifics of policy change under pressure from many directions: Bernie’s leftward push, corruption of our trade and monetary structures, equality for GLBT people and the need for Black Lives Matter under an epidemic of police killings of black men …

      The Democratic Party is adjusting to reality and its policies, while trying (not always successfully) to stay true to its principles, which echo and reflect those of the founders: equality and justice for all, and the bedrock of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, i.e. the freedom and opportunity to be the best person one can be in a less-than-perfect world, and to make that world a better place while trying. It’s an aspirational ideal that dreams of the end point of “the arc of justice” rather than a false belief that sometime in the past an ideal world and time existed and that we should go back to it.

      That, Box, is what you want: to go back to your particular little moment of what you imagine was a in ideal world: JFK’s 1961. Before the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Medicare Act were passed; before the end of Jim Crow, before gay liberation, before Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and the women’s liberation movement, before “girls” were allowed to take men’s jobs, and when “the coloreds” were kept in their place.

      So that’s your moment of perfection. Well, the rest of us — including Hillary — have moved on.

      • God, constitution, and capitalism are apparently all dead now according to Box, and people don’t recite the pledge of allegiance anymore while sitting on the toilet. It’s worse than I thought.

  4. Trump is a whole lot smarter then some are giving him credit for. He has gone from being behind 17 other candidates to become number 1. He hasn’t spend nearly the money others have. Don’t just count him out. Even though the FBI let Hillary off the hook, the public hasn’t. Swing states are extremely close in polling. It is still very early, but anything can happen yet.

    • He did that by bullying the other candidates; though they were not good either, some were better than the Frump. He will learn quickly that he cannot bully his way around Washington.


        • Yeah!! Like the 3-year old that he is!! He hasn’t grown up and actually become an adult!!! And that fact that you buy all his BS proves you haven’t either!!!

          You’d actually support a candidate who isn’t even sure at this point if should he be elected that he would actually serve his term??? Wow!! Talk about what a clueless voter YOU ARE!!!

    • No! He didn’t spend that much money because he got tons and tons of FREE PRESS by continuously spouting wackoo absurd BS that a bunch of idiot American’s have bought like a bunch of idiots (you included); and which led the media idiots along like a bunch of puppy dogs!!! Trump hasn’t put together one sane sentence in all the months he’s been campaigning: NOT ONE SANE SENTENCE THAT MAKES SENSE OR HE COULD ACTUALLY BACKUP!!!

  5. Good thinkers are not going to put a crazyman in the White House. There is the most important job presidents do and thats to keep the neuclear code. Trump has proved can’t be trusted to handle such a job.

  6. He’s a Master Manipulator. I hope he goes to jail for all the fraud charges. Too bad he was allowed to manipulate the court to wait until after the election to have the trials. People should know exactly what a fraud he is before they vote for him.


  7. The author says that Trump’s “…. disorder was recently removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders.”

    And if that SOB is elected President, Manuel’s going to removed along with it.

  8. This is a very good piece. I must say, however, that the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is still one of 10 personality disorders listed in the DSM-V. Personality disorders are not regular people; they make up 15-19% of the general population worldwide. It is said that, “They don’t stand out from the crowd because they ARE the crowd.” Of course, 20% is not the crowd, but the crowd of regular people see those with personality disorders as THEY are, projecting into them the self-corrective capacities that the latter lack. Many people have narcissistic features, but only 1% reach the threshold for an NPD diagnosis, and Mr. Trump seems to be one of them. The caution that clinicians not diagnose someone they haven’t examined in their office usually makes sense, given the human capacity to disguise who they are and deceive others, but in Mr. Trump’s case, he represents such an extreme even among NPDs, that his psychopathology is truly blatant to the experienced clinician. Mr. Trump’s infantile omnipotence and grandiosity are in all of us, but his are so unconstrained by an adequate grasp of reality that he actually seems to BELIEVE them. This is not the kind of man who should be allowed to rise to a position of great power. Professor Dan McAdams recently noted that the only President we’ve ever had with Trump’s profile is Andrew Jackson, our 7th President. While Jackson was very destructive, especially to our Native Americans, his power to do ill was only a fraction of what a President today possesses.

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