Harvard Psychiatrist: Trump Is A Predator Who Lacks Empathy Or A Conscience
President Donald Trump’s fitness for office on numerous levels has been the subject of debate since Trump took a ride down the escalator to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election.
But in the time since, it has become increasingly clear to mental health experts that Trump simply is not like most people — and his narcissistic and malignant tendencies present a danger to the United States, both at home and abroad.
Newsweek noted last year that Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, joined a chorus of concerned voices in October, saying in an interview with Salon that Trump is "essentially a predator" and a "successful sociopath."
"His focus on his personal benefit at any cost is why he's a successful sociopath," Dodes said, adding that he can "see Donald for who he really is."
"It's very hard to get this across to the public, because every time people talk about him, they start out with the unspoken unconscious assumption that he's basically like the rest of us," Dodes continued. "But in order to explain and predict Trump's behavior, you have to begin with awareness that he is essentially a predator.”
"Once you keep in mind that Trump lacks a conscience and lacks empathy, he becomes very easy to follow,” Dodes told Salon. “Unlike normal people, who are complex, he's basically running on a very simple and very disordered program."
Other mental health experts have gone on record with similar warnings, including John M. Talmadge, MD, a physician and clinical professor of psychiatry at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center.
Last fall, Talmadge wrote on Twitter that Trump’s "mental impairment means he cannot think strategically or in abstract terms."
"Trump does not have a vision or a plan, because he can think only in concrete, elementary, childlike, one dimensional terms," he said. "He does not process an abstract idea like American forces stabilizing a multilateral conflict with geopolitical implications.”
Talmadge added: "This Trumpian brain failure is hard for normal people to understand because for normal people, abstract thought is natural, baked in, largely unnoticed. Normal people see the consequences, assess risk, make rational decisions most of the time."
Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert noted that the dire situation with the current president moves well beyond politics. Following a tweet in which Trump said he would "totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)" if Turkey did anything that "I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits,” Gilbert suggested that Trump should be detained involuntarily for an assessment of his mental health.
"Am I the only psychologist who finds this claim and this threat truly alarming? Wouldn't these normally trigger a mental health hold? Right and Left must set aside politics and agree that there is a serious problem here," Gilbert tweeted.
Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee was joined by 250 medical professionals last year in warning Congress that it must consider Trump’s mental state as lawmakers weighed impeachment proceedings against the president.
Trump "has the pattern of fragile sense of self and is prone to blame and attack others when threatened" and has "shown himself willing to encourage violence against his perceived enemies,” they wrote.
"This sense of threat is likely to lead to an exacerbation of his attacks on perceived enemies and to increased encouragement of violence against them. This encouragement may lead to violent actions by others, such as we have seen over the last couple of years but highly exacerbated."
But as Trump’s impeachment trial moves forward in the Senate, Republican lawmakers appear unwilling to address any aspect of the president’s unfitness for office — least of all his mental health.