‘The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Donald Trump’

JAMES C. MCINTOSH, M.D. | 9/14/2017, 3:18 p.m.
Psychologist Naim Akbar has traced the root word of psychology back to the ancient Egyptian word sacca, for wise, which ...
Donald Trump CNN photo

The soul of Donald Trump

Psychologist Naim Akbar has traced the root word of psychology back to the ancient Egyptian word sacca, for wise, which later evolved into Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul. So psychology in its original sense means the study of the soul. Similarly, psychiatry relates to the healing of the soul. Many have asked why a psychiatrist would analyze Donald Trump. For what purpose? Can Trump’s soul be healed? The fact that he was elected president of the United States of America means that the answer to that question is not as obvious to everyone as it is to me.

An open sore instead of a soul

 On the other hand, it is eerie how many lay people have answered this question about Trump’s possession of a soul in the exact same way as I would: “No, Trump has no soul.” Writer Mark Singer described Trump as a man who “had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury, an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.” Former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers has said that Trump “does not seem to me to have what we would normally think of as a soul; he has an open sore.” Khizr Khan, a lawyer and the father of a slain decorated Muslim-American soldier, Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq, said that Trump “has no soul” and is “void of empathy.” 

Lipstick on a pig

Tony Schwartz, the man who says he actually wrote the book, “The Art of the Deal,” which Trump falsely claims as his own, lamented in an interview last year in The New Yorker magazine, “I put lipstick on a pig… I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” Schwartz also came to the conclusion that Trump has “no soul.” He also said that if he were writing the “Art of the Deal” today he would call it “The Sociopath.” The older synonym for sociopath, psychopath, is one of the words the OSS used to describe Adolf Hitler.

The single most evil man ever

Writer Wayne Barrett, speaking about perhaps someone else, said words that lead to the same conclusion about Trump’s lack of a soul. Barrett began by talking about Trump’s mentor, Roy Cohn. Cohn was Trump’s attorney in the federal housing discrimination suit filed against Trump in the mid-1970s. Cohn was also the notorious U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor in the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the chief counsel for Joseph McCarthy during the red scare Army-McCarthy Hearings, and he also represented several mobsters, such as Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante and John Gotti. Barrett described Cohn as “the single most evil person I have ever covered.” He then added, “If that’s a magnet for you as a young man, it says you are soulless from the start.”  It’s unclear about whom Barrett was speaking but Trump is certainly a person who sought out Cohn as a young man and the description soulless fits Trump to a Donald T. Cohn, by the way, described Trump as “the closest thing to a genius” he had ever seen.

Sick soul or no soul

Sociopath, psychopath and the current term in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association Antisocial Personality Disorder are virtually synonyms. The requirements for this disorder include having a pervasive pattern of disregard for violation of the rights of others as indicated by three symptoms from a list. Rather than go through the entire list, I provide these three because they jump off the page in describing Trump. 1. Deceitfulness as indicated by repeated lying. 2. Lack of remorse as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated or stolen from another. 3. Reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Reckless disregard for the safety of others

If any examples are needed to confirm that Trump satisfies these criteria, the following few should do the trick. Deceitfulness? Here are Trump’s boastful words regarding one of his deals: “I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land … I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed,’ but I screwed him.” Lack of remorse and rationalizing after having hurt another? At least 24 women have come forth to say Trump was sexually inappropriate with them. Some say he forcibly kissed them or touched their private parts. One says he tore out patches of her hair and forced his penis into her. One says he took her virginity when she was 13 and he was 50. Several of them say he kissed them without their permission.  

Yet in the 2016 presidential race when Trump was confronted with his own secretly taped confession— “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy,” —he described it as just “locker room talk” and said he had never actually done such things. Trump expects people to believe him, despite his confession and 24 accusers.  

Yet Trump hypocritically refuses to accept the innocence of five young men falsely accused and imprisoned in connection with the sexual assault of a white woman jogger in Central Park decades ago, despite the fact that the real rapist, a serial sexual assaulter—as Trump is accused of being—was caught and the boys, now men, have been awarded $40 million for their false imprisonment. How about reckless disregard for the safety of others? Trump overturning the regulations to block dumping of coal debris in America’s streams, his withdrawal from the Paris Climate talks, his denial of climate change in the face of back-to-back hurricanes wrecking areas of the south dumping more than 50 inches of rain is about as reckless as can be imagined. Threatening North Korea with fire and fury in this nuclear age certainly matches this same last criterion of antisocial personality disorder—this reckless disregard for the safety of others. Tony Schwartz’s pessimistic words before the election, now after the election threaten to be disturbingly prophetic. Schwartz said, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

Next Week Part VII of Chapter 1, “The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Donald Trump.”