A psychologist explains why Trump needs lies and chaos to make himself look like a winner
President Donald Trump is going to continue lying and creating chaos because that’s pretty much all he knows, according to a psychologist who’s profiled him.
Dan McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, attempted to plumb the depths of Trump’s personality in an article published by The Atlantic a few months before the election, but the first week of his presidency have been more troubling than expected.
“Most candidates want to win the election so that they can become president, but it seems like Donald Trump wanted to become president so that he could win the election,” McAdams told The Atlantic in a follow-up interview. “It’s all about winning, but even now that he’s won he can’t seem to let go of the fight. He continues to fixate on the election, and is now disputing — without evidence — the numbers on Hillary Clinton’s victory in the popular vote count. I think he’s going to continue to create chaos and attempt to emerge out of the confusion and uncertainty he creates as a victor.”
During the campaign, McAdams downplayed his own concerns about Trump’s authoritarian tendencies because he’d never held office before and he hoped the real estate developer and former reality TV star might “rise to the position.”
“I may have underestimated the extent of Trump’s authoritarian leanings (because) when I think of an authoritarian I often think of someone who is a true believer in something,” he said. “They take office and they have an agenda that they really believe in and Trump doesn’t seem to have much ideological conviction, so I thought, how can he be an authoritarian? But actually Trump does have principles. He believes in power and strength, and he believes in himself. So that becomes his philosophy.”
McAdams is especially alarmed by Trump’s lying, pointing to the president’s easily disproven claim that the rain stopped just as he began his inaugural address as an especially troubling example.
“I thought Trump utters falsehoods in order to promote some kind of agenda or for some specific strategic purpose, but now there are times when it seems like he just lies for the sake of lying,” McAdams told the magazine.