“If we could construct a psychiatric Frankenstein monster, we could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than Donald Tr-mp.”
—John Gartner, Ph.D, February 21, 2017
At the end of this post there is a must-see segment from (again) “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” The segment features two prominent “doctors of the head,” one I have mentioned before, psychologist John Gartner, and another, Lance Dodes, who was a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. You can see their distinguished credentials here and here. Before we get to the remarkable things these two doctors say—out of a sense of “duty”—about Tr-mp’s mental health, let’s start with this:
A new Quinnipiac poll just out shows Americans are unpresidenting Tr-mp in an unprecedented way, just a month into his regime. Most voters find Tr-mp:
“does not have good leadership skills” (55-40)
“does not care about average Americans” (53-44)
“is not level-headed” (63-33)
“does not share their values” (60-37)
Those numbers are not surprising. Nor is this one, which I find fascinating: by a 55-40 margin, most voters don’t believe Tr-mp is “honest.”
Now, that margin is fascinating because I find it hard to believe, after all we have seen since June of 2015 (and well before that), that there is even one person in America who believes Tr-mp is honest, much less 40% of voters surveyed in this poll. How can that be? How can so many Americans not see what is so obvious? This is how:
As you can see, it is mostly Republicans who are blind, willfully or otherwise, to the dishonesty of Tr-mp, even though a disturbing number of “independents” also apparently have trouble distinguishing facts from fiction, truth from lies.
We have discussed on this blog countless times the power of tribalism. Here you can see the power of the political party tribe. There is absolutely no doubt, just judging from all the fact-checking that has been done since Tr-mp slithered onto the political stage, that Agent Orange is utterly dishonest, has no respect whatsoever for the truth or for reality. But only one in ten Republicans believe he is dishonest. Only one in ten.
But what about the 41% of independents who think Tr-mp is honest? Partisanship doesn’t explain that stunning statistic. So, what does explain it? I’m going to be charitable here. I’m going to advance a theory as to why so many people, allegedly free from partisan tribalism, nevertheless conclude Tr-mp is honest: they think he is sick and really believes the things he says.
I want to go back and look at what Tr-mp said during his disrespectful appearance at CIA headquarters the day after his inauguration:
We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech? (Applause.) I’ve been given good reviews. But we had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was — it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.
In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we’ll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny.
Let’s forget those bogus claims about the size of the crowd. Lots of people, especially politicians, exaggerate crowd size. Instead focus in on the now infamous claim he made about the weather and the Almighty. Everyone who attended the inauguration, who was there when Tr-mp spoke, knew it was raining while he spoke. And it did not stop raining while he was speaking.
But even if you were ridiculously inclined to cut Tr-mp some slack and excuse his divine intervention nonsense about the rain, you can’t overlook—as part of a common-sense judgment that there is something seriously wrong with the way he experiences the world—his claim that “it became really sunny.” As many have noted, it remained cloudy throughout the ceremony. There was no sun shining on those gathered. But Tr-mp said there was. And he didn’t just say it was sunny; he said it was really sunny. It was so sunny, so bright, that it blinded everyone else there, who could only see clouds and the rain those clouds were producing. Only Tr-mp, or more to the point, only Tr-mp’s mind, could see how sunny it really was.
So, in one sense, as I have said before, it could be entirely possible that Tr-mp is honest when he says things that the rest of us know are lies. Maybe he is telling the truth, his truth, when he tells us things that are demonstrably false. And, as a purely charitable gesture, I submit to you that all those independents in the Quinnipiac poll who think Tr-mp is “honest” are really amateur or professional psychologists and psychiatrists who, through common sense or professional training, believe Tr-mp is honest, in the sense that a man claiming to be from the future may really believe he is from the future even though he isn’t. Yes, such a man appeared five years ago:
A would-be saboteur arrested today at thein Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world…
Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his ‘time machine power unit’, a device that resembled a kitchen blender.
Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. “Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of theled to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I’m here to stop it ever happening.” […]
Mr Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered.
Tr-mp may baffle us with his claims of sunshine on rainy days or his countless other delusions, but we don’t have the luxury of not being bothered by him. He is, essentially, in charge of the world. As Dr. Gartner says in the video segment below, “We could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than Donald Tr-mp.” Watch all nine minutes with fear and trembling: