Trump’s bizarre press conference: Is he mentally ill?

If you missed Trump’s press conference yesterday, you missed one of the most bizarre behaviors of an American President I’ve ever seen. It’s matched in my memory only by Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” assertion, and Nixon’s “I am not a crook” statement.

But this went on for 74 minutes, and if James Joyce could write a press conference in the style of Ulysses, it would be this one. I’ve put the whole video of the press conference below, and reproduced in its entirety the email I got from CNN about the conference. CNN even gave its report the headline I’ve put below (click on screenshot to go to story). And I recommend you click on the link below called “Trump’s most memorable lines,” which include this gem:

“The leaks are real, the news is fake.”
and this palpable lie:
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”


Here’s CNN’s email (I have to say, I feel both revulsion and amusement when the daily bulletins called “CNN Breaking News” show up in my “in” box, for I know it will be yet another report on the progress of the Trump Clown Car):

President Donald Trump launched an extraordinary denunciation of his critics on Thursday, slamming stories that his campaign was constantly in contact with Russia as “fake news.”

Trump held court for an hour and 15 minutes, displaying a sense of anger and grievance rarely vented by a president in public.

Watch the full news conference and read the transcript.

He touted his own poll numbers, victory over Hillary Clinton and discussed cable TV ratings.

Reporters repeatedly pressed Trump on whether his campaign staff had been in contact with Russia, as a widening drama over his alleged connections with Moscow dominates news coverage.

“Nobody that I know of. How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse,” Trump said. “Russia is fake news.”

The real story, Trump insists, are “criminal” leaks from the intelligence community that have illuminated his campaign’s ties to Russia.

“We’ll find the leakers,” Trump told reporters. “They’re gonna pay a big price for leaking.” The White House is considering tapping an outsider, longtime Trump friend Stephen Feinberg, to review US intelligence agencies, US officials say.

Trump offered more made-for-TV moments during his news conference, many of which you’ll have to see for yourself:

Here’s the video: watch and weep:

People are arguing whether Trump is mentally ill or not, and HuffPo even had an confusing (and malicious) article about the issue whose title is given below (the original title was worse, as it didn’t include the word “Psychiatrist:” at the beginning). Click on screenshot to go to the article:


The main argument of that piece is this:

Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, told the newspaper that he wrote the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder ― and Trump doesn’t meet it.

“He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder,” he wrote.

There are a few points to make about this. First, I doubt that Frances has personally examined Trump, so he has no business asserting whether or not Trump has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  Second, Frances has no idea whether Trump suffers “distress” over his personality. Even if he doesn’t, he’s certainly impaired in his interpersonal relationships. Third, Frances is conflating “mental disorder,” “mentally ill” and “narcissistic personality disorder.” Some psychiatrists don’t consider personality disorder a “mental illness” because it’s not as serious as some mental problems, or doesn’t drive people into therapy. Yet NPD is still listed in version 5 of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the gold-standard book mental health professionals use for formal diagnoses. (If you know about the DSM, you’ll know about its disturbing history of changing diagnoses and criteria. As a scientist, I have substantial problems with how it uses a set number of criteria to effect a diagnosis, as I see many mental “disorders” as occurring on a sliding scale with no fixed threshold.)

Is there a difference between being mentally ill and mentally disordered? Well, some people think so, but given that both are based on biological conditions of the brain and physiology that make one behave outside the norm, I think such a distinction is subjective and arbitrary.

But judge for yourself: here are the DSM-5’s criteria for NPD. Does Trump show the symptoms?

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-8-50-29-am screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-8-50-38-am

So does Trump have NPD? I’d say that based on all these criteria, “yes”; but of course I’m not a professional. But I’d also assert (see below), that I don’t really care.

Is Trump mentally ill? Well, that depends on whether you see NPD as a mental illness. It’s certainly behavior that is disturbing and outside the norm, but not as far outside the norm as severe clinical depression or schizophrenia. But you can make the case that this is an arbitrary distinction; after all, if NPD isn’t a mental illness, then a cold isn’t a physical illness, because leukemia or diabetes are more debilitating, and drive people to physicians. Again, I don’t really care whether the answer to this question is “yes” or “no.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter because what we should do is independent of the answers. Trump is not going to get therapy—personality disorders are famously resistant to therapy, anyway—and so our response to his behavior should be to intervene politically, not medically. All we can do is to stop his actions as best we can, and that’s achievable only by political opposition to what he does, not by pondering and diagnosing his psychological makeup. (Of course, if he does have NPD, and if your goal is to rile him up, then are certain things that are more effective than others, like saying that he’s not as competent as someone else, or got fewer electoral votes or smaller Inauguration crowds. To trigger someone with NPD, you impugn their grandiose claims.)

It’s like one commenter yesterday who argued that we’d be more effective at stopping the misogyny of Haredi Jews against secular women (like those on airplanes) if we understood where in religious law and custom those attitudes came from. I doubt that. We stop the misogyny by making rules and laws against it, not by trying to convince the Orthodox Jews that their interpretation of scripture is wrong. Likewise, we must use the courts and our protests, not the ministrations or diagnoses of psychiatrists, to stop Trump from wrecking our country.


  1. Darrin M Carter
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink


  2. GBJames
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Most horrible is that something like a third of the electorate think he’s a great leader.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      It is horrible.

  3. TJR
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Looks to me just like somebody who is used to being surrounded by lackeys and toadies, and who is finding it difficult to deal with not being sucked up to almost all the time.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Well, I suspect many environmental factors can produce NPD.

      • loren russell
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        His first jobs were ‘Boss’s Son’. Decked a teacher in the fifth grade.
        thinks his personal Vietnam was not getting AIDS. So what do you expect when he gets the nuclear football?

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Hard to tell with that. After all, if you have NPD, it’s seems likely you would surround yourself with lackeys and toadies. You wouldn’t want people who would give you push back.

      • eric
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        AIUI this was the first Q&A in a few that he took questions from reporters from ‘unfriendly’ (i.e. non-conservative) media sources. It was the CNN guy, for instance, that called him out on electoral college totals.

        So, now we shall see how Trump responds to that. If he goes back to only calling on reporters from places like FOX and Breitbart, that will say he doesn’t want to deal with push-back. OTOH if next Q&A he calls on outfits like CNN or NYT, then that probably indicates he’s okay with push-back.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Has he had his ass licked for so long by so many toadies that he has bufotoxin poisoning?

  4. Dominic
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I agree – I would be very cautious over this. Can we not just agree to call him a thoughtless, self-serving egoist, who craves attention & is empty on the inside? The DSMMD has been heavily criticised –
    see also –

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, that was my point. All this hand-wringing over mental illness is unproductive.

      • Dominic
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Je compris.
        There is a tendency to medicalize everything, & talk about people being ‘on the spectrum’ is now normal. I suppose we are all ‘on the spectrum’ though! Or maybe I am way off it 😉

      • Scote
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “Yes, that was my point. All this hand-wringing over mental illness is unproductive.”

        Well, the “hand-wringing,” sure. But I think that if he has a disorder that can’t be treated then it is something we need to know. It would mean that Trump’s erratic behavior can’t changed, and thus anyone who expects that Trump’s malignant narcissistic tendencies can be moderated by self-control and/or the right staff is mistaken. Knowing that changing his behavior for the better is impossible would allow us to concentrate on the things that might work, how ever improbable, such as a successful impeachment.

