Tracking the progress on 'making America Great Again'.

Latest update:

JULY 25 , 2018

An extremely rude question about President Trump

By John Mecklin, July 17, 2018 


Now, the question is whether normalization turns Helsinki into just another Trump spectacle, or whether the fact-based segment of the US news ecosystem insists on dealing openly and directly with the possibility of a compromised President Trump in a way that serves America and its people.

There is a plethora of evidence in the public record that suggests the “conscious tool” assessment of Donald Trump is reasonable; the evidence is not absolutely conclusive, but it does strongly suggest that the president has been compromised and is in some way controlled by the Russian government. The best compilation of this evidence that I’ve seen was presented by Jonathan Chait, in New York magazine, in an article headlined, “Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart—Or His Handler?” Chait’s article—and the enormous weight of evidence in the public record about connections among Trump campaign and administration officials and people and entities connected to the Russian government—provided more than sufficient reason for the media to ask questions about Trump’s motives for his behavior and assertions in Europe, even before Helsinki, even without the latest round of indictments from special counsel Mueller’s investigation.

From the moment Donald Trump was elected president, the press has been regularly taken to task for playing along with his chaotic, reality-TV approach to governance, letting itself be distracted by one shiny and unimportant news bauble after another, to the detriment of the country. In a blog called PressThink, New York University professor Jay Rosen has written some of the most thoughtful and trenchant warnings that major media organizations have normalized a president who simply is not normal, by refusing to adapt their methods to deal with Trump’s distract-and-overwhelm tactics. In June, in fact, Rosen called on major media organizations to suspend their usual relationswith the Trump administration, in the way that governments suspend diplomatic relations with countries that have engaged in extreme behavior, and gone far beyond the bounds of what is acceptable in international affairs.

Such a suspension of normal coverage is necessary, Rosen wrote, because the Trump presidency—with its almost ceaseless attacks on the press, with its constant mendacity, with its continual shifts of focus, and with its apparent determination to obscure the difference between reality and an alternative world where facts don’t matter—“is the most significant threat to an informed public in the United States today.”

The Constitution protects the press precisely so it can ask the incredibly rude question that proper people would never put forward. It is indeed rude to ask whether the president is a traitor. But it is incumbent on the American press—now, as at no time I know of in American history—to ask that question regularly, and until there is a definitive determination about whether he or members of his campaign cooperated with a Russian conspiracy aimed at undermining an American presidential election.

There is a compelling reason for the press to keep raising that question: If it turns out the president or his close advisers are compromised, American citizens will need to be prepared for the consequences, and to know the avenues for dealing with the problem that best protect the country, given the obvious security concerns a compromised president presents. Whether they have supported or opposed President Trump, they will need to be ready to respond, as citizens, if the worst is proven, by thorough investigation and proper legal process.

Given the negative reaction to Trump’s performance on Monday, one can reasonably anticipate that the White House public relations apparatus and tweeting machine will continue to try to have the disaster in Helsinki reinterpreted as a masterstroke of diplomacy and to brand negative media responses as yet more “fake news.” The fact-based segment of American media should ignore that effort and continue to directly and clearly state the possibility that Trump is compromised—not because they are anti-Trump, but because they know that citizens cannot play their proper role in American society if they do not know the possibilities at hand, as rude as mentioning them may seem.

JULY 18 , 2018

JULY 16 , 2018

Deranged: Trump again contradicts US intelligence

JULY 12 , 2018
GettyImage 99637

JUNE 22 , 2018

“There’s No Stopping Him”: Trump Insists on a Putin Summit


JUNE 12 , 2018

Donald Trump’s comments following N Korea summit twist history and raise false hopes

MAY 29 , 2018
just kids playing

MAY 9 , 2018

President Donald Trump finally admits that “fake news” just means news he doesn’t like

MAY 8 , 2018

Trump’s Iran decision just brought us closer to war

MAY 5 , 2018

Trump chides Giuliani on Stormy payment​​


MAY 4 , 2018

Evangelist Franklin Graham defends Trump’s adultery with Stormy Daniels: Extramarital affairs are ‘nobody’s business’

APRIL 30 , 2018
Trump’s Nobel prize secret sauce
When it comes to recognition, Trump is a dog after a bone. And political and world leaders have quickly learned the best way to win his favor and bend his ear is to lavish him with praise.

APRIL 1 , 2018

'A president unhinged': With stabilisers gone, Trump is calling his own shots

March 23 , 2018   BOLTON HIRED:

John Bolton replaces H.R. McMaster as Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

DONALD Trump has sensationally ditched his national security adviser

— and an expert says it’s now the “time to panic”.

March 20 , 2018

Melania Trump Wants to End Online Bullying. Her Husband Doesn’t Always Help.

With a particular focus on social media, Melania Trump, the first lady, has long said she wants to curb online bullying and harassment as part of a nascent effort to improve the lives of American children. There’s one problem: Mrs. Trump’s efforts often clash with the president’s longtime habit of using social media to insult people.

The New York Times

March 19 , 2018

Trump keeps up attacks on Mueller, McCabe, Comey


March 15 , 2018

 Rex Tillerson and the shambles of Trump’s
‘family and friends’ foreign policy

March 14 , 2018

Donald Trump’s White House: Everyone who has quit or been fired

REX Tillerson has become the latest White House casualty to get their marching orders by Donald Trump. And he probably won’t be the last.

March 7 , 2018

Gary Cohn quits as Donald Trump's top economic adviser


January 7, 2018

Donald Trump insists: ‘I’m a very stable genius’

January 5, 2017

January 4, 2018

Donald Trump: The best bits of the book that blew up his bromance with Steve Bannon

January 3, 2018

Trump to Kim: My nuclear button is 'bigger and more powerful'

December 9, 2017

Trump’s 'fake news' mantra a hit with despots

Leaders or state media in at least 15 countries use the president’s favorite denunciation to quell dissent, question human rights violations.


December 7, 2017

Jerusalem is Israel's capital, says Donald Trump

November 30?, 2017

November 21, 2017
US tax cuts prove Donald Trump is nothing but a fake populist

"Trump, in short, is no populist, he is only masquerading as one. He's a fake populist. Then again, Trump has never made any bones about his attitude to enriching himself. "The point is," as he once said, "you can never be too greedy."

Peter Hartcher| international editor SMH. FULL ARTICLE


October 2, 2017: 
Trump contradicts Tillerson on North Korea, the latest in a series of put-downs

"Being nice to Rocket Man hasn't worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. 

"Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!," Mr Trump added. 

September 20,2017: 
North Korea dismisses President's UN speech as 'sound of a dog barking'

August 28, 2017: Time for Trump to Go?
Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse.

