So what’s not to like about Donald Trump – the apprentice president?
It’s a curious thing how some individuals are singled out and end up having a hard time – in Donald Trump’s case mainly from people who hear him speak or learn what he has said. He sees himself as a much misunderstood individual – sometimes perhaps deliberately so. This can happen to the plain speaking, bluff and forthright. (Note to Donald’s lawyers – I’ve always thought that the ambiguity in the word bluff is under-explored).
Donald Trump is not alone in being unhappy about the ever encroaching power of the state, of out-of-touch elites who are forever telling us what to do, of nannyists and the thought police. He speaks his mind. Now this is where we begin to run into something of a logical difficulty. The value of this attribute has to depend on the contents of the mind in question. In western cultures this is traditionally evaluated from what one says and does, otherwise we are dealing with unobservable intentions and the road to hell being constructed by bricklayers and pavers from all the nations of the earth. It is more likely to be paid for in reputations than pesos.
You don’t get to be where Donald is without some strengths. In his case he Knows business, he Keeps going and he Kicks ass – it seems to be likely that the three K’s must have an influence here somewhere. And he’s a handsome devil. Women to whom I’ve ventured this opinion tell me I’m only half right.
Let’s look at Donald in terms of his own history. He is of German and Scottish ancestry. His family name on his father’s side was Drumpf – in a funny way sounding both onomatopoeic and prophetic. It was changed to Trump in the 17th century during the 30 years war perhaps giving Donald the ideas that have made the present campaign seem so long. His mother, Mary MacCleod, was born in Scotland. Perhaps like Donald his mother did not believe in abortion, making him one of those quirky kinds of unintended consequences. In keeping with the melting pot image of the USA all four of his grandparents were born outside the country.
The second youngest of a family of five children, his older brother Fred Jr died of alcoholism in 1981 when Donald was a vulnerable 35 year old. Donald’s father has reportedly described him as, ‘a pretty rough fellow when he was small’ and his behavioural problems led to him having to leave the Kew-Forest school at age 13 despite his father being on the Board of Trustees. Donald has been reported as a bully in childhood. He was thereafter enrolled in the New York Military Academy. Despite this military interest Donald managed to avoid the draft to fight for his country in Vietnam, sometimes on the grounds of being a student and also on medical grounds. It may of course be that the selectors had another agenda and wanted to restrict the war to Vietnam.
Donald attended two universities, the one from which he graduated with a BSc in economics being one of the few to offer Real Estate Studies – perfectly suited to his family’s business and his own future aspirations.
It is clear that Donald very much values education – so much so that he started his own university in 2005. He’s a busy man with a highly diversified portfolio of interests so it is perhaps understandable that there were some technical omissions like having a charter and accreditation to call his proposal a university or indeed having buildings, a curriculum or what others would regard as academic staff. And what business man would not want the fees up-front? How small minded of the State of New York to lay charges of fraud and as for the class action lawsuits – well those beggar belief – wanting their money back indeed! After all, through the Trump University, they had learned a lesson. Then poor Donald finds himself faced with the well regarded Judge Curiel making rulings against him. What sort of Judge would do that? Donald probably cannot get advice on these matters from his older sister Maryanne who is a Senior USA Circuit Judge in the Court of Appeal as she would probably have regard to possible conflict of interests.
The problem is that Donald fears his plain speaking and views on issues such as immigration have people jump to conclusions even to the extent of calling him a racist – laughable since that would involve negatives views of whole ethnic groups based only on their origins. Where is the evidence for that? His family have been in real estate and construction for years. It is natural that he thinks in terms of walls. OK so some psychologists consider concrete thinking rather limiting even under particular circumstances, pathological.
At a dinner party I recently listened to a group of other psychologists discussing Donald’s personality. They were saying that he has a Narcissistic Personality probably even a disorder. Here the chief descriptive symptoms would require him for example to be grandiose with a tendency to exaggerated self-appraisal, a need to be centre stage, a powerful sense of entitlement with anger when others do not see it, impaired ability to empathize fully with the impact he has on others etc. I asked them if any of them had met and examined Donald. They had not. Reaching diagnostic conclusions in the absence of this seems to me not far short of unprofessional. I challenged them forcefully pointing out that, in the present situation, the only thing I can see they could have against Donald Trump is the evidence. They fell silent and looked at one another either shamefacedly or formulating another diagnosis this time perhaps in respect to me.
Donald Trump is a very rich celebrity figure. This can variously be an aphrodisiac and lead to others having fantasies about him or to seek to exploit him by false allegations. He is a red blooded heterosexual man who even disapproves of same sex marriages being a federal matter. However the recent release of a recording in which he talks about women both explicitly and disparagingly as sexual objects has potentially done him real harm since approximately half the voters are women.
In his own defence Donald has dismissed this as locker room banter and as not a reflection of his attitudes and feelings.
While there is something patently absurd in formally asking permission to kiss someone there is equally something bizarre in kissing someone one does not know or outside the sort of relationship that permits this. Of course it is true that Prince Charming did not have Sleeping Beauty’s permission to kiss her. I have a cartoon the creator of which I have long since forgotten but which I have often used in training sessions. This cartoon shows three children surrounded by toys. One is saying to the other two ‘lets play ‘mummys and daddys – I’ll be the solicitor’. Presumably ultimately there will be a limit to where we invite the lawyers.
However now a significant number of women have come forward to report unwanted sexual touching by Donald. One has to regard this as shaping up to be a long kiss goodbye to the presidency for the straight talking man of steel – well of Chinese steel anyway if one considers the construction of Trump Towers. Indeed in watching the debates it seems that Trump not only towers but looms, prowls – almost stalks. It’s not only women who can multi task.
Unfortunately for Donald the present complaints against him are not new. While in most British courts it is unlikely that past suspicions or accusations would be routinely admissible as evidence, in planning a way to help an individual it is necessary to take history into consideration. As long ago as 1992 there is a record of him saying of a ten year old girl that he’d be dating her in ten years. Former contestants in Miss Teen USA in which some of the girls were as young as 15 have said he would just walk into the changing room. They were encouraged to go up to him and be nice to him. During an interview in 2005 in respect to the Miss USA Beauty Pageant he confirmed that as the owner of the pageant he felt entitled to walk in when the girls were dressing, ‘they’d be standing there with no clothes’. In 2015 he made comments about his daughter Ivanka suggesting he’d be dating her if not happily married. There is a current lawsuit alleging that he raped a 13 year old girl at the home of a man convicted for arranging under age sex. I note that this is a civil not a criminal case leading me to conclude that the evidence cannot be strong enough for police action.
What is clear is that Donald appears to have difficulties about sexual boundaries in his thinking and periodically in his behaviour. He is in danger of turning the GOP into the GROPE.
Donald Trump must rank not just as one of the oldest candidates for the presidency but as one of the most controversial. He is a hard hitting, politically incorrect, blunt man. However he is, unlike many politicians, standing steadfastly by his election moto in that every time he speaks he makes America grate again. Believe me.