President Donald Trump’s mental fitness for the office of the presidency has been regularly debated among psychiatric professionals, and now one psychiatrist has gone so far as to consult the U.S. Army’s own field manual to show just how unfit Trump is for the job.
In an editorial for the Los Angeles Times, psychiatrist Prudence L. Gourguechon reviews the field manual’s descriptions of what it takes to be an effective leader in the army and finds that Trump seems to be sorely lacking in all of the key traits.
As outlined by Gourguechon, the main traits of successful military leaders are the ability to establish trust, the discipline to control your impulses, the ability to think critically, a capacity for self-awareness and reflection, and the willingness to empathize with other people.
Touching on self-discipline, Gourguechon notes that the field manual describes an undisciplined leader as someone who reacts “viscerally or angrily when receiving bad news or conflicting information” and “allows personal emotions to drive decisions or guide responses to emotionally charged situations.”
This certainly seems to apply to Trump, who is often unable to stop himself from rushing to Twitter with angry reactions to bad news, as he did on Thursday this week when he again described independent counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into him as a “witch hunt.”
Additionally, the field manual says a leader who lacks self-awareness often “unfairly blames subordinates when failures are experienced” and “rejects or lacks interest in feedback.”
Assorted leaks from White House staffers have revealed that Trump regularly casts blame at subordinates for problems that he himself creates, as seen recently in reports that Trump has put Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on notice that he’ll be fired if he can’t stop Trump’s own White House from being dysfunctional and factional — despite the fact that it’s Trump who has encouraged rivalries within the West Wing.
And finally, the manual explains that a leader who lacks empathy often “shows a lack of concern for others’ emotional distress” and “displays an inability to take another’s perspective.”
In the past, Trump has regularly mocked opponents for their appearances, most famously when he ridiculed a disabled reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign. Added to this, Trump has never apologized to anyone for saying cruel things about them.
In summing up her findings, Gourguechon encourages us all to carefully read over the Army field manual’s traits of effective leadership and decide for ourselves whether Trump meets any of them.
“Because of Trump’s Twitter habits and other features of the contemporary media landscape, far more data about his behavior are available to everyone — to citizens, journalists and members of Congress,” she writes. “And we are all free to compare that observable behavior to the list of traits deemed critical for leadership by the U.S. Army.”