By AL CALLOWAY
During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Senator Ted Cruz told the world that Donald J. Trump was “a pathological liar, utterly amoral, a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen and a serial philanderer.” Like most people, Senator Cruz is not a behavioral scientist but is absolutely clear about what he sees and hears. He just clearly articulated what many New Yorkers, especially, have long known.
Hopefully fortunate for America, nay, the world, 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health experts have just published a book of their essays about what is wrong with Trump. The book is “The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M.Div. Heed this warning: once open in your hands, this book is hard to put down. It is so informative.
In the book’s Prologue, Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School joins Dr. Bandy Lee, Assistant Clinical Professor in Law and Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine to write, among other things the following: “We submit that by paying attention to the president’s mental state as well as his actions, we are better informed to assess his dangerousness. Delusional levels of grandiosity, impulsivity, and the compulsions of mental impairment, when combined with an authoritarian cult of personality and contempt for the rule of law, are a toxic mix.”
Doctors Herman and Lee conclude the book’s Prologue with this warning siren: “Collectively with our coauthors, we warn that anyone as mentally unstable as Mr. Trump simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the presidency.” Wow! Is it possible to get any heavier than that?
We later learn from Dr. Lee that serious activism is underway within the mental health community. She tells us that John D. Gartner, Ph.D., also a contributor to the book, initiated “an online petition, now with fifty-five thousand signatures.” Dr. Gartner also “cofounded the national coalition, ‘Duty to Warn,’ of (as of this writing) seventeen hundred mental health professionals.”
Mental health experts worry about “our unbalanced president’s actions.” Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and Rosemary Sword, co-developer of Time Perspective Therapy write “We believe that Donald Trump is the most dangerous man in the world, a powerful leader of a powerful nation who can order missiles fired at another nation because of his (or a family member’s) personal distress. . . .”
Zimbardo and Sword go further and connect the dots for us: “As is the case with extreme present hedonists, Trump is ‘chumming’ for war, possibly for the most selfish of reasons: to deflect attention away from the Russia investigation.” (Present hedonists live in the now moment and they don’t concern themselves with what else happens as a result of their actions.)
In the chapter on Pathological Narcissism and Politics, Clinical Psychologist Craig Malkin, Ph.D., tells us about Trump and the addiction. “Pathological narcissism begins when people become so addicted to feeling special that, just like with any drug, they’ll do anything to get their ‘high,’ including lie, steal, cheat, betray, and even hurt those closest to them.”
Trump’s warped Hitlerian ‘genius’ created birtherism to announce the tool of bigotry in use for his ride to the White House. Luba Kessler, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst writes in his essay Birtherism and the Deployment of the Trumpian Mind-Set “It [birtherism] signaled that a black person could not be truly American.”
As pointed out in detailing the myriad mental health problems habiting, and, perhaps unknown to Trump, torturing his body (can hardly sleep), mind (mental issues), and spirit (evilness), truth and reality loom only as tools to finagle, to distort and deform.
Kessler reminds us that what Trump did with birtherism “signaled that it was permissible for America, deep in its soul, to continue harboring and nursing the historic racial prejudice. It said that a black president could not be legitimate, and so the factual reality of his very birth on American soil had to be denied. In this willful distortion of fact, Donald Trump showed the essential quality of his personality: the perversion of his relationship to truth.”