There’s a Sociopath in the White House

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski, AFP

Every time I watch a Donald J. Trump rally, I find myself not listening to the president but looking at the people behind him who cheer his every word. The troubling thought that goes through my mind is “there are none so blind as they who will not see.”

Many of Trump’s supporters seem oblivious to the truly dangerous mental and moral defects in our current president. I don’t say that as a hit job or attack given that I am a staunch conservative by political orientation. I say that because I believe it to be objectively true about Trump and that things are only going to get worse under his leadership.

Supporters of President Trump cheer during a ‘Make America Great Again’ rally in 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP

It is heartbreaking to see the signs Trump supporters hold up at his rallies. I see women holding up “Women for Trump” signs when he is a known sexual predator and serial adulterer. I see African-Americans holding up “Blacks for Trump” signs when he is known racist and white supremacist. I see former military servicemen and women holding up “Veterans for Trump” signs when he is a cowardly draft dodger. I see evangelicals holding up “We Support Trump” signs when there is little if any evidence he is Christian or even holds Christian values. I see people struggling to make ends meet holding up signs of support for Trump when he has done nothing but look out for the wealthiest of the wealthy while enriching himself in office and not caring about the financial plight of the average citizen.

Is Trump a Sociopath?

It is disconcerting that anyone in the country is still arguing about whether or not Trump is a misogynist, racist, xenophobe, or narcissist. He is. Actions speak louder than words, and the many things Trump has said and done throughout his life speak to these defects being true. His presidential campaign was driven by racist sentiment, and after becoming president, he proposed barring Muslims from entering the United States. Trump ignores reality and is unremorseful about how often he twists it in ways that build his ego.

If we could stop denying these painful realities about our president, we might have to face an even more frightening possibility: Trump is a sociopath.

Seven markers suggest that person is a sociopath. A sociopath chronically lies in an effort to deceive others and enhance his public image; acts impulsively and fails to plan; refuses to conform to social norms and repeatedly performs acts that are grounds for legal action and arrest; mistreats those who are critical or unsupportive; disregards the well-being of others; fails to sustain consistent work habits or honor financial obligations; and lacks guilt or remorse when hurtful to others.

Anyone who has studied Trump over the years would probably agree that this is an accurate description of our president.

Trump is a pathological liar, and recently cracked the 12,000 false or misleading statements barrier. He acts impulsively and fails to plan ahead, the best and most horrific example being his border policy that led to inhumane conditions for those detained and children being separated but infrequently reunited with their parents. He violates social norms all the time, even small ones, for example when he served national championship team fast-food at the White House.

He is frequently verbally abusive toward people who criticize him, calling them all kinds of horrible names. Trump lacks empathy, and once told grieving widow that her husband “knew what he had signed up for” when he enlisted in the military. He has no sensitivity to how his name-calling and verbal attacks are hurtful.

Lack of Conscience

According to psychologist Martha Stout and author of the book The Sociopath Next Door,

“The central trait of sociopathy is a complete lack of conscience, which is very difficult for most people to get their heads around, because those of us who do have a conscience can’t really imagine what it would be like if we didn’t.  Most people think that deep down everybody has a conscience, and it turns out that’s just not true.”

Trump doesn’t appear to have a conscience like most of us do, and that is the main reason he can act in such illegal, unethical, and immoral ways and sleep like a baby at night.

If anything disturbs Trump’s sleep, it is the threat that sooner or later the investigative reporters he calls “fake news” and government leaders and legal authorities he says are on a “witch hunt” will expose his worst wrongdoings and he will finally have to pay for them. Trump is terrified by the possibility of his darkest deeds coming to light and costing him his presidency and possibly sending him to prison.

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm, AFP

Every president does wrong things. All human beings do. That’s not the issue.

The issue is whether or not a president has a conscience. If they do, they will admit when they act badly, take full responsibility, experience guilt and remorse, and turn from their misdeeds. If they don’t, they’ll refuse to admit they have done anything wrong, blame others for their actions, have no empathy or compassion toward those they hurt, and continue in their wrongdoings.

Trump has spent his life in the latter category, surrounding himself with people who are unhealthy enough to support him every step of the way.

There’s a sociopath in the White House. If some of us don’t think so and want to keep supporting Trump, I would suggest there are none so blind as they who will not see.

Related Post