Now is an excellent time to predict President Donald Trump’s behavior in the near future. Much has been said about his “unstable” personality features and how he presents himself. Some say he likes to look unpredictable in an attempt to appear stronger. However, in the context of political psychology and his behavior, comments, thoughts, tweets, and actions, it is the view here that he is highly predictable.
The most dynamic feature of a narcissistic personality is that they externalize and never see themselves as the source of any problem. The blame is always on someone else. In Trump’s case he is obsessed with his own ego and well being and we see that he is lying and fabricating to not only protect himself, but to make himself look like an authoritarian personality. Psychologists look at consistency to analyze and make determinations about personality. There is enough consistency in Trump’s presentation of himself to make what I think are dramatic but likely predictions.
In the near term he will FIRE special counsel Robert Mueller. This will happen because Trump will not be able cope with the investigation closing in on him. Tight scrutiny at Russian money loaned to his businesses, staff links to Russian money and the foreign country’s influence in the election are not possible for Trump and his personality makeup to accept. He will use the act of firing Mueller to further shore up his base by saying the investigation itself is a phony, corrupt approach to discredit him. He will go on to say what he has highlighted already. That it is a “witch hunt,” fake news, and he is the only one telling the truth. He will externalize and blame everyone else and then seek more support for himself. All are features consistent with a narcissistic personality.
Trump is also thinking carefully of the personal benefit if he becomes a War President. His behavior and personality appears to be seeking confrontation that would make him a more dynamic and important figure. Look for some type of developing conflict or declaration of war as the Russian investigation heats up and Trump becomes more frustrated and agitated. Based on how he thinks, North Korea is perhaps the most identifiable target since the U.S. has so much destructive capability with regard to any military action. He certainly does not want to pick a fight with a powerful nation. He can rationalize away the North Korean threat to South Korea and even use any action against South Korea by the North to bolster his position. It is a perverse way of contemplating being a “War President” but it is consistent with narcissism and a persisting mental thought disorder.
Trump will do something not yet easy to see against the media. After the very aggressive Mika Brzezinski tweets and his foray into wrestling to mock CNN, something more will develop that will be much more extreme. It may be stoking violence against the media or shutting down White House communication in a manner that is overtly demeaning and marginalizing to the media. But a narcissistic personality type like Trump is not going to let the media go unharmed.
I predict much more Trumpism is on the way. This particular president is not going to change or modify his behavior. He is thinking about his own domination.
Bart Rossi, Ph.D.
Diplomate Clinical Psychology
2014 Emmy Award Winner