“Donald Trump is not of sound mind.”
Trump “appears haunted by multiple personality disorders.”
“Donald Trump is not a well man.”
These are the comments of dismayed conservative political analysts who have watched the unorthodox campaign of 2016 GOP nominee Donald Trump lurch from one crisis to another due to the New York businessman’s erratic behavior.
According to the Toronto Star, what started out as whispers about Trump have worked their way up to a scream as it begins to dawn on steadfast Republicans that a man whose mouth they can’t control might be a danger to the country should he ascend to the highest office in the land.
Last week at the Democratic National Convention, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg alluded to Trump’s possible lack of competency, as he endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying, “Let’s elect a sane, competent person.”
Questions about Trump’s mental state are nothing new. In an interview in January, Harvard professor and researcher Howard Gardner, stated Trump is a “textbook” narcissist, with clinical psychologist George Simon adding, ““He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops.”
Conservative political experts have begun to take notice and are raising red flags now.
According to Stuart Stevens, chief strategist to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, “We can gloss over it, laugh about it, analyze it, but Donald Trump is not a well man,” before adding that he is not a doctor or a psychologist.
“There is something definitely off about him.” Stevens said. “At best, this is a very damaged person. And there’s probably something more serious going on.”
Despite acknowledging that the candidate has some glaring issues, disability rights journalist David Perry cautions against using the C-word for Trump, stating, “The casual association of behavior we find objectionable or erratic with mental illness spreads stigma.”
“He’s a liar, he’s a bigot, he makes bad decisions, he’s erratic and unpredictable. That’s what we need to know. Do we need to then extend a diagnosis to go along with that, to make it really objectionable?” Perry said. “It hasn’t really worked in eroding Trump’s popularity, but it certainly makes people who actually have these conditions feel very uncomfortable — feel that the message is: ‘If you have a mental health condition, you are not fit to be president.’ And frankly, I suspect we’ve had lots of presidents with mental health conditions, and we’ll probably have lots more.”
According to Northwestern University psychology professor Dan McAdams, Trump exhibits a “healthy dose” of classic narcissism — not unheard of in politicians and wealthy businessmen — but he wouldn’t categorize Trump as a “clinical” case.
“Putting his name on everything, talking about himself all the time: this is beyond the pale,” said McAdams, who wrote about Trump for The Atlantic. “I don’t want to argue that it’s a clinical condition … but if there’s a continuum, in terms of narcissistic personality characteristics within a relatively normal population, he’s really way off on the extreme end.”
Scott Lilienfeld, a psychology professor at Emory University, cautions that extreme narcissism can lead to abuses of power, saying, “I don’t think he’s out of touch with reality, I think he knows what he’s doing, he probably doesn’t hear voices or have delusional thinking.”
He did, however, pose a question voters should ask themselves.
“Is this individual’s narcissism so high that it might be at the upper end of the curve where it’s no longer just healthy self-confidence, which is probably good to some degree, or is it at the point where it could really cause problems?”