One of the nation’s top psychologists just broke one of his profession’s ethics rules to give President Donald Trump a professional diagnosis.
John D. Gartner, a psychotherapist who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, told US News that he believes Trump has “malignant narcissism,” which is incurable, and different from narcissistic personality disorder. Gartner violated the “Goldwater Rule” of the psychology profession, in which a diagnosis of a public figure without personally examining them, and without their consent, is considered unethical.
“Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” Gartner said, citing his movements and behavior, pointing out the president’s tendency for grandiosity, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia, and anti-social behavioral patterns.
“We’ve seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” Gartner added.
Indeed, the diagnosis fits the bill of Psychology Today’s definition of malignant narcissism, which, when described, sounds like Donald Trump almost to the letter. Carrie Barron, M.D., who wrote the magazine’s blog on Malignant Narcissism, says the disorder “renders these individuals scary, dangerous, and ruthless.”
Malignant Narcissists will go to great lengths to achieve their aim. They can be intelligent, high functioning (hold an important job for example) soft-spoken, charming, tearful/seemingly emotional, gracious, well mannered, kind and have the ability to form relationships. They may lie, falsely accuse, dramatize, smear, cheat, steal, manipulate, accuse, blame or twist to get what they want and feel justified in doing so. Because they are entitled, egocentric and desperate, they do not experience it as wrong. They are determined to gratify their wishes and furious if thwarted. Their desire can be so consuming that there is little comprehension of, respect for or ability to empathize with the other. They lack guilt or remorse and tend to feel or pronounce that it is they who have been mistreated.President Trump’s aides previously reported that their boss watches an excessive amount of television, mostly out of obsession for how he is perceived by the media. Salon’s Matthew Rosza compared the timestamps of Trump’s tweets about topics in the news and found that they coincided with the airing of various network news programs talking about those same subjects.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media.