Narcissism Squared

So far the Trump presidency is a fascinating experiment in psycho-pathology.  For months pundits without much understanding of narcissistic personalities have predicted that at some point Trump would tone down the self-aggrandizement, the aggressive rhetoric and the blatant lies to become a measured and ‘presidential’ individual.  The question is: why would he?  People with Trump’s mental disorder believe that they are perfect in every way and destined to do the greatest things.  They have no mechanism to process information that would suggest they are less than perfect, and they cannot accept facts that contradict their vision of greatness.  Therefore they live in a world from which a significant part of reality has been removed and replaced by a background created by their own imagination.  If and when a person like Trump is elected President of the United States, it can only enforce his hallucinations and make him distort reality even more, because the mere facts of his election and inauguration seem to confirm that he was right about himself all the time.

The consequences of what I would call squared narcissism have been painfully on display the last couple of days.  Trump started his conquest of Washington, DC, with a visit to his new hotel, where he blurted out that it must have been conceived by ‘a genius.’  At Thursday night’s pre-inaugural concert he revisited his primary contests and eventual victory in the Electoral College, as if to assure himself once more that he had rightfully earned the honor that was about to be bestowed upon him, by mobilizing his exceptional talents.  Still in the same mood he gave his inauguration speech the next day, repeating the themes of his campaign and painting a picture of America that invoked imagery of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ in spite of the fact that Mr. Trump has never heard of that book.  And then the real work started.  On Saturday he visited the CIA headquarters, where, in his own tweeted words, in a ‘packed house’ he ‘paid great respect’ to the wall that memorizes fallen CIA officers, and received ‘long standing ovations’ from ‘amazing people.’ ‘WIN!’

Conveniently forgetting that two weeks ago he had compared the intelligence services to Nazi Germany and falsely accused them of leaking information that had already been publicly available for six months, he declared that ‘nobody respects the CIA more than Donald J. Trump,’ and blamed the dishonest press for insinuating that there was friction between the president and the intelligence community.  And that was only the beginning.

Later on Saturday Trump elevated his beef with the press to the next level by sending his embarrassed Press Secretary to the White House briefing room to declare that newspapers had doctored pictures of the inauguration crowd to make it appear smaller, while this had been ‘the largest inauguration crowd ever.’ After this statement no questions were taken.

There has been some speculation that Trump deliberately created this distraction to direct attention away from the demonstrations that dwarfed his inauguration crowd on Saturday, but it is more likely that he is getting crazier by the minute.  And it’s only been two days.

Hugo Kijne

 

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