August 19, 2017:

August 18, 2017

The Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz says Donald Trump’s presidency ‘is effectively over’


AUGUST 14, 2017:

Donald Trump condemned for silence on

white supremacist ‘terrorism’

AUGUST 12, 2017

Trump reiterates warning to N. Korea: 

‘Fire and fury’ may not have been ‘tough enough’




JULY 27, 2017: 

Scaramucci declares war on Priebus, Bannon

Anthony Scaramucci, the flashy and sometimes profane Wall Street financier, was brought on as White House communications director last Friday. It’s already clear he’s a lot more than that.
In six days, he has launched a brutally edged campaign to identify White House leakers, threatened to “fire everybody” in the communications shop, and has declared war on chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.


JULY 23, 2017: 

The Latest: Trump lawyer says there's no pardon discussion  ABC

Earlier: In a barrage of tweets early Saturday, President Donald Trump said he has "complete power" to issue pardons, defended his son in connection with the Russia investigations and took a swipe at Democratic campaign opponent Hillary Clinton.

JULY 18, 2017:

Nearly 6 Months Into Trump's Presidency, His Approval Ratings Are Stuck At Historic Lows

US President Donald Trump has urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure he gets a warm welcome from the British people before he comes to the UK. In a secret tape of one of the two world leaders’ conversations that was leaked, the President asked Ms May to “fix it” for him, The Sun reports.

TRUMP: “I haven’t had great coverage out there lately, Theresa.”

MAY, awkwardly: “Well, you know what the British press are like.”

TRUMP: “I still want to come, but I’m in no rush. So, if you can fix it for me, it would make things a lot easier. When I know I’m going to get a better reception, I’ll come and not before.”

JULY 11, 2017: 
Trump calls son 'high-quality person' amid Russian lawyer scandal.


Trump 'has no desire and no capacity to lead the world'

June 30, 2017:
On the truly bizarre scale, the Washington Post revealed a fake Time magazine cover is hanging in several of Mr Trump's golf courses around the world. Literally, fake news.
June 23, 2017 TRUMP'S LIES
The New York Times says:

Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.

June 8, 2017:
James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was the most dramatic flashpoint yet in the Russia scandal consuming President Donald Trump’s White House.

June 2, 2017:

Pittsburgh mayor to Trump: Um, actually we're pro-Paris Climate Agreement

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto candidly waded into the world of international climate policy after President Trump pulled the blue-collar steel town into his announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," the president said from the White House on Thursday. "I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America's interests."


June 2, 2017: Leonardo DiCaprio has criticised President Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. INDEPENDENT

On Facebook he wrote:

"Today, the future livability of our planet was threatened by President Trump's careless decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Our future on this planet is now more at risk than ever before. For Americans and those in the world community looking for strong leadership on climate issues, this action is deeply discouraging. Now, more than ever, we must be determined to solve climate change, and to challenge those leaders who do not believe in scientific facts or empirical truths. It is time for all of us to stand up, organize, fight back, and channel our energy into grassroots political action."

June 1, 2017: Trump Exits Paris Climate Deal: CNN Politics
  • His reasoning: Trump argued that the climate accord was a bad deal for the US and will hurt job growth. (This is not true, here's our reporting.)
  • Renegotiation: Trump said he's interested in renegotiating a new plan, but if he can't, "that's fine." UNFCCC released a statement later saying renegotiation is not on the table.
  • The reaction: Elon Musk quit Trump's council. CEOs said they were disappointed. 50 mayors pledged to uphold the deal. Key European leaders expressed their regret.
  • The cost: Scientists say any delay in US efforts to halt greenhouse gas emissions could cost in the long term. The US is the second largest emitter, only behind China, which is staying in the deal.
  • The future: The vast majority of scientists agree that higher temperatures will cause rising seas, flooded coastal cities, mass extinction, drought, migration crises, deadlier heatwaves, crop failures and stronger storms

May 21, 2017: STANDARD Digital
In U.S. presidential first, Trump prays at Jerusalem's Western Wall



Trump hits back, calls special counsel appointment ‘greatest witch hunt’ ever

Concludes. . . Democrats who are championing the unprecedented assault against a Republican president should be careful what they wish for; should a Democrat defy the odds and somehow win the presidency at some point in the future, they will have already laid the groundwork for frivolous and unfounded removal from office of said president.

In other words, what goes around, comes around.

May 18, 2017: Trump shows wear from a brutal week POLITICO

AP Photo

The Election Is Over, but Trump Can’t Seem to Get Past It

May 13, 2017: The New York Times

May 11, 2017: Trump’s attempt to fix the Comey crisis made it worse

The president's interview contradicting the explanation his aides have given for the FBI director's firing raised more questions than it answered. POLITICO


May 10, 2017: Did President Trump fire James Comey as part of a cover-up? BBC

April 29, 2017: A ONE HUNDRED DAYS OF TRUMPThe New Yorker

With his nativist and purely transactional view of politics, he threatens to be democracy’s most reckless caretaker.

BEGINS....On Inauguration Day, at the Capitol, Trump no longer affected any awe of the task before him or respect for his predecessors. He furiously rebuked the elected officials seated behind him and the international order that they served. Using the language of populist demagogues, from Huey Long to George Wallace to Silvio Berlusconi, the new President implied that he, the Leader, was in perfect communion with the People, and that together they would repair the landscape of “American carnage” and return it to its prelapsarian state of grace. In this union, it seemed, there was no place for the majority of the electorate, which had voted for Hillary Clinton. African-Americans, Muslim Americans, Latinos, immigrants—it was hard to tell if Trump counted them as the People, too. More likely, they remained the objects of anxiety, fear, and disdain that they had been during the campaign. As George W. Bush was leaving the grandstand, according to New York, he was heard to say, “That was some weird shit.”
The clownish veneer of Trumpism conceals its true danger. Trump’s way of lying is not a joke; it is a strategy, a way of clouding our capacity to think, to live in a realm of truth. It is said that each epoch dreams the one to follow. The task now is not merely to recognize this Presidency for the emergency it is, and to resist its assault on the principles of reality and the values of liberal democracy, but to devise a future, to debate, to hear one another, to organize, to preserve and revive precious things.
Cartoon from the Sydney Morning Herald

April 28, 2017: The 100 most Donald Trump quotes about his first 100 days. POLITICO 

​A sample:

100. “Believe me.” (WSJ)

April 18, 2018: US Armada off course? Fake News?
WASHINGTON — Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior. “We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News last Tuesday afternoon.
The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.  The New York Times

Bring it on!

You not seen anything yet. Trust me!
Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!

A Trump tweet

April 13, 2017: Backhander from Down Under
Donald Trump is “the most ill-informed, under-prepared, ethically challenged and psychologically ill-equipped president in US history”, the former Australian foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans has said.