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Disorder or not, I do not see any likelihood that Trump will change to better.

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          If Trump is mentally ill, what does it say about the voters who selected him (including relatives and friends of mine) and, may still be thinking he’s doing a fine job?! He certainly seems to think he is. And blaming all the mess on the previous administration?! Boo Hiss!!

          Trump may be able to surround himself with toadies, but can’t turn the whole country or world into such pathetic toadies. Yay
          for rationality and diversity!

          Sorry. I can’t watch Trump right now. I have AFIB and it gives me heart palpitations; a real serious physical illness.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            Lots of people are taken in by the “charms” of narcissists and sociopaths. When you don’t have the experience of recognizing these people, it’s easy to take their claims at face value.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Having worked with a few narcissists and sociopaths, it’s always nice to know what motivates them so you can manipulate them or at least survive them.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        In my humble opinion,and I believe that I’m not alone,Trump is simply a spoilt child that hasn’t grown up. As others have voiced as an adult he has learned to surround himself with sycophants and people whose beliefs somehow fit in with his universe of beliefs. I think this is how Steve Bannon has managed to ingratiate himself and influence Trump.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Yep. That was my diagnosis. He’s still mentally five years old. He’s learned how to imitate grown-ups sufficiently to function in the adult world, just.

          (Umm, well, I’m not a doctor so ‘diagnosis’ is just a fancy word for ‘opinion’. If Drumpf can have delusions of grandeur why can’t I?)


  5. Cindy
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Take everything Trump says and does with a grain of salt.

    He is an actor. Don’t forget that. He knows how to manipulate the media for clickbait purposes.

    I suspect that he is trying to be clever here by drawing parallels with the corrupt DNC – which did not deny the corruption revealed in the Podesta emails, and instead stated that the real crime was in revealing this corruption…

    To what end? I don’t know. As PCC’s post here exemplifies, people will just think he’s a nut and not make such a connection in their minds.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      No, the “people” Trump cares about will not think he’s a nut. They will think he’s awesome, daring, brave, funny, patriotic, and unafraid to go after their enemies — the liberals, the media, the Democrats, and of course Hillary Clinton. They will applaud, jump up and down, and scream for more. As far as they’re concerned, Trump is like the big brother you always wanted, the one who shows up when the bullies are surrounding you and takes them all out. He’s like the competent Dad who marches into a room filled with chaos and frustration, shouting “OKAY, NOW I’M IN CHARGE EVERYBODY GET TO WORK!” And it all falls into place. He’s the simple solution to problems folks kept saying were complicated — but they weren’t. They just needed someone strong and determined to stride in confidently and fixed them.

      Is Trump have clinical narcissism? Who cares? His fans don’t. He’s their Mary Sue. He’s what and who they want to be. He’s acting out their fantasies.

      • Historian
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        You make a good point in noting that Trump offers simple solutions to complex problems. This is a technique that all demagogues use. They speak in terms that the most unsophisticated and uneducated people will understand. Immigration: build a wall. Obamacare: replace it by some unspecified better program. Foreign trade: make great deals. Entitlements: reduce them because most people who use them are cheats. The media: bad and unfair. ISIS: bomb them to hell. And, yes, Trump supporters will stay with him until they realize that their own personal lives (which is all they care about) isn’t getting any better. If and until that happens, they couldn’t care less about the erosion of democracy or that he has stocked his Cabinet with billionaires and far right wingers that have spent their lives screwing his most ardent supporters.

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          As I may have mentioned before, this is a tactic I absolutely hate. Punish everyone instead of punishing the comparative few who abuse the system. Instead of going after people committing fraud, illegal immigrants who haven’t become legal, etc., etc., punish old people and children, sick people and the poor, any non-wealthy persons who don’t (or can’t) participate in the economy.

          If you have laws and people to monitor and enforce the laws, use them cautiously, effectively, judiciously to deal with the miscreants. Stop wasting your time, for example, on marijuana arrests, convictions and imprisonments. Go for the big, important stuff.

          As to Trump’s business expertise qualifying him for the job he currently holds; big fat raspberry! As we know, he got his first million from his father. He has defaulted on payment to contractors and their employees. He has gone bankrupt many times. He has numerous court cases against him. We don’t need him to do this to the whole country.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        “Trump is like the big brother you always wanted, the one who shows up when the bullies are surrounding you and takes them all out.”

        I think you give him, and his supporters too much credit, implying he’s the good guy who’s going to protect them FROM the bullies. I’d say he IS the bully that the socially, intellectually, or financially challenged wish they could have been, or wish they had as a friend. The one who kicks all the hard working smart kids asses, and steals their lunch money.

        • Sastra
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          I agree that he’s the bully — but my point was that his supporters don’t see it that way. Liberals and Big Government are persecuting them, sneering at them, scorning them. That’s the source of their problems: elitists who think they’re better than them, who don’t work hard, who don’t understand their problems, tying everything up with unnecessary regulations and restrictions which make it impossible for jobs to stay in this country, for honest people to make a profit. American values, like God and the flag, aren’t being respected, either. They can’t do what they want in their own country.

          “Help, help, I’m being repressed!”

          Plus — Islamic terrorism. They want their Big Brother to drop a few bombs on the extremists, who will then slink back to their caves and leave decent people alone.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        What Historian said.

        Also, I watched the response to the press conference on Fox News. They were in paroxysms of joy over it. They loved every minute of it, couldn’t enough of it, thought it was such fun etc. In short, just how you (Sastra) predicted they would react.

        And Trump himself said he was having fun. He thinks nobody notices when he makes a fool of himself over things like the size of his victory or the leaks being real but the information false.

        It’s irrelevant whether Trump has a diagnosable mental condition. We don’t know that and we can’t know that with the information available to us. We do know there’s plenty of evidence he’s incapable of running the country.

        He complains about the Dems not confirming his nominations. However, of the c. 800 second tier nominations that require approval, he has yet to nominate c. 760. The most important national security committee, the deputies committee, is yet to meet because it’s not fully nominated. If there is a crisis around the world, there’s almost no one even nominated to handle it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        I think you perfectly described the allure of the narcissists and sociopath. It’s a lot of fun when they are on your side. Sometimes it’s a bit cringeworthy, but everyone likes someone in their corner to say the rude things to your enemies that your own empathy prevents you from saying.

    • DrDroid
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard Trump described as a clever media manipulator, but I’ve come to think he’s just a run-of-the-mill blowhard who has used his Twittering to hook up with like-minded people. Now he is our President…

      • darrelle
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        I agree that Trump is not a clever media manipulator. It is not particularly clever to figure out that being outrageous will get you air time and doing so isn’t a rare thing.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I agree he’s not a clever media manipulator, but the media by and large haven’t been clever in countering his manipulations. He’s only clever in that he’s more clever than the unprepared media. Though there are signs some are catching on.

  6. Historian
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I agree that it serves no purpose to argue whether Trump fits the definition of a mentally ill person, particularly by laymen with no professional training in the discipline of psychology. The important thing to recognize is that Trump has exhibited, by word and deed, a propensity to authoritarianism, a lack of understanding of the issues, and a willingness to take counsel from people on the far right, e.g. Steve Bannon, General Flynn. All this adds up to the conclusion that he represents a clear and present danger to the security and welfare of the country and perhaps to democracy itself.

