“For to all who swell with proud thoughts there is a noisiness in their speech . . . unsteadiness in their conduct . . . rancor in their reply. Their mind is ever strong in inflicting, weak in enduring . . .”
St. Gregory the Great, Morals on the Book of Job (c. 578-595 AD)
Christian thinkers have long recognized that all the sins are rooted in pride. I believe that most of Mr. Trump’s defects are rooted in his narcissism. Let’s allow Mr. Trump to speak for himself:
“Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.” (Interview with the Des Moines Register)
“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” (on who his advisers are, March 16, 2016, on MSNBC)
“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.” (Twitter)
“[T]here’s nobody like me. Nobody.” (his book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again)
On Islamic terrorism: “I alone can solve.” (Twitter)
On America’s descent from “greatness:” “I alone can fix it.” (RNC acceptance speech)
I am “running the biggest real-estate empire in the world.” (Weekly Standard, 1999)
“Nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world.” (Interview with AP, May 2016)
“I’m the king of Palm Beach.” (Trump Nation, 2005)
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” (November 2015)
“I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created.” (June 2015)
“We’re on the cover of every newspaper, every magazine. Time magazine many times. I just learned they’re doing yet another cover on Trump – I love that. You know, Time magazine’s a good magazine. You grow up reading Time magazine – who ever thought you’d be on the cover of Time magazine? Especially so much?” (The New Yorker, 7/11-18/16)
During an MSNBC interview, Trump responded to questions about bankruptcies by saying he was not involved with these companies. Michael Isikoff asked Trump what exactly he was paid for if he “had nothing to do with running the company.” And Trump replied to that: “Excuse me . . . Because of my genius. OK?”
“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.” (New York Post, 2011)
“Isn’t he handsome?” (holding up a picture of himself, Reform Party meeting, 1999)
“Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money.” (yes, this is Trump speaking about himself in the third person, Kluger, The Narcissist Next Door)
“I will be so good at the military your head will spin.” (Hugh Hewitt Show, 2015)
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” (Good Morning America, 2011)
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” (NY Times, 1999)
When psychologists write about those afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder, they point to a narrative of self that is remarkably consistent across time, and serves as the main tool used by the narcissist to navigate the world. You’ve just read Mr. Trump’s narrative, spoken across the years in his own words. His most distinctive characteristic is a dangerously inflated ego, consistently revealed by extraordinary and arrogant grandiosity.
Please consider again what you’ve just read. Healthy people do not speak like this. Healthy people do not believe such things about themselves.
Think about the events of the past week, and marvel at the aptness of St. Gregory’s 1400-year-old prediction of the consequences of Mr. Trump’s grossly inflated pride:
· noisiness in speech
· unsteadiness in conduct
· rancor in their reply
· strong in inflicting (i.e., insulting others)
· weak in enduring (i.e., dealing with criticism).
The next couple of posts will deconstruct the narcissistic personality and the dangers it presents when invested with political power.