Flashback to 2016
"We have someone running for president who instead of bringing [people] back together like we did in South Carolina, he's telling his supporters to punch a guy in the face! He's telling them if they don't do the right thing to carry him out on a stretcher. He's telling them to say, do it again. He's not denouncing the KKK when this is exactly the same group that protested on my statehouse grounds. We can't have Donald Trump as president! We can't."

-Nikki Haley [Now US Ambassador to the UN]

April 8, 2017: Mixed reaction to Trump's missile attack on Syria.  here

Bannon and Kushner hold sit-down in attempt to bury the hatchet

The meeting, ordered by President Trump, comes amid rising tensions between senior aides.

INDEPENDENT story               

April 5, 2017: Trump drops Steve Bannon from National Security Council
You're FIRED!
REUTERS has story

April 2, 2017: The Los Angeles Times launched a six part editorial broadside entitled 'The Problem with Trump':

Donald Trump's unique tweets and speeches explained HERE

April 2, 2017: White House released first official picture of the First Lady 

March 29, 2017: Donald Trump has proposed cuts to medical research funding, infrastructure programs and community grants to pay for his US-Mexico border wall.

President Donald Trump is proposing immediate budget cuts of $US18 billion ($A24 billion) from programs like medical research, infrastructure and community grants so US taxpayers, not Mexico, can cover the down payment on his border wall.

The White House documents were submitted to Congress amid negotiations over a catchall spending bill that would avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next month.

The package would wrap up $US1.1 ($A1.4) trillion in unfinished spending bills and address the Trump administration's request for an immediate $US30 billion ($A39 billion) in additional Pentagon spending.

The latest Trump proposal would eliminate $US1.2 billion ($A1.6 billion) in National Institutes of Health research grants, a favourite of both parties. Full story


March 22, 2017 Poll: Trump's approval rating dips to new low 37 percent. 

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dipped to a new low of 37 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll.
A majority of American voters surveyed by Quinnipiac between March 16 and 21 — 56 percent — said they disapprove of the president’s job performance. Quinnipiac’s last survey, on March 7, had Trump’s standing at a slightly better 41 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove rating.

In more bad news for Trump in the most recent survey, 60 percent of voters said they believe he is dishonest; 55 percent said he does not have good leadership skills; and 57 percent do not think he cares about average Americans.

The large majority of voters surveyed also said they do not believe Trump’s unsupported and publicly refuted claim that former President Barack Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of Trump Tower last year (only 19 percent believe it happened, while 70 percent do not).
The survey had a sample size of 1,056 and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Full story


March 20, 2017: President Donald Trump comes to Louisville on high-profile day [at Kentucky Rally]

President Donald Trump was met with thunderous approval on a campaign-style stop in Louisville on Monday, offering a familiar blend of promises to restore jobs, cut taxes, rebuild the nation's "crumbling infrastructure," strengthen the military and stop illegal immigration.

“We will build a great border wall,” he declared to cheers at a packed Freedom Hall in describing his plans to block Mexican immigrants. “We will stop radical Islamic terrorism.”

"We are going to drain the swamp of government corruption," he said. "We are going to keep our promises."

But one of the biggest cheers of the night erupted when Trump promised to restore the nation’s struggling coal industry, which has hit Kentucky especially hard with job losses — a pledge most experts believe is unlikely because of an abundance of cheaper natural gas and the costs and pollution of coal.

Trump's weekend get-away: Mar-a-Lago
American taxpayers must foot a bill of more than £2.4 million each time Mr Trump travels to the private Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago amounting to £485 million over a four-year presidency according to the INDEPENDENT

March 17, 2017: Trump’s bonkers budget: the exact opposite of what the US needs

The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty.

His new budget, released on Friday, comes down especially hard on the poor – imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants, funds to keep poor families warm, even “meals on wheels”.

These cuts come at a time when more American families are in poverty than ever before, including one in five children.

Why is Trump doing this? To pay for the biggest hike in military spending since the 1980s. Yet the US already spends more on its military than the next seven biggest military budgets put together.

He ran for president as a man of the people, who was going to fight for those who were left behind, but everything we’re hearing about his forthcoming federal budget says exactly the opposite: Spending that’s a great deal for big corporations that have hired armies of lobbyists, and great for the wealthiest few like himself, but leaving everyone else a lot worse off.

From the The NEWDaily. For more click here

March 2, 2017: BBC Report: Russia: The scandal Trump can't shake

January-March: In Bali, Trump’s Planned Six-Star Hotel Risks Angering the Gods. click here
It will be known as the Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali. [The site is of World Heritage status.] Donald Trump’s company has paired with an Indonesian tycoon to build what they say will be the largest resort on the island. With construction targeted to start in early 2018, it risks making the new U.S. president a lightning rod for local ire over the project even as he seeks to divorce himself from his sprawling business empire.

March 7, 2017: Inside Donald Trump's fury: President rages at leaks, setbacks and accusations. Sydney Morning Herald

by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker

Washington: US President Donald Trump spent the weekend at "the winter White House", Mar-a-Lago, the secluded Florida castle where he is king. The sun sparkles off the glistening lawn and warms the russet clay Spanish tiles, and the steaks are cooked just how he likes them (well done). His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner - celebrated as calming influences on the tempestuous President - joined him. But they were helpless to contain his fury.
Trump was mad - steaming, raging mad.

Trump's young presidency has existed in a perpetual state of chaos. The issue of Russia has distracted from what was meant to be his most triumphant moment: his address last Tuesday to a joint session of Congress. And now his latest unfounded accusation - that former president Barack Obama tapped Trump's phones during the election campaign - had been denied by Obama and doubted by both allies and fellow Republicans.

For full article click here

March 6, 2017: Trump has acussed Obama of having his phone tapped by FBI or CIA before the election. For Daily Telegraph story click here

In quotes | The Trump - Putin relationship

Putin on Trump:

  • “He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that… He is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.” - December 2015

  • [Trump] “behaves extravagantly of course, we see this, but I think there’s a reason for this. He represents part of US society that’s tired of having the elite in power for decades” – October 2016

Trump on Putin:

  • “It is always a great honour to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.” - December 2015

  • “I have no relationship with [Putin] other than he called me a genius. He said Donald Trump is a genius and he is going to be the leader of the party and he’s going to be the leader of the world or something. He said some good stuff about me… I think I’d have a good relationship with Putin, who knows.” - February 2016

  • “I have nothing to do with Putin, I have never spoken to him, I don’t know anything about him, other than he will respect me.” - July 2016

  • “I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there’s nothing I can think of that I’d rather do than have Russia friendly as opposed to how they are right now so that we can go and knock out Isis together with other people. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along?” - July 2016

  • “The man has very strong control over a country. It’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader.” - September 2016

  • “Well I think when [Putin] called me brilliant, I’ll take the compliment, okay?” - September 2016

March 5, 2017: Trump's Tweets since January 20 annotated by npr

March 3, 2017: from the Guardian.com

by David Smith in Washington

He has been attempting to sound more presidential. Now he wants to look like a commander-in-chief, too.
Donald Trump donned a green bomber jacket and even dumped his “Make America great again” baseball cap in favour of a naval one when he spoke on a new aircraft carrier in Virginia on Thursday.
But not everyone was impressed by the Top Gun navy flight jacket fashion statement – from a man who, while surrounding himself with military officers in government, received in his youth five deferments from the Vietnam war draft: four for university and one for “heel spurs”.

