Not a Role Model: Trumpian Actions Vs. Origins

Whether any of the various opinions about the personality and state of mind of our current president will ever be proven, one thing you can bet on is that he’s serving as a poor role model for kids and adults alike. Such things as bullying, hate crimes, and ethical lapses, for example, are arguably on the rise under his leadership.

Poor role model for kids? Donald Trump actually acts like a child himself, many have said. As Michael Daly, Daily Beast, has pointed out, though, this comparison is unfair—to children, that is. His article is full of such nuggets as:

  • “Many children do not know exactly what sexual assault constitutes, but even the ones who thought Trump was talking about grabbing somebody’s kitty cat would know that is not something to brag about.”
  • “Most children also know that you should not say one thing and do another, as has Trump in boasting about how much he has done for veterans while devoting years to vanquishing disabled veterans who were exercising a legal right to peddle on the street outside his elegant tower.”
  • “Most children definitely know not to mock people with disabilities, as Trump did with a reporter, or to make fun of people when they fall ill, as he did with Clinton after she nearly fainted on 9/11 this year.”

Alison Gopnik, New York Times, agrees. “The scientific developmental research of the past 30 years shows that Mr. Trump is utterly unlike a 4-year-old.”

  • “Four-year-olds care deeply about the truth…”
  • “Four-year-olds are insatiably curious…”
  • “Four-year-olds can pay attention…”
  • “Four-year-olds understand the difference between fantasy and reality…”
  • “Four-year-olds have a ‘theory of mind,’ an understanding of their own minds and those of others…”
  • “Four-year-olds, contrary to popular belief, are not egocentric or self-centered…”
  • “Four-year-olds have a strong moral sense…”
  • “Four-year-olds are sensitive to social norms and think that they and other people should obey them…”

If not a child, mentally ill? Unfair to those who have such disorders, says psychiatrist Allen J. Frances (Psychology Today). “Most people with mental illness are nice, polite, well mannered, well meaning, decent people. They suffer, but don’t cause suffering.”

A recent mental health conference emphasized that “the issue is no longer what psychiatric diagnosis Donald Trump merits or not. It is how to avert the ‘malignant normality’—as psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton called it—now threatening American democracy” (Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today).

Yeah, but Trump’s evolving, working on being more presidential, i.e, a better role model. Hooey. As Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., High Conflict Institute, author of Trump Bubbles, puts it, he “will not and cannot change, for the following reasons”:

  1. High-Conflict Personality: Trump appears to have all the traits of a high-conflict personality, which include: a preoccupation with blaming others; all-or-nothing thinking; intense or unmanaged emotions; and extreme behavior or threats of extreme behavior…
  2. Possible personality disorder: While I cannot diagnose someone with a mental health problem who I have never met and thoroughly assessed, he seems to have some possible traits of this as well…If he has a full personality disorder, then he will keep repeating his present narrow range of behavior, even when it hurts him and others.
  3. Social science: Research on business leadership shows that dramatic, charismatic CEO’s get more attention at the start, but they don’t last as long and the organization doesn’t do as well…
  4. Business history: Trump has a history of failed businesses, bankruptcies and lawsuits – by him and against him. Yet he has not changed his tune or seemed to have learned any lessons from this…
  5. Political history: …There is a surprisingly close fit with the pattern that Adolf Hitler used to rise in the 1920’s and 1930’s…

He’s also been likened to Richard M. Nixon, of course. And we all know what kind of a role model we had there.

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