    By the way, an article in today’s NYT by Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychology at Cornell, also cautions that even professionals should not diagnose Trump from afar. Friedman concludes:

    “So the nation doesn’t need a shrink to help it to decide whether President Trump is fit to serve, mentally or otherwise. Presidents should be judged on the merits of their actions, statements and, I suppose, their tweets. No experts are needed for that — just common sense.”

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I think an avalanche of press coverage declaring that “Trump’s not crazy, just stupid” is exactly the kind of thing that will enrage him. I welcome it.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Do you really want to enrage someone with an army and nuclear weapons somewhat at his disposal?

        (I am not sure – I don’t know what the effective ways of dealing with him are.)

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          You have a point . Whatever ? He is a time bomb waiting to misfire. He is pathologically flawed and dangerous.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          If he’s busy tweeting he can be kept away from actual governing, which he doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of anyway. The trouble is, that leaves Bannon in charge.

          • Mark R.
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            He’s actually campaigning again in Florida now for 2020. What the fucking hell. Bannon is in charge anyway. He just needs his adoration fix. Emotional-drug addicted prez….great.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      I agree that debating Trump’s mental pathology is distracting. What we need to concentrate on is his actions. While many of us grapple with his psychology, he is busy meeting with Russian oligarchs and doing who knows what else. Don’t pay attention to the side show – look at the main event because your president is compromised by a foreign intelligence agency. That’s scary stuff!

  7. BobTerrace
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    That doctor doesn’t consider Trump’s extreme narcissism is a mental illness because his mental illness of sociopathic behavior gets in the way of him being distressed about his other mental illness.

    Now there is an example of cognitive failure.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I watched an extended interview on CNN two days ago of what I think was a psychiatrist, and he was saying the same thing — Trump is a jerk, a bully, and he fit the criteria of a narcissist, but he did not have NPD. Maybe this was the same person as the above?
    Anyway, he emphasized that a key difference is that people with NPD do a lot of damage to themselves, and generally wind up being ostracized by the people who are closest to them. Trump has certainly not sunk to that, so he does not fit NPD. I see nothing like this criteria in the above description, so I am not sure what to think now.

    • nickswearsky
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      My wife is a mental health professional and she thinks he has NPD (an opinion, not a diagnosis on her part).

      You say “Anyway, he emphasized that a key difference is that people with NPD do a lot of damage to themselves, and generally wind up being ostracized by the people who are closest to them.”

      I would say he HAS been ostracized. He has no real friends. His family sticks by him (although his wife does not srike me as happy) and he is a wealthy boss, so people who work for him put up with his antics. Many reports that he sts in the WH alone at night obsessing over his CNN coverage. His WH staff strike me as people who use such people for their own ends (some of them seem to have personality disorders or sociopathy as well).

      Trump strikes me as a sad, lonely, insecure man.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      My understanding is that psychologists are very reluctant to call anyone “ill” if they seem to be coping in their life, and happy. And the bar for “coping” is pretty low.

      Destroying the country isn’t going to count as ‘not coping.’ Trump can make money, get married, go places, and tie his own shoes. He also seems to be having a ball with the presidency, with of course some annoyances, but hey, he won and he’s the most powerful man in the world so wheeeeee!

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        In most diagnoses – and I see it in the above – there is a “functioning” requirement. If you get along, you’re not ill. (To oversimplify.) The same conversation comes up when we discuss religious beliefs: the hyperreligious are often not diagnosable because they are in environment where they can eat, obtain shelter, etc.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      NPD, I suspect, is like other disorders, OCD, Dyslexia. My son and wife have OCD, but not like my college room mate. I am dyslexic but not in the same manner as my wife or my other son.

      Trump is probably symptomatic of NPD, but mostly just a stupid jerk, bully who has lost most sense of what when he himself is acting.

      In public, he is not capable of being happy. This probably comes from the forced acting bit he needs to maintain: got to keep my game face on, but he has lost the reasons for why he needs a game face.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      When somebody is extremely wealthy and powerful, people will put up with behaviour from them that they will not put up with from a person of average means.

  9. Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    While it isn’t listed in the DSM isn’t one of the hallmarks of NPD an inability to admit and/or know that you’re a narcissist? Aren’t those suffering from NPD so deluded by their own visions of grandeur that they don’t even realize that they aren’t grand? Rarely does someone with NPD seek treatment because they don’t even know that what they are doing isn’t normal. NPD’s seek out those who will enable them to continue in their delusions and if and when any one of them no longer fits that bill they are discarded and discredited?

    I know all of that isn’t in the DSM, but isn’t that part of the condition? And isn’t that what we’re seeing right in front of our very eyes Hey, I’m no psychiatrist either, but I’m also a person with a brain who can see that this behavior is not normal.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      A kind of Dunning-Kruger effect?

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Perhaps. Except that people who mistakenly over-estimate their competence will recognize their lack of ability when placed into a position to see the damage they’re doing. People with NPD are never likely to admit that, they will find someone else to blame for their incompetence.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      There may be other symptoms associated with the condition (in some people), but if they are not listed in the DSM-V, then they are not involved in diagnosis. The DSM-V is a diagnostic manual; it does not include exhaustive descriptions of the conditions, only the factors necessary to make a diagnosis.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Right. My point, which apparently wasn’t clear, is that it doesn’t take a psychiatrist to see that the behavior being displayed isn’t normal and that many people with NPD are never diagnosed because they won’t seek treatment for something they don’t see as a problem. Therefore debating whether or not Trump has this condition is a moot point. He need not be diagnosed with any disorder for people to realize he isn’t fit to be president of the kennel club let alone the United States of America. It’s frightening.

        What is even more frightening is the staggering number of people who actually embrace this behavior and cheer it on.

  10. sshort
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should shift from “illness” to questions of competence.

    Suppose you knew nothing else about him. Never heard of him. And then you’re at a party with Donald and watched him hold forth for an hour in his rambling, incoherent grandiose bellicosity.

    Would you hire him to run a small company? What you trust him to pilot a plane?
    Would you be comfortable if he was your cabbie for an hour?

    And yet, a third of our country sees him admirably qualified to be president. Of course, the GOP and the Kochs and their network have been feeding us a steady diet of incompetents…by design… since Reagan.

    • Taz
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      This is what I was thinking. It’s like he’s decided he doesn’t actually have to put any work into being president – he can just “wing-it”.

  11. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    A 2011 NY Times article stated psychiatrists are behaving unethically (by the standards of their professional organization) if they diagnose someone without examining the person. The decision by the professional bodies came about after Barry Goldwater’s run at the presidency and a survey given to psychiatrists.

    “In 1973, the A.P.A. defined a set of requirements for communicating with the media — the Goldwater rule — stating that psychiatrists can comment on mental health issues in general, but that it is explicitly unethical for them to offer a professional opinion about an individual without directly examining that person and getting his or her permission to comment.”

    I’m sorry but I just can’t watch 77 minutes of Trump. I’m not a masochist.
    I can barely watch five minutes of him.

  12. eric
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hmmm…D could be a sticking point.

    Some level of incoherency is better understood as normative for a 70-year-old’s developmental stage, and narcissism is probably fairly socio-culturally normal for inherited-money bankers. 😉

  13. Carey
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s time to consider the 25th amendment. Although unclear about the specific procedures, it addresses the issue of a president who lacks the capacity to perform the duties of the office. Although not diagnosed with a mental illness, one can make a strong case that Trump lacks the capacity to carry out the duties of the POTUS.