After touring the USS Gerald R Ford, an aircraft carrier weighing 100,000 tons and billed as the most powerful warship ever known, Trump, with the jacket over his shirt and tie, told crew members: “You know what, they just gave me this beautiful jacket. They said, ‘Here Mr President, please take this home.’

“I said, ‘Let me wear it,’ and then they gave me the beautiful hat and I said, ‘You know, maybe I’ll do that’. We have a great ‘Make America great again’ hat but I said, ‘This is a special day, we’re wearing this, right?’”

The blue hat said “USS Gerald R Ford” and on the front, with a picture, and “POTUS” and “45” on the back. Trump, who gave his customary thumbs up, added: “I have no idea how it looks, but I think it looks good. It’s a great-looking hat, just like this is a great-looking ship.”

But like George W Bush and Barack Obama before him, Trump’s dalliance with military apparel elicited some sarcastic responses. Author and broadcaster Joy Reid tweeted: “Trump – who got five deferments from Vietnam – is currently cosplaying as a military man, complete with hat and jacket.”

Ahmed Tawakal‏, based in Nairobi, Kenya, tweeted: “The only jacket Trump should be wearing is a straight jacket.”


'Neutralising the press'

More untruths have come from the White House in the past two weeks than in the previous 25 years, according to Mr Frum.

"We have seen a great deal of the President's effort has gone into neutralising the press, not by censoring them, but by depriving them of their audience, by filling the air with so many lies that people no longer believe there is such a thing as truth any more," he said.

And he said there had never been anything like the press conferences hosted by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

"It's really amazing that things are said from that podium in front of the White House insignia that are not true.
"Press secretaries are not under oath and have a long history of misleading or evading the question ... but they do not outright lie.

"What has happened in the last two weeks represents more untruths that have come from that podium in the previous quarter century. There's nothing like it."

He said more and more people in the US Government have been drawn into "the production of an alternative reality, or alternative facts, that are designed to create cynicism".

"Instead of asking them to believe anything, it's better to ask them to believe nothing. Because then they can't ever say you lied to them. They expect to be lied to."

Ffrom ABC News in Australia-For more click here

Februrary 28, 2017: Donald Trump's tribute to Navy SEAL Ryan Owens shows his ignorance and cynicism, says Paul Waldman in The Washington Post
Carryn Owens, wife of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, with Trump family members leading the applause.

. . . As the applause went on and Carryn Owens stood weeping, Trump offered what in the tiny, narcissistic world he exists in is the highest form of praise: "And Ryan is looking down, right now, you know that. And he's very happy, because I think he just broke a record," referring to the length of the ovation.

What exactly is that supposed to mean? Owens set the "Longest Applause for Dead Service Member In Joint Speech to Congress" record? What kind of person could possibly think that would matter to anyone? Oh, right - Donald Trump would.

For full story click here


February 28, 2017: The modesty of man shone through in this report in the New York Times

Trump: ‘I think I’ve done great things’

Mr. Trump gave his presidency an A so far in an interview broadcast Tuesday morning, but he added that he would only give himself a C for communicating how great he has been.

Appearing on “Fox and Friends,” which he has called one of his favorite shows, Mr. Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for organizing opposition against him, called Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, “incompetent” and gently criticized his own press secretary for how he has handled leaks.

The interview, shown just hours before Mr. Trump was to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress, set the stage for a day when he will have perhaps the biggest audience available to him for the rest of his first year in office. He highlighted his plans to increase military spending, tighten borders and replace Mr. Obama’s health care program, and he boasted that he had already brought back jobs to America.

“I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have — I and my people — I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public,” he said. “I think I get an A in terms of what I’ve actually done, but in terms of messaging, I’d give myself a C or a C-plus.”

A glimpse inside Robert Mercer's 200 foot yacht Sea Owl

February 10, 2017: For the Trump Family Conflicts of Interest click here

February 7, 2017: Thoughts on Trump, the Truth, and the Media:

A former speechwriter for George W. Bush, David Frum, argued in The Atlantic that rather than extinguish the media altogether,

"modern strongmen seek merely to discredit journalism as an institution, by denying that such a thing as independent judgment can exist. All reporting serves an agenda. There is no truth, only competing attempts to grab power."

Russian-born journalist Masha Gessen says that Trump and Putin are alike:

"Lying is the message. They lie blatantly to assert power over truth itself".

LINK: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/donald-trump-has-given-two-great-gifts-to-china-20170206-gu6djn.html


February 6, 2017:

Is Donald Trump in the process of transforming the United States into an autocracy? 

In November 2013, the historian Ronald Radosh visited multimillionaire Bannon in his townhouse, located in Capitol Hill. The two stood in front of a photo of Bannon's daughter Maureen, an elite soldier with a machine gun in her lap posing on what had once been Saddam Hussein's gold throne. At the time, Bannon was the head of the right-wing propaganda website Breitbart and the two were discussing his political goals. Then Bannon proudly proclaimed, "I'm a Leninist."

The historian reacted with shock, asking him what he meant. "Lenin," he answered, "wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment." By that, he meant the Democratic Party, the media, but also the Republicans.

For full article at SPIEGEL ONLINE click here

A sprinkling of Steve Bannon quotes:

“Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to take action,”
- 2010 interview, quoted by the New York Times

“I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
- in conversation, 2013, quoted by The Daily Beast

“Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them [the Republican party establishment] do their duty,”
- 2014 Breitbart internal email obtained by The Daily Beast

“We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-’ the permanent political class. We say Paul Ryan was grown in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.”
- 2016 interview quoted by the Washington Post

“The progressive narrative [is] all about victimhood. They’re either a victim of race. They’re a victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor; not the great liberator.”
- 2011 radio interview quoted by BuzzFeed News

“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe. Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.”
- 2016 Mother Jones interview

“Not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken. So part of the prime drivers of the wealth that they took in the 15 years leading up to the crisis was not hit at all, and I think that’s one of the fuels of this populist revolt that we’re seeing as the tea party.”
- 2014 speech to Vatican conference

“…at the end of the day, I think that Putin and his cronies are really a kleptocracy, that are really an imperialist power that want to expand.”
- 2014 Vatican conference speech

On February 2, 2017, Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, phoned President Trump. The phone manner of Trump was less than diplomatic. The Sydney Morning Herald subsequently received many letters of apology from American citizens. Below are three.

Please share with the good people of Australia our deepest and sincerest apologies for the behaviour of the man who now occupies the White House. ("Donald Trump will 'respect' deal made with Prime Minister 'Trunbull'", February 3)
As an American citizen, who has spent a lifetime in government service, who has lived through the administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and beyond, I can tell you that we have never had such an oaf in office before.  I am so sorry.  To PM Turnbull, please accept our apologies.
Please, never forget, He does NOT represent the views and attitudes of the American people.  He is a minority president who lost the popular vote by approximately three million votes.  He barely won the electoral college by 42,000 votes in states where over 400,000 voters were purged from the rolls and were not permitted to vote. It will get worse before it gets better ... brace yourselves, we're all in this together.
Robert Mikol, Fairbanks, Alaska

Dear Australia, 
I am so very sorry that we have elected such a boor and ignoramus as our president, and that he has chosen to insult such a good friend as you have been to us.  As you probably know, most of us did not vote for this so-called person, but through bad luck and electoral peculiarities we are stuck with him. I just want all of you to know that we love and appreciate Australia, and that we are horrified and embarrassed at his daily hissy-fits. You, of all people, should never have been at the receiving end of one of his tantrums. Please bear with us and accept our heartfelt apologies.
Love America.
Kyle Riggs, Ashland, Oregon 

Come now, can anyone be surprised by anything that Donald (Tweety) Trump says and does? Weren't you watching and listening to his performance during the campaigns and election for the presidency?  It's P.T. Barnum Goes to Washington. Malcolm Turnbull should not feel too upset that his call to the White House ended abruptly.  Anything that runs beyond 140 characters stretches beyond Tweety's attention span.
Bill O'Reilly, Hastings on Hudson, New York

Fact Sheet: What Trump Reads and Watches on TV

President Trump spends substantial time and energy ridiculing the media. He spends even more time consuming —and obsessing about — it.

Print copies of three newspapers. When Billy Bush was on, "Access Hollywood" every night. TiVo of the morning and evening news shows so he can watch the tops of all of them. Always "60 Minutes." Often "Meet the Press." Lots of New York talk radio.

He's not a book guy: In fact, some advisers say they don't recall seeing him read one or even talking about one beyond his own, "The Art of the Deal." And, as he told us, he's not one for long reports or detailed briefings. One page usually suffices. Bullet points are even better. But he does consume — often in huge doses — lots of traditional media.
"He's an analog guy," one top adviser told us, saying he never sees the boss on a computer or using his phone for anything but calls. 

The president's media diet:
When Trump was in the tower, he got hard copies of the N.Y. Times and N.Y. Post (which a friend calls "the paper of record for him" — he especially studies Page Six). He "skims The Wall Street Journal," the friend said. No Washington Post, although friends assume he'll add it now. He had started skipping the other New York tab, the Daily News, because he thought it treated him shabbily.

Trump knows specific bylines in the papers and when he's interviewed by a reporter, he can recite how the reporter has treated him over the years, even in previous jobs.

Before the campaign, his aides subscribed to an electronic clipping service that flagged any mention of his name, then his staff printed out the key articles. He'll scroll through Twitter, but he doesn't surf the web himself.

With an allergy to computers and phones, he works the papers. With a black Sharpie in hand, he marks up the Times or other printed stories. When he wants action or response, he scrawls the staffers' names on that paper and either hands the clip to them in person, or has a staffer create a PDF of it — with handwritten commentary — and email it to them. An amazed senior adviser recently pulled out his phone to show us a string of the emailed PDFs, all demanding response. It was like something from the early 90s. Even when he gets worked up enough to tweet, Trump told us in our interview he will often simply dictate it, and let his staff hit "send" on Twitter.

Most mornings, Trump flicks on the TV and watches "Morning Joe," often for long periods of time, sometimes interrupted with texts to the hosts or panelists. After the 6 a.m. hour of "Joe," he's often on to "Fox & Friends" by 7 a.m., with a little CNN before or after. He also catches the Sunday shows, especially "Meet the Press." "The shows," as he calls them, often provoke his tweets. The day of our interview with him, all of his tweet topics were discussed during the first two hours of "Morning Joe."

"60 Minutes" is usually on his DVR. "He's so old-school that he thinks it's awesome to go on '60 Minutes," a friend said. "He loves being one of Barbara Walters' '10 Most Fascinating People' of the year." Before Trump ran, a staple that he watched every weeknight was Billy Bush's "Access Hollywood." Same with Time Magazine. His office and hotels are full of framed copies of him on the cover.

Why this matters: Trump has been hooked on coverage, especially of himself, since the glory days of the New York tabloids, when he would happily leak details about his affairs and business deals. He can't quit it. So the notion he will surrender the remote, or Twitter, or his grievances with reporters is pure fantasy. Aides talk of giving him "better choices" or jamming his schedule with meetings to keep him away from reading about or watching himself on TV. But this is an addiction he will never kick.


Funny how that term caught on, isn’t it? . . . I tell everyone, I hated it. Somebody said “Drain the swamp,” and I said, “Oh, that is so hokey. That is so terrible.” . . . I said, all right, I’ll try it. . . . So, like a month ago, I said, “Drain the swamp,” and the place went crazy. And I said, “Whoa, what’s this?” Then I said it again. And then I start saying it like I meant it, right? And then I said it—I started loving it, and the place loved it. Drain the swamp. It’s true. It’s true. Drain the swamp.

– Donald Trump, speaking at Des Moines during the presidential campaign.

For The New Yorker article in full click here

Credit: Doug Chayka; Photo by Damon Winter/The New York Times

Fact Sheet: Trump's principal backers, according to Fortune magazine

Peter Thiel (Peter Andreas Thiel, born October 11, 1967) is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and author. Referred to as the "Don of the PayPal Mafia". In 2016, Forbes lists him with a net worth of $2.7 billion.

Carl Icahn (Carl Celian Icahn, born February 16, 1936) is an American business magnate, investor, activist shareholder, and philanthropist. He is the founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate holding company based in New York City, formerly known as American Real Estate Partners. He is also Chairman of Federal-Mogul, an American developer, manufacturer and supplier of powertrain components and vehicle safety products. In the 1980s Icahn developed a reputation as a "corporate raider" after profiting from the hostile takeover and asset stripping of the American airline TWA.

Tom Barrack (Thomas J. "Tom" Barrack Jr. born 1947/1948) is an American private equity real estate investor and the founder, chairman, and CEO of Colony Capital. A close friend and ally of President Donald Trump, who has represented him on tv news shows. He served as the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Woody Johnson (Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, born April 12, 1947) is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is a great-grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson), and the owner of the New York Jets of the National Football League.