  14. Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I think we now have Captain Queeg in charge of the country. But it is a bigger problem than the imaginary missing strawberries.

  15. bric
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Thought you might enjoy this

    • sshort
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink


    • Sastra
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Okay, now I’ve got a new habit. I’m going to go back and forward between hearing Trump and Cunk.

      Trump and Cunk — hey, that sounds like a duo. If he has to get rid of Kellyanne for her ethics violation, he can hire Philomena!!! To be his spokesperson!!! That would be awesome!!!!

      Trump would be tweeting praise after every Cunk interview. He’d never realize.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Brilliant. Now when I listen to him, I’m going to hear Philomena. He makes about as much sense.

      • bric
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Remember when Peter Serafinowicz re-voiced Trump speeches (usually outrageously camp)? Maybe Ms Morgan could be persuaded . . .

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Yes, Serafinowicz was good, but Cunk would be brilliant.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      That bit really stood out, even in a press conference that was full of comic gold.

      Personally I can only hear those kind of quotes in Zapp Brannigan from Futurama’s voice: It’s just delicious.

  16. Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this!! I write quite a bit about narcissists on my blog My latest post relates to Trump crumpling….everything.

  17. Randy schenck
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks much for weighing in on this matter at this time. I thought the press conference only helped to put a stamp on all the things we have seen and commented on before this. Most of this has been known, if not addressed long before this day and even before his run for the office.

    As said, you don’t need to be a professional to understand serious problems with the behavior and performance of an individual. Many of us have likely seen this type of person, or something similar in their organization. If they get promoted up the ladder within the organization it becomes serious and dangerous. Eventually it damages the firm and the people within it.

    In this case we are talking about the president of the U.S. Who can tell how much damage will be done before it is ended? All I can say is I think this guy is not capable of doing the job. People are already bailing and looking for the door. Those who stay and pretend loyalty will receive much criticism for hanging on. It is going to get worse.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I just don’t think, in my bones, that this can go on: either he steps down/is impeached, or he succeeds in curtailing the freedom of the press to his satisfaction and it changes because there won’t be a press to report critically on him. Either way this can’t go on.
      At the moment things are just so intense, so constant, so dense; the news is so unrelentingly insane – it’s like watching some circus performer riding on a unicycle with fifteen other men on his shoulders while spinning plates. Fascinating for a few minutes but you don’t expect to just sit there watching it for a week non-stop.
      How can the scenes of the last three weeks continue for another two hundred? Or four hundred? And he’s not going to change – he’s plugged into the media, we know that. He’s a publicity whore. He can’t ‘simmmer down’, or duck out of the spotlight like any sane politician would. In his mind he’d stop existing if he did.
      So things will continue like this until he either burns out or succeeds in monstering the very fabric of American society. Either way the current situation is so utterly, utterly insane that it can’t go on. I think he likes this circus of attention, but the average person doesn’t. Even for his supporters it gets to a point where you’re sick of him.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        All true. The only way this can survive with any chance for sanity, would be if, as things get progressively worse, someone within the party is able to take over behind the scenes. I don’t know if this is possible but it is pretty obvious, this guy is not going to make it.

        Remember, he has not so much as run any company of any size in the real world. He has only been in charge of and operated Trump inc. which is really pretty small and not so complicated. Also, does not answer to anyone and surrounded by yes men. No stock holders, no board, nothing but I am the boss and the smartest guy in the world. Now, here he is, in charge of the largest government in the world, with an executive branch alone of thousands. So far he has failed to even begin to fill the appointments that must be filled, such as under secretaries and so on to make various agencies function. His latest pick to replace the failed security adviser said no. Who the hell would want that?

        Does his Vice President even have the guy’s ear and if so, does he really know what to do? We can only look to him right now because that is where the fix should come from but I see little hope there. He is mostly a religious conservative with limited abilities at this level. In the end, Trump may not be capable of taking advice from anyone. Who would go up to him right now, as an adviser and say, hey boss, your wall is not going to happen. Your replacement health plan does not exist. All of your appointments are going unfilled and your office is a mess.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know who would. Clearly very few Republicans.
          OTOH, the sheer chaos of the last three weeks has certainly hurt him with his more moderate supporters, much as he’d die before admitting it. I think the shift away from him, if it happens, will happen invisibly and silently. Behind the scenes people will talk, even the Repubs, and a tipping point will hopefully be reached. Then people will start turning their back on him quite quickly, and in public. Because it just can’t go on. Not like this. I wake up every morning and go to the Guardian or the BBC news section, confident that something mental will have happened overnight. And I’m never disappointed. It’s like the world’s most consequential soap opera.

          His only hope is some kind of national emergency which would give him the excuse to go in and start stripping away people’s rights, but the way the American democratic system, legal system and free press have collectively reacted to Trump’s presence has been enormously reassuring. It’s been a test of the country’s immune system and so far it’s been pretty robust. For that reason I’m cautiously optimistic that his authoritarian impulses will be stymied before they get off the ground.

          As for Pence – anyone, literally anyone, is an improvement of Trump*. My mother spoke with some American friends of hers and is now convinced, based on their words, that there were plenty of other Republican candidates who were “even worse”. They told her that Ted Cruz would’ve been much more dangerous than Trump, due to his conservative religious stance. I respectfully, strongly disagree. The difference between Trump and everyone else is that the damage the latter can do is bounded by their personality types. Your typical politician is not going to launch a nuclear war, destroy Nato, get blackmailed by a foreign superpower after enagaging in pee-fun with hookers, deport people using the national guard, insult America’s most staunch ally, get into a cold war with his own intelligence dept…etc.

          So I think Pence is bad, but within the normal parameters of what we usually mean when we use that word.

          *except Bannon.

          • Randy schenck
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I see no chance that Bannon would or could do anything good here. I think it must come from people/congressmen from within whatever is left of the republican party. You know the ones we use to think were really terrible but now don’t look so bad. However, if Trump fights like a dog to hold on, Impeachment may be the only recourse. The fact of the matter is – the voters have really done it this time and our Constitution has only article five to fall back on.

            I am currently reading a book that includes the 1787 meeting in Philly. It was kind of funny how the debate went when they started working on that executive section and what kind of thing should it be. Should there be one guy or maybe three. What powers? How much? Some of it was hard to talk about for some because the guy they knew would be the first president, if that was what they called him, was sitting right there in the room. Damn, where is George Washington when we need him?

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

              Yes. I hope one thing that comes out of this is that we’ll hold off on using hysterical, sanctimonious adjectives to describe normal conservatives like Romney and McCain and Bush. Because when someone like Trump comes along our political language is by that point so debased as to be empty of meaning.

          • Harrison
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            What I expected of Trump was to simply let his handlers run the government and be a figurehead. That would have been bad enough, but as you say, it would have been bad within our usual conception of bad. In other words, standard Republican politics. A return to the Bush years with Pence in lieu of Cheney.

            I grossly underestimated his ego.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

              That’s what I was expecting too. I was *not* expecting the plane’s owner to insist on piloting it himself.

              Hey, that’s a thought! Air Force One… with a little encouragement… too bad about the crew, of course…


              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:55 am | Permalink

                I like that. Someone should plant the idea in his head. Tell him the public think Harrison Ford would be a better president, hint hint.
                OTOH I have a horrible feeling he’d emerge from any subsequent wreckage alive, like the T-1000.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

                Now that’s a thought. The T-1000, I mean. The Drumpf is an alien planted by the Lizard Confederation to bring about the end of civilisation. Shoot him and you’ll see the shiny metal underneath.

                They’ve got the simulation-of-a-yooman about 95% right, I’d say.


  18. Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    This is a great example of people who live in different realities seeing what they expect to see. I saw a completely different event. Trump’s behavior was just his regular manner. He is different from other politicians — he talks like most people do, not watching every word. Sure, he’s narcissistic, exaggerates and makes a mistake here and there. So what? That’s just him. Nothing new here.

    I think his opinion about the leaks (criminal) and the media (aligned to bring him down) are pretty accurate.

    I’m not a big Trump supporter. I voted for Bernie in the primary. But I don’t see a crazy person as liberals do. Yeah, I wish he was a little more dignified, but I can put up with that if he keeps us out of WW3, where the Neocons and Neolibs would take us, given their reins.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand. First of all, he’s the President of the Unites States. He *needs* to watch every word. A poor word choice could have disastrous consequences. Secondly, there is a big difference between making “a mistake here and there,” which everyone does and having no regard for the truth. He says things that are demonstrably false all the time. He’s either lying or he just doesn’t care about being factually correct. Both are huge problems in the President of the United States.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      “We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”

      How can a president who says things like this possibly lead you to think he of all people could keep us out of WW3? This is someone with a child’s understanding of the world.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Yes, exactly. He said many very dangerous things yesterday: bomb the Russian ship out of the water, veiled threats towards N. Korea and Iran, joking about uranium & nukes. Just to name a few. The guy is totally unhinged and to say that he would “keep us out of WW3” is a fantasy wrapped in a pipe dream covered with wishful thinking.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Nothing new here.

      That’s a serious problem though. There was an article today stating even the Russians are getting skeptical of his dependability. Which is no surprise, given that he didn’t know what START was and then tried to paint over this fact by calling it a bad deal he was going to fix. (Pro Tip: telling the world’s owner of the largest nuclear arsenal that you think the keystone strategic arms reduction treaty is a bad deal for America is nearly tantamount to telling them you plan on building up your own arsenal).

      Heck, even Trump’s supporters acknowledged during the campaign that his manner was inappropriate for a President; they excused it because they said it was a campaign tactic he would put aside once he won. ‘Just you wait and see, he can be Presidential!’ was the attitude. Well, we waited. His manner was not a tactic…but it’s still inappropriate for a President.

      Look, if the best defense you can muster is ‘well, he’s just acting like he did before,’ at least realize that that doesn’t excuse bad conduct, it merely attempts to normalize it.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        It’s not just, “he’s acting like he did before.” It’s also, “he talks like most people do.” Yes. Most poorly educated, unthoughtful, inarticulate people, who are completely unqualified to be the President. This idea that a “regular guy” would make a good president is as dangerous as it is idiotic. I only wish his voters could suffer the consequences of his “win” without bringing the rest of us down with them.

        I put “win” in quotes because Clinton still got more votes than he did, even with the Russians helping him.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          I think the average ‘regular guy’, if suddenly told ‘you’re President’, would have the common sense to be careful what he said, listen to advice, and generally not make an ass of himself.

          (I said the average one, admittedly there’s a percentage of sociopaths. Unfortunately you’ve got one right there).


    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “I think his opinion about the leaks (criminal) and the media (aligned to bring him down) are pretty accurate.”

      The leaks happened to HRC and he loved it then. In fact he encouraged it.

      I know other people who are convinced the media are aligned to bring him down. Why? To what end? I had someone tell me the media has an agenda. When I asked them what the agenda was they couldn’t tell me. So I’ll ask you: why does the media want to bring him down?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        “why does the media want to bring him down?”

        ‘cos the media aren’t stupid and he’s an obnoxious dangerous asshole?

        (Actually, the caricature-of-the-media that loves a sensational train wreck should be wanting him to stay in power. The disaster that keeps on giving. But I think the real media are better than that).


    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Oh for fuck’s sake, not the ‘WW3’ thing.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a big Trump supporter.

      So you’re still a little supporter then?


      And you think the media is aligned to bring him down? What proof do you have of that? Leaks are only criminal if they contain classified material. So far, I haven’t seen any proof of this, you?

    • Jeremy Tarone
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Nobody I’ve ever met or seen, not average people, not white collar, not blue collar, not politicians, not wealthy people, have talked like Trump or made claims to be the greatest at pretty much everything they say they are doing, did or are going to do.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Keep us out of WW3? He wants to “bomb the hell” out of the Middle East.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      So you must have seen Trump not answer a simple yes or no question and then pivot.

  19. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Philosophy professor Aaron James wrote a book called Assholes: A Theory (published in 2012), and he mentions Trump on the first page. An updated version for 2016 got retitled Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump. In his final week of hosting The Daily Show, Jon Stewart lamented that he was leaving at a time when the Trump candidacy was a comedic gold mine and he wouldn’t be on the air to harvest from it. He said that if Trump would be elected, the US would go from “…having an African-American president to having an Asshole-American president.”

    That word is as good as any for describing the disaster that is Trump.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Very funny…”having an African-American president to having an Asshole-American president.”
      It could be said he is growing the clinically depressed of America, does he have stocks in drug or alcohol companies?
      I am alarmed at the humour of this circus is lulling our collective sensors to the dangers. As the Prof (E) keeps reiterating, we, being American citizens and us, the rest, have to trust the US political system and laws to hold him in check.
      As for a diagnosis of his mental state, American Asshole will do for now.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      I miss Jon Stewart but there have been some good jabs at T***p on the Stephen Colbert show. A recent one was a vignette with Jon Batiste celebrating Black History Month with this singular highlight – “Donald Trump is not black!”

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        Don’t know why, but that bit made me think of Jimmy Carr saying Hitler wasn’t all bad ‘because he did kill Hitler’.

  20. Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    The thing about Trump I find most amazing is his belief that the media consists of haters intentionally trying to make him look like an idiot. It’s impossible, if honest objective reporting is employed, for him not to look like an idiot. I’m reminded of the campaign when some complained Trump was disproportionately ridiculed, when in fact it was simply a matter of his being disproportionately ridiculous.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      He also doesn’t seem to recognize he’s in a sort of feedback loop. The more he lies, the more likely the media is to suspect the next claim is going to be a lie and immediately check it, which causes more lies to be found out. If 80-90% of the stuff he said was true, they probably wouldn’t call him on any of the other 10-20% – the feedback loop also works for a President, if his words are mostly trustworthy. But when not, it works against him.

  21. bric
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Imagine the poor translators!

    “He is so overconfident and yet so logically unconvincing that my interpreter friends and I often joke that if we translated his words as they are, we would end up making ourselves sound stupid,”

  22. HaggisForBrains
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Can anyone help me here? I read the transcript (quicker than listening, and not as painful), and frequently saw “(ph)” in the transcript. What does this mean?

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      ph means it’s spelled phonetically. It’s an instance where a writer doesn’t know the exact spelling of a name, so they spell it as it sounded with the “ph” being a caveat.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Not quite the same as ‘expletive deleted’ then.

        But at least Tricky Dicky knew how to speak and behave properly in public.


      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Mark

  23. Kevin
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The real sticking point here is that in most organizations, Trump’s behavior would not be successful.

    If he worked at Starbucks, the other baristas would have asked not to work with him. If he worked on a farm, his cowboy mates would hook him onto the nearest tree.

    And if he worked for the government, he’d have already been let go for sexual harassment.

    About a third of my country thinks this is not just ok, but admirable.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      If he worked on a ranch, he’d be “Curley,” the resentful, insecure, pugnacious owner’s son in Of Mice and Men.

  24. Craw
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I think posting and diagnosing from the DSM is absurd. When I saw this done before I asked my friend, who was head of psychiatry at a major metropolitan hospital, what he thought of it. He was blunter and ruder. This is not serious debate.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      “This is not serious debate.”

      If so, it is because Trump is a fundamentally unserious person. He has never before given meaningful thought to public policy or to the functioning of government or to international relations. And he shows no inclination, or capacity, for doing so now.

      Trump is a creature of choreographed “reality” tv and the tabloid media — of the New York Post‘s page six, of Us Weekly, of Access Hollywood. He is incapable of intellection beyond the level of brand-names and slogans.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Mention of ‘reality’ TV (which I loathe) leads me to ponder – does anyone here think Kim Kardashian wouldn’t do a *better* job as POTUS?


  25. Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that talk of his mental stability is entirely worthless. His mental stability is just one more thing that the public and their reps in Congress should be on high alert about whenever the Orange-Haired Shit Gibbon proposes anything. He’s a danger to everyone because of his ignorance, arrogance and delusional thinking.

    Should it be obsessed over? No. But I don’t believe that its effectiveness should be dismissed entirely either. The more people who come to view the moron as also unhinged, the better.

  26. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Donald Trump has all the seething resentment of Richard Nixon, but wears it much closer to the surface. Plus, he has none of Nixon’s baseline competency in matters of government. As many of us noted during the campaign, Trump is utterly unsuited and unqualified for the office of our presidency — by experience, by learning, and most certainly by temperament, all of which was on ample display in this news conference.

    When Trump talks about “making American great again,” it’s always in terms of wealth or military might or power exercised over others — always an appeal to the citizenry’s fears and anxieties, never an appeal to our sense of fairness or justice or compassion. He never speaks to the better angles of the American nature.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Hear hear. It’s as if Americans want to be bullies. That is not great.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Nixon also supported the EPA.

    • Rick Graham
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Selective listening…

      He spoke about DACA and inner cities. Inner cities under the previous administration have gotten worse.

      Last Republican mayor:
      Chicago – 1927
      Baltimore – 1963
      St Louis – 1943
      Detroit – 1957
      Philadelphia – 1947
      Minneapolis – 1957
      Oakland – 1966
      Seattle – 1952

      You are saying we need more of the same?

      Military power. The previous president gutted the military. But we should lead NATO?

      Qualifications. The last guy was a community organizer and one term senator. No executive experience. Did experience bother you then?

      Governability. The last guy lost over a 1000 democratic legislative and governorships nationwide. The best and brightest now are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

      Remember when Obama went to Britain and shamed them about Brexit. If you do it, you’ll have to go to the back of line on trade. Bully.

      Look I voted for the last guy the first time. I fell for his charm and soaring rhetoric. He was an empty suit.

      Maybe we can get something done now. If the left continues to pee in their pants for the next four years. Four will be eight.

      Trump is not a Republican. He’s an outsider. Hopefully he’ll bust up the status quo. If you want to debate him on issues. Fine. But all presidents are narcissistic. Get over it.

      • Kevin
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Obama did nothing substantive to the military. For all practical purposes he did nothing to reduce nuclear footprint either. Obama also said he would someday see his dead grandmother. A child’s response. He also refused to condemn any religion.

        Obama may have been a coward, but he was not a narcissist.

        For you, maybe, presidents stand for issues. They have never stood for issues for me, not in my lifetime. But Trump is an asshole and it gives me great pleasure to demean him for the remainder of his ruthless existence.

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        1. Inner cities: The inner cities have deteriorated largely due to loss of American jobs with good wages. NAFTA, et al, occurred before Obama and he ended up with the fall out.

        2. Military power: The gutting of the military has occurred time and again throughout American history. We build up, we pare down. Over and over. Now we just leave costly equipment on the battlefield or distribute it to police departments, and order new, very expensive toys.

        3. Qualifications: Even with what you are presenting as a dearth of qualifications, Obama had more of them than Trump, by far.

        4. Governability: The Koch brothers, other ultra-wealthy individuals, and far right organizations have been working for at least forty years to replace Democratic federal, state, county elected officials, and judges to far-right Republicans. Obama didn’t do it.

        5. Brexit, Empty Rhetoric, Left Peeing: Not worth comment.

        6. Outsider: Trump is not anything but Trump and, as you say, narcissistic. In fact, “ultra narcissistic”. A “narcissisist’s narcissisist”. I do not agree that “all presidents are narcissistic.”

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          One more thought: Can you imagine Trump as President during the Civil War, WWI or WWII?
          May we not have him as President for a war.

          • Veroxitatis
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            Obama’s academic career gave him the basic ability to think in a structured, logical manner. Trump is just the guy in the bar after a few drinks.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        You’re correct that Trump is not a standard-brand Republican; he’s an ethno-nationalist — and the epitome of the paranoid style in American politics.

        He earned his base in the Republican party with his asinine “birther” claim, which he flogged for five years on his way to the GOP nomination. He claims that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrated in New Jersey on 911, that Ted Cruz’s father participated in a conspiracy to assassinate JFK, that there was massive voter fraud in the last election, with 3 to 5 million illegal aliens voting for his opponent. He regularly re-tweets ludicrous items from National Enquirer. He appeared on Alex Jones’s Inforwars show to praise the host, and has given credence to his anti-vaxxer theories and claims that Antonin Scalia was assassinated by pillow.

        All of this may or may not qualify him for a diagnosis under the DSM-5. It definitely makes him a dangerous demagogue, a moral cripple, and an intellectual nincompoop.

  27. Hempenstein
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Hard to imagine that until this coming Tues he will have been in office less time than Wm Henry Harrison. With all the drama, seems more like two yrs already.

  28. Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  29. Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    But this went on for 74 minutes, and if James Joyce could write a press conference in the style of Ulysses, it would be this one.

    Finnegans Wake might be more apt.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, that presser went from swerve of shore to bend of bay and back again.

  30. Rick Graham
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Journalism 2008-2016: He totally used a selfie stick while doing NCAA brackets SQUEE!

    I feel a tingle up my leg.

    What enchanted you the most from serving in this office?

    Journalism 2017: We are your Last Sentinel, citizens.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Sure you want to invite such an unflattering comparison upon your guy?

      There’s always Fox News; they remain tumescent for Trump.

      • Rick Graham
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        One vs. six (PBS, NBC, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC). Yes. That look unflattering to your side because they couldn’t do him in.

        And how many papers?

        Do you ever wonder why the media’s approval rating is down around 10%? Trump’s correct. The public gets it.

        • mikeyc
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          So what are you saying? All those networks and all those papers are reporting “fake news” or are being unfair to Trump? All of them? Or only some of them? If so, which ones?

          The media may deserve low approval ratings but you have not established that anti-Trump bias is the cause. Not even close.

          • Rick Graham
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Every one of those six media outlets are certainly dubious. They have lost credibility because they hold people with different political leanings to different standard. Is everything fake? Of course not.

            How did those six report this story?

            They didn’t.

            Where is the media pushback on those calling the election invalid? Or for Trump’s impeachment. Where are democrats denouncing ‘Berkeley’? Why is it ‘protesters’ on the left when they use violence?

            Tons of these youtubes out there. Tell me who’s biased.

            Why do you think the media has such a low approval rating?

            • mikeyc
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

              “How did those six report this story?

              They didn’t.”

              You should really do some basic googling first before you make these claims. Literally one minute of googling…

              Here is ABC news reporting on this

              Here is NBC’s coverage;

              I don’t need to go on, but just in case you think all “those papers” didn’t cover it either here is the NYTimes and Reuters;

              I won’t bother with the rest of your post.

              • Rick Graham
                Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

                Hilarious. Irony is lost on you. 200 words. Front page? For days?

                Look at these hard hitting headlines.

                “Microphone Catches a Candid Obama”

                “Obama tells Russia’s Medvedev more flexibility after election”

                “Obama Asks Medvedev for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense”

                “Obama overheard telling Medvedev he needs ‘space’ on missile defense”

                Now imagine a President with an (R). Same treatment? I think not. And neither do you, if your honest.

              • mikeyc
                Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

                I can’t reply to Rick’s post below mine for some reason so I’m putting this here.

                Rick Graham wrote;

                “Hilarious. Irony is lost on you. 200 words. Front page? For days?
                Look at these hard hitting headlines.
                “Microphone Catches a Candid Obama”
                …..(snipping other examples)….
                Now imagine a President with an (R). Same treatment? I think not. And neither do you, if your honest.”

                This was NOT your claim. This was your claim;

                “How did those six report this story?

                They didn’t.

                All I need is to show ONE network that covered this to refute your claim. I showed two. Your claim is refuted. QED.

                So what about the rest of your comment? bBasically you’re whinging that you didn’t think the coverage in 2012 was harsh enough on Obama. That’s your opinion and it’s worth exactly as much as any one else’s opinion. Which is to say not much.

                But I will point out that the reporting recently around the Trump administration talking to the Russians before the inauguration centered on Flynn’s mischaracterization (lies) about the conversation he has with the Russians and Trump’s subsequent firing of Flynn. That IS an important story that called for extensive air.

                The two story lines -the president elect talking to Russians before his inauguration and a potential (Flynn had not yet been appointed) member of the president elect’s staff lying about his pre-inauguration meeting with the Russians to the V.P. elect, the President elect and to the American people and THEN Trump’s subsequent firing of Flynn- differ significantly in newsworthiness. No amount of partisan spin you can put on it can hide that fact.

            • Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

              Remember that time that a bunch of right-wing “protesters” forcibly occupied a Federal facility. The feds just stormed in there, guns blazing, and just trampled over all their rights???
              Oh, wait…
              That’s not what happened at all.
              I guess that’s just a case of “alternative recall.”

            • GBJames
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

              It isn’t the job of “the media” to push back at calls for impeachment. It is their job to report on the calls. It isn’t their job to push back on people who call the election invalid, it is their job to report is such calls are being made.

              I think, Rick, that you are confusing the job of journalist with the job of propagandist. Fox has pretty much erased the distinction. Most of the main stream press still recognizes the difference. (You may know them as the “lame stream media”.)

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

                To me, anyone spending much time watching Fox News is not seriously interested in actual journalism at all. They are primarily an entertainment channel, created for the hard core republican audience. A propaganda media machine for the right. But please do not refer to it as journalism. Journalism is hard to find these days but it is not on this channel. To think it is would be like thinking the trump executive club is running like a fine tuned machine.

  31. Posted February 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Trump, his behavior and comments do not disturb me nearly as much as listening to those who continue to believe in him and support him. I tend to be middle in the road as far as my politics. Socially liberal but somewhat conservative in my other beliefs. Perhaps I’m just to thoughtful and open minded. However you cannot escape people deluded by their culture and upbringing. Trying to change a person’s opinion is a bitch and sometimes an impossible task. I wish I could sit back and watch the circus.

    Nie moj cyrk, nie moje malpy! I wish.

  32. J. Quinton
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The above link is a ranking of the top 15 most bizarre WWF interviews.

    Why is this relevant?

    Did you know that our current president guest starred on a wrestling program?

    Donald Trump’s greatest WWE moments.

    I’ve watched a lot of wrestling interviews in my youth. Donald Trump’s press conference, aside from the official setting, fits right in with the rest of crazy/antagonistic wrestling interviews.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Trump sedulously follows the wrestling world’s Rule #1: Never break kayfabe — never let the suckers in on the scam.

      Seems to be the only rule he’s able to muster the discipline to follow.

      • Kevin
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        All the world’s a stage…

        We need to convince this lunatic that all the men and women are real and he’s serving a dish of unrecoverable tragedy.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Are there *any* suckers so dumb as not to realise, sooner or later, that the whole wrestling thing is staged? Faked? Fixed? A set-up? Phony? (choose preferred adjective).


        • nicky
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

          Yes, my six year old (although I wonder if he doesn’t start to realise it might be fake fighting).

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:25 am | Permalink

            I suppose I’d better make an admission – when they first started showing it on TV I presumed it was for real. (Not that I watched it for preference, but if it came up on the channel…) But I don’t think it took me very long to wonder how you could smash a chair over someone’s head without causing them serious damage…


        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          I suppose most of the fans engage in the willing suspension of disbelief. But were the WWE openly to acknowledge the pretense, it would break the spell and bankrupt the business.

  33. Posted February 17, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to guess what is going through the minds of the Disney Imagineers who are working on DJT’s Audio-Animatronics to be placed in the Hall of Presidents.

    “I was the best of all presidents, nobody came even close to how great my presidency was. Very Awesome.”

    • Merilee
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      You’d need at least two “verys”.

  34. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    IMO, there’s a limited usefulness to psychological profiling, but as a covert tactic designed to figure out how best to demoralize your opponent. We did this with the Nazis in World War II.

  35. Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I realize that I should probably be concerned with other things right now, but I can’t wait to watch Saturday Night Live this weekend. The entire cast and writing staff probably watched that presser while furious scribbling jokes on their note pads the entire time.

  36. Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    As a mental illness sufferer and an ex-mental health worker, I am sick of hearing Trump accused of having a mental illness. It is used in a very abrasive way with every implication that people with mental illness are “less than” in our society. If Trump does have a mental illness does that take away from his personhood? I would love to hear the headline “First U.S. President with mental illness elected” in a celebratory nature. Just as we would have seen for women if Hilary had won. In my opinion using “crazy” or “mentally ill” as an attack is discriminatory. Isn’t that what many hate Trump for, discriminating against women, immigrants, etc?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      If calling Trump crazy or mentally disturbed offends you, that is too bad because it is not stated to offend anyone. It is attempting to describe the extreme behavior of this person and these are general, normal terms that will be used to attempt some kind of reasoning for the behavior seen. If you have been witness to all of this and watched the entire video today, please tell us what terms are favorable to you. Most here are not medical professional, nor do we get the chance to look at any medical analysis that might someday be done on this guy. Would it be worse to say, oh well, we just have a president who is nuts but we sure do not want to offend anyone?

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t watched the video yet. But I will try my best to. I have been trying to follow what is happening with his presidency so far. I think that it is a horrifying thing to have him for our president. I believe it is the result of many terrible decisions, from the voters, to the Republican party, to the Democratic party. I agree it is normal to try to find terms to explain the horrifying things that are occurring as a result of these decisions. I am not completely innocent in using ambiguous terms to describe our president. However, we have gotten to the point where professionals are speaking up and saying, that in their opinion he isn’t mentally ill. Yet, people are still saying that he is. It reminds me of when shootings happen and people automatically jump to blaming mental illness. Personality Disorders are highly stigmatized and interfere with an individuals ability to live a happy life. They are also just unlikable characteristics of people’s personalities that psychiatrists decided, if intolerable enough, should be classified as an illness. Is he a narcissist? Absolutely. Does he have NPD? I don’t think so. Sorry. Just my opinion. We need answers for how this happened. We need someone or something to blame. Now we have made it down the line to mental illness.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      “I would love to hear the headline “First U.S. President with mental illness elected” in a celebratory nature.”

      That would entail, IMO, that the person was aware of their illness and was trying to do a good job in spite of it (and was, probably, having treatment for it).

      It would hardly be celebratory if the person was an obnoxious asshole and a pathological liar.


  37. Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    One Press Conference, Two Audiences. Viewers who watched it themselves saw a rambling, misleading performance. But those who relied on conservative cable newscasts or talk radio hosts got a very different impression.” writes Conor Friedersdorf for the Atlantic, and lists first a few “highlights” of what Trump said, and then how it came across to conservatives. Two excerpts:

    Folks, it was masterful. It wasn’t scripted. It was nothing that the president had to think long and hard about. He didn’t have to make notes and memorize them and go out. It was improv. It was spontaneous. We had a caller in the last half hour who mentioned how good that was. It was the truth. When you’ve got the truth and when you’re telling people the truth of what you really think, you don’t have to remember it. –Rush Limbaugh


    Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.” — New York Post

    (more in the Atlantic article)

    Off the cuff and honest even if inaccurate to some, rambling and misleading to others.

    But it seems many go by gut feeling, and how something comes across, i.e. spin. How something is sold matters, as long as it touches on the vaguely plausible, like the dichotomy that it is honest, because it’s not read off page, and conversely dishonest when eloquent (or scripted).

    Of course, I found Trump incoherent and think he’s a true bullshiiter who doesn’t have a conception of truth and just says what he needs for the moment. For all his life, truth was probably never a concern.

    • Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Look at the comments on YouTube for this video, and the proportion of likes to dislikes (900 likes to 300 dislikes at the time I looked). You are right, a huge section of the population (much more than 1/4) judges him by how well he gives voice to their own prejudices and beliefs, which were in turn carefully cultivated by the Republicans over the last decade or so.

  38. Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    First, I doubt that Frances has personally examined Trump, so he has no business asserting whether or not Trump has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

    I have seen this argument used a lot, but cannot find it very convincing. While there is certainly an argument to be made that it isn’t professional to make an assertion on public figures without having examined them in the same way one would normally examine a patient, I think that a public figure does often provide enough evidence to base such an assertion on.

  39. Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Personally, i just think Tr#mp’s an asshole.

  40. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Tweet from Robert Reich – Trump is the “decoy” :

    I spoke w/ my friend, a former GOP congressman, who’s as worried as I am about Trump’s mental state & potential ties to Russian operatives.‬

    ^^^^ try to read this pic, a dialogue with Reich – I couldn’t check the link well at all. I’ll try to get a better one later if it’s not working. They do this on Twi##er to exceed the word limit.

  41. nicky
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Trump definitely is a narcissist, very much and obviously so, whether he classifies as NPD is not really relevant here and we should allow the shrinks some turf too 😆.
    I also suspect he has early maturity onset Alzheimer’s (aka senile dementia), but that is but a suspicion based on his unhingedness and repetitions.
    As noted above, his rant was not all bad, especially the first four minutes, and the rest not bad to his support base.
    Early on he mentioned something about scrapping a plane, would that be the F35? A good scrapping that would be (immo).

    Bizarre as this press conference was, it was not half as bizarre as the non-rape charges in the next post.

  42. Helen Hollis
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    We are obsessing here over things we can not control and wasting precious time not doing what we can control. We need to gather together and figure out how to get more people registered to vote, we have to get moving. We don’t have much time.

    • Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      You’re so right about taking positive action to improve voter registration. I would suggest too that liberal-minded citizens actively campaign for their preferred Democratic candidates at all the various levels of government. The Tr**pkins were not just voting; they were actively spreading the word during the campaign, actively campaigning against Hillary, and bringing more and more people around to their way of thinking.

  43. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Nixon :

    “Never forget,” he tells national security advisers Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig in a conversation on December 14 1972, “the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times.”


    Jefferson :
    “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

    From letter to Edward Carrington


  44. Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    When I did my psychiatric clinical nursing rotation at Bellevue, NYC decades ago, the approach to mental illness did not include spectrums or the concept of high/low functioning. Being crazy meant that one did not differentiate between fantasy and reality which to this day is how dementia of various kinds is still defined. As confusing as these new dimensions to how mental illness is viewed, including that it should not be stigmatised and needs to be considered as a physical illness as the brain is the seat of the problem, the aim is to understand how to do better interventions.

    High conflict personalities, signifying that the position on their interpersonal dial is set as being problematic for cooperation and progress, present difficulties that are vague compared to a clearly demented person. Such personalities thrive on chaos, attention, and confusion. Thrive in the sense that they won’t move that dial because being there is egosyntonic, that is, it matches the drives of that ego (many of these disorders have high inheritability and are related to levels of neurotransmitters, cerebral anatomy and physiology, etc.) Therefore, there are no motivational reasons for them to change because any problems they are experiencing is viewed as not coming from them. Others are the problems, like the media in Trump’s case. Personality disorders number 10 and are divided into three clusters. Trump is suspected of belonging in the emotional/erratic category of cluster B (rather than A/weird thinking or C/pesky behaviours): narcissistic, histrionic (he shows traits of this one also), borderline, and anti-social.Such people, despite having the trappings of success or perhaps because they do, cause significant psychological stress for others. They do not have to be diagnosed by a professional for a layperson to see their unhealthy pattern of relating to others, thereby allowing that layperson to protect themselves from becoming entangled in a world of crazy-making nonsense, looped to go on forever.

    Regarding President Trump, implementing amendment 25, makes sense and can be done without having a diagnosis of crazy for him, but instead be based on that he is incompetent because of his unproductive actions. Also all of us who are being adversely affected by his antics, and not only directly by his inconsistent approach to leading America, need to do pro-active, anti-stress interactions with this one-person circus to keep ourselves from becoming egodystonic. Such ways are as various as the person. So the approach is two-fold, work to get him out of the presidency or at the very least of containing the damage, and to protect our own mental health by accepting that he has no insight that he is the problem. Bon courage and bonne chance to us all.

    • Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your insights. That was very well expressed and very helpful.

  45. Mike
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what a Psychiatrist would make of him.but we have a phrase over here that may fit “The wheels turning,but the hamsters dead” or “He’s a few slices short of a loaf”

  46. Christopher Bonds
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I read this morning of a theory that Trump may have untreated syphilis, which can cause Trump-like symptoms in later stages. I doubt that, since I think he’s probably been the way he is ever since his teens at least. But if it were true, it would invalidate the NPD diagnosis.

  47. Posted March 6, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I just leave this here in the old thread:

    New York Times Oped: Is It Time to Call Trump Mentally Ill?

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