Stephen Feinberg (Stephen A. "Steve" Feinberg born March 29, 1960) is an American financier, who is active in hedge fund management and private equity. He is known for turning around struggling businesses and making them profitable. He is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. The New York Times reported that President Trump will assign him to a review of the US intelligence agencies.
Steven Mnuchin (Steven Terner "Steve" Mnuchin December 21, 1962) is an American politician and hedge fund manager who is the 77th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, under the Trump Administration.

Sheldon Adelson (Sheldon Gary Adelson born August 4, 1933) is an American casino magnate. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. He also owns the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. On Adelson made a $25 million donation to Trump's presidential campaign, as part of a $65 million donation to the 2016 Republican electoral campaign.

Robert Mercer (Robert Leroy Mercer born July 11, 1946) is an American computer scientist and co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund. Mercer and his daughter played a role in the elevation of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway into senior roles in the Trump campaign. He has huge model train in his home basement in addition to his 200-foot luxury afloat, the Sea Owl. Together with his wife Mercer directly contributed roughly $23 million to federal candidates and political committees during 2016 election cycle to the end of August. Of that, Mercer gave $15.5 million to Make America Number 1. Mercer earned $150 million last year, according to Forbes.

T. Boone Pickens (Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. born May 22, 1928), known as T. Boone Pickens, is an American business magnate and financier. Pickens chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He was a well-known takeover operator and corporate raider during the 1980s. As of November 2016, Pickens has a net worth of $500 million.

Stanley Hubbard (Stanley Stub Hubbard born 1933) is an American billionaire heir and business executive. He is the chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting. As of February 2017, Forbes lists Hubbard with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Darwin Deason The former Arkansas farm boy joined Dallas data-processing firm MTech to became CEO at 29. He sold MTech in 1988 to start Affiliated Computer Services that he sold to Xerox for $6.4 billion in 2010. Deason and his fifth wife Katerina split their time between Dallas, San Diego and their 205-foot yacht "Apogee." As of February 2017, Forbes lists Hubbard with a net worth of $1.18 billion.

Wilbur Ross (Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. born November 28, 1937) is an American investor and former banker known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. As of February 2017, Forbes magazine lists Ross with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Andrew Beal (Daniel Andrew "Andy" Beal, born November 29, 1952) is an American banker, businessman, investor, poker player, and amateur mathematician. He is a Dallas-based businessman who accumulated wealth in real estate and banking. Beal is founder and chairman of Beal Bank and Beal Bank USA, and other affiliated companies. He has an estimated worth of $7.6 billion as of February 2016.

John Paulson (John Alfred Paulson born December 14, 1955) is an American hedge fund manager and billionaire[ who heads Paulson & Co., a New York-based investment management firm he founded in 1994. He has been called "one of the most prominent names in high finance" and "a man who made one of the biggest fortunes in Wall Street history". His prominence and fortune were made in 2007 when he earned almost $4 billion by using credit default swaps to effectively bet against the U.S. subprime mortgage lending market. In 2010, Forbes estimated his net worth at $8.6 billion as of November 2016.

Darwin Deason aboard Apogee living 'The Good Life Aquatic' as told in Vanity Fair magazine.

In March 2016 SPIEGEL ONLINE sent out this warning:

A Threat to World Peace

. . . If the most powerful office in the world wasn't at stake, all this wouldn't be nearly as dangerous. Germany has been too busy dealing with the supposed threat posed by refugees in recent months to appreciate what's really been going on across the Atlantic. Despite their differences, the US and Germany share an unshakeable faith in democracy and freedom. But nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if Donald Trump were to be elected president. Compared to that, the America of George W. Bush would seem like a land of logic and reason in retrospect.

For full article:SPIEGEL ONLINE


Going back to 1990 this article appeared in Vanity Fair magazine. The then 45 year old Donald Trump, property developer, casino owner and 'author' of The Art Of The Deal, was spared no quarter by reporter Marie Brenner. After including Ivana's disclosure her husband kept a book of Adolf Hitler speeches by his bedside, Brenner wrote:

I thought about the ten years since I had first met Donald Trump. It is fashionable now to say that he was a symbol of the crassness of the 1980s, but Trump became more than a vulgarian. Like Michael Milken, Trump appeared to believe that his money gave him a freedom to set the rules. No one stopped him. His exaggerations and baloney were reported, and people laughed. His bankers showered him with money. City officials almost allowed him to set public policy by erecting his wall of concrete on the Hudson River. New York City*, like the bankers from the Chase and Manny Hanny, allowed Trump to exist in a universe where all reality had vanished. “I met with a couple of reporters,” Trump told me on the telephone, “and they totally saw what I was saying. They completely believed me. And then they went out and wrote vicious things about me, as I am sure you will, too.” Long ago, Trump had counted me among his enemies in his world of “positives” and “negatives.” I felt that the next dozen people he spoke to would probably be subjected to a catalogue of my transgressions as imagined by Donald Trump. 

For the full article by Brenner click here

Fast forward 26 years to June 2016. Dan P. McAdams wrote  in The Atlantic:

[Trump] never thinks twice about the collateral damage he will leave behind. Tough. Bellicose. Threatening. Explosive.

while during the Presidential campaign Republican candidate Mitt Romney told his audience:

"Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat."​​

The documentary film Trump didn't want shown:

Donald Trump: The full Documentary of a Narcisistic Sociopath

​Is Trump a sociopath?.

10 signs for spotting a sociopath 

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

#1) Sociopaths are charming. Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a "glow" about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction. They often appear to be sexy or have a strong sexual attraction. Not all sexy people are sociopaths, obviously, but watch out for over-the-top sexual appetites and weird fetishes.

#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. They tend to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things that most regular people wouldn't do. They are unbound by normal social contracts. Their behavior often seems irrational or extremely risky.

#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others. This is why you will find many very "successful" sociopaths in high levels of government, in any nation.

#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. They wildly exaggerate things to the point of absurdity, but when they describe it to you in a storytelling format, for some reason it sounds believable at the time.

#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and "win" at all costs. They hate to lose any argument or fight and will viciously defend their web of lies, even to the point of logical absurdity.

#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent, but they use their brainpower to deceive others rather than empower them. Their high IQs often makes them dangerous. This is why many of the best-known serial killers who successfully evaded law enforcement were sociopaths.

#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love and are entirely self-serving. They may feign love or compassion in order to get what they want, but they don't actually FEEL love in the way that you or I do.

#8) Sociopaths speak poetically. They are master wordsmiths, able to deliver a running "stream of consciousness" monologue that is both intriguing and hypnotic. They are expert storytellers and even poets. As a great example of this in action, watch this interview of Charles Manson on YouTube.

#9) Sociopaths never apologize. They are never wrong. They never feel guilt. They can never apologize. Even if shown proof that they were wrong, they will refuse to apologize and instead go on the attack.

#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth merely because they say it! Charles Manson, the sociopathic murderer, is famous for saying, "I've never killed anyone! I don't need to kill anyone! I THINK it! I have it HERE! (Pointing to his temple.) I don't need to live in this physical realm..."

View full article here

Click on image for How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions

Trumps irratic behaviour raises serious questions on his fitness for office:


Psychologists on TRUMP’s Extreme NARCISSISM*

*Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was popularly introduced in Sigmund Freud's essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has had the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968, drawing on the historical concept of megalomania.

Narcissism is also considered a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality[1] such as the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory. It is one of the three dark triadic personality traits (the others being psychopathy and Machiavellianism). Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person's or group's relationships with self and others. Narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. [Wikipedia]



Some commentators have compared Trump to Hitler. Overeach? Trump may only be an oaf, a snake oil salesman, a sociopath, while Hitler has been labelled 'the incarnation of evil'. Big difference. So what are the FACTS?


In his book FLIGHT FROM TERROR (published in 1943) the exiled Nazi OTTO STASSER reflected on the character of ADOLF HITLER and the way he manipulated his audiences:

Then it came time for Adolf Hitler to appear. A hush seemed to come over the crowd as they waited motionless for him to walk on the stage. Suddenly he was on the platform, walking slowly to his place behind the speaker's table.

Hitler, the speaker, was always sure of himself; of that there could be no doubt in anyone's mind. In those days he rarely prepared a speech, but stood looking out over his audience until the words welled up within him. On this occasion his slimness was accentuated by a dark suit; his right hand was held stiffly across his abdomen, the palm pressed tightly against his body. As he surveyed the audience and stood silently waiting for the words to come, a brilliant light grew in his eyes. His nostrils fairly quivered, as though he were breathing in through some super-acute sense of smell the temper, the very soul-quality, of his listeners.

He started speaking slowly, gradually increasing the smooth rhythm and volume of his voice until he was shouting in bitter anger. The change was not even noticed; there was a certain indefinable quality in his voice that seemed to grip the listener and carry him along with it. I can only describe the power of his voice in this manner: Most novelists write stories in which there is a strong central character; the reader identifies himself with the hero, and as he reads through the story suffers the trials and misfortunes of that fictional character. So it was with Hitler's audience. They seemed to identify themselves with his voice, to lose themselves in it, casting aside their own weakness and blind groping to adopt its strength and sureness. It was not the voice of Hitler speaking out to them; it was their own voice, the voice of Germany.

Hitler began with scornful denunciations of the venal politicians who had sold Germany into slavery at the "Versailles Dictate": the people were being ground into the mire; the heavy heel of the foreign oppressor was upon their necks; when would this Germany awake, he screamed in appeal.

"It's my Germany!" he howled, his fist beating against his chest. "It's your Germany !" he yelled, a forefinger stabbing out to shame the crowd. "We are the German people, whose blood is the most precious thing in the world, a people who have a right for a place under the sun! And a right to more than that! For we are endowed by God with blood so rich that merely by being alive we are of inestimable benefit to the world!" Then he stood motionless for a moment, tense, silent, gazing deep into the collective face of his audience. Suddenly, his hands quivering high above his head, he screamed: "Germans, when will you hear me? Germans, when will you arise?"

An explosion of emotional hysteria greeted this. Men whistled, howled, danced, shouted, applauded; not one of them now remaining seated - while Hitler stood stiffly before them, head thrown back, arms akimbo in proud acceptance of their adulation, a soft smile playing about the corners of his mouth.

To the poverty-stricken German youths who faced a black future those words came as a divine revelation. To them it was a logical explanation that bridged the gap between their own fierce pride and their wretched condition. And here was a man who was telling them they need be humble and subservient no longer; that they could arise and strike! It was a clarion call to action. Hadn't he said: "Rise up and right this terrible wrong, for it is a disgrace before God - else He never would have put the precious blood of leaders in Aryan veins!"

I found myself breathing heavily too, standing like the rest, swept out of myself by the audience's delirious joy, with its psychological mob-influence that affected everyone present. I actually felt uplifted - but not for a second did I forget that Hitler hadn't said a single sentence that had any real meaning I had listened hopefully for words about socialism, about an economic program, about unemployment, about a cure for the most deadly threat of the hour: inflation. But there weren't any. There was only fine-sounding rhetoric and courageous defiance delivered by a genius of the art of rabble-rousing. But perhaps this orator would work around to more concrete matters in the last half of his speech.

His overstrained voice hoarse now, Hitler began to speak of the Communists and their menace to Germany. To be enslaved by the Moscow Bolshevists, he warned dolefully, would complete the degradation of the Fatherland, would seal its doom forever. But - and here his voice began its upswing again - May first was coming, and that was the celebration day of the Communists. With outrage dripping from every word, he told how the Communists all over the world planned to flaunt their power in the face of decent people. Why, even here in Catholic Bavaria, he shouted, the Communists were planning a gigantic demonstration! What if the local authorities should prove too weak-spined and corrupt to prevent it? And again he paused to let his listeners ponder the enormity of such a thing. It was the dramatic pause he liked so well - and used so effectively.

"What then?" he roared at them. "I'll tell you what then I, Adolf Hitler, in the name of the National Socialist Party tell you that this crowning disgrace shall never take place." He began to pound the table in a frenzy of eloquence until the blows of his fist had it dancing on the platform. "I pledge you on my sacred honor," he screamed, "that such a parade will take place only over my dead body!"

Again there was pandemonium. The crowd came to its feet as one man, wildly cheering their martyr; for in their eyes Hitler had already assumed that role. It was a terrifically dramatic close to the meeting. Four thousand spectators thundering a frenzied ovation; Hitler again standing before them stiff and straight, his arms folded across his chest this time; and the long rows of uniformed troopers marching smartly out of the auditorium to the quick tempo of the faintly heard band. And the voice of the troopers was prophetic, too; their shout was to be heard all through Germany in the days to come: "Die Strasse frei den braunen Battaillonen ..."Clear the street for the brown battalions ... !"

Now I knew what my brother had in mind when he told me that the party was planning big things, for with consummate skill Hitler had maneuvered both himself and the party into a position from which they could rehearse for the coming revolution. If they succeeded in forcibly seizing part of the sovereign power of Bavaria, which is what they would be doing if they could stop the Reds, it would be the first step toward seizing all of it. And if the authorities should fight, Hitler would be a great hero - if not, indeed, an actual martyr - since he would be battling to put down the vastly unpopular Reds. He would then be fighting the people's fight against the rising tide of Communism.

Standing in the rear of the hall, I watched as the audience filed out in the wake of Hitler's uniformed marchers, and I was particularly interested to observe the expressions on their faces as these people shuffled slowly, close-packed, past me. Some seemed blank and dazed, as though still shocked by the force of Hitler's words, as though still trying to digest the "truths" he had roared to the rafters; others were ecstatic, up in the clouds, as they had been in that last moment of howling ovation; still others had a grim, determined look on their faces - a fighting look.

Hitler speaking at a Nuremburg rally. Trump may never reach this level of cult following, unless on Twitter.

In September 2016 The Washington Post carried the following opinion piece on Trump:

Explaining Donald Trump's appeal sits at the heart of understanding not only this election but, more broadly, the electorate that has produced this most unlikely of presidential candidates.

The easy answer — and the one favored by many Democrats — is racism. Racial animus, they argue, is the thread that ties all of Trump's support together. I don't buy that. Sure, there is an element of racially coded language employed by Trump and, without doubt, there are avowed racists who support him. But, is everyone who supports Trump a racist? I find that very hard to believe.

Friday morning on "Morning Joe," Chris Matthews gave the best explanation of what's behind Trump's appeal that I've heard in this entire election. I transcribed it — although you can watch it here, too. (It starts at about the five-minute mark of the clip.)
Here's the key bit:

A lot of this support for Trump, with all his flaws which he displays regularly, is about the country — patriotic feelings people have, they feel like the country has been let down. Our elite leaders on issues like immigration, they don't regulate any immigration it seems. They don't regulate trade to our advantage, to the working man or working woman's advantage. They take us into stupid wars. Their kids don't fight but our kids do.

It's patriotic. They believe in their country. .... [There is a] deep sense that the country is being taken away and betrayed. I think that is so deep with people that they're looking at a guy who's flawed as hell like Trump  and at least it's a way of saying I am really angry about the way the elite has treated my country. And it's so deep that it overwhelms all the bad stuff from Trump. It's that strong. It's a strong force wind.

The most important thing about Trump that Matthews gets is that the Republican nominee's appeal is fundamentally an emotional one. It's heart, not head. Spending time wondering why all of the fact-checking in the world doesn't change peoples' minds about Trump misses that point entirely. It's about a gut feeling that things are screwed up, and this guy is the only person who gets it. No fact-check changes how people feel.


Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/30/chris-matthews-just-nailed-donald-trumps-appeal/

Trump campaigning in Illinois 


Hitler employed private security guards that grew into a para-military force and ultimately became the feared SS.

Olivia Nuzzi reported on the DAILY BEAST in September 2016:

Donald Trump’s longtime fascination with having his own private security force is now a hefty campaign expense that might be illegal.

Throughout the 15 months he’s been running for president, Donald Trump’s campaign has paid private security contractors at least $432,201 for protection—$320,453 of which was spent after he was given a Secret Service detail in November 2015, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

See also Inside Trump's 'privatized mercenary force' by Kenneth P. Vogel and Brianna Gurciullo in POLITICO magazine, April 2016


Hitler had the passion of megalomaniac proportions for architecture and building. With his architect, Albert Speer, he planned the rebuilding of Berlin with the notion it would become the 'Capital of the World'. But due to the prosecution of war l​ittle was built.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Donald Trump took to property development like a duck to water. Along the way he diversified into casinos, sport and entertainment ventures. By 2016 the Trump Organisation has assembled a vast real estate empire spread across the USA and into many parts of the world. But Donald Trump's dream to build the tallest buiding in the world in New York has been thwarted several times. See:
Hitlers vision for Berlin to be the Capital of the World
Trump International Hotel and Tower-Chicago 2009


The personality of Adolf Hitler was disected in the 1943 secret service document titled Analysis of the Personality of Adolf Hitler with Predictions of his Future Behavior, and Suggestions for Dealing with Him Now and After His Defeat.

The document includes a section by W.H.D Vernon of Harvard University titled HITLER THE MAN—NOTES FOR A CASE STUDY. The following is a short extract:


[...] The [Hitler's] eyes are a neutral grey which tend to take on the color of their momentary surroundings. The look tends to be staring or dead and lacking sparkle. There is an essentially feminine quality about this person which is portrayed particularly in his strikingly well-shaped and expressive hands.

Hitler’s manner is essentially awkward and all his movements jerky except perhaps the gestures of his hands. He appears shy and ill at ease in company and seems seldom capable of carrying on conversation. Usually he declaims while his associates listen. He often seems listless and moody. This is in marked contrast to the dramatic energy of his speeches and his skillful play upon the emotions of his vast audiences, every changing mood of which he appears to perceive and to turn to his own purposes. At times he is conciliatory, at other times he may burst into violent temper tantrums if his whims are checked in any way.


Attitudes towards Nature, Fate, Religion.

First and last words are often significant. Mein Kampf begins with a sentiment of gratitude to Fate, and almost its last paragraph appeals for vindication to the Goddess of History. However, all through the book there are references to Eternal Nature, Providence, and Destiny. “Therefore, I believe today I am acting in the sense of the Almighty creator: by warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” This feeling of being directed by great forces outside one, of doing the Lord’s work, is the essence of the feeling of the religious mystic.

No matter how pagan Hitler’s ethical and social ideas may be, they have a quality comparable to religious experience. Moreover, all through his acts and words, both spoken and written, is this extreme exaggeration of his own self-importance –he truly feels his divine mission, even to the point of foreseeing a martyr’s death.

As far as authorized religion is concerned, Hitler recognized both its strength and weakness and adopted freely whatever he found serviceable for his own ends. That he strikes down Protestant and Catholic alike is due merely to the conviction that these religions are but old husks and must give way to the new.

Toward conscience his attitude is a dual one. On the one hand he repudiates it as an ethical guide, heaping contempt on it as a Jewish invention, a blemish like circumcision. He scorns as fools those who obey it. But in matters of action he waits upon his inner voice, “Unless I have the inner incorruptible conviction, this is the solution, I do nothing . . . I will not act, I will wait no matter what happens. But if the voice speaks, then I know the time has come to act” Like Socrates he listens to his Daimon.

In June 2016 Dan P. McAdams wrote a long evaluation of Trump' personality in The Atlantic:


Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency.

IN 2006, DONALD TRUMP made plans to purchase the Menie Estate, near Aberdeen, Scotland, aiming to convert the dunes and grassland into a luxury golf resort. He and the estate’s owner, Tom Griffin, sat down to discuss the transaction at the Cock & Bull restaurant. Griffin recalls that Trump was a hard-nosed negotiator, reluctant to give in on even the tiniest details. But, as Michael D’Antonio writes in his recent biography of Trump, Never Enough, Griffin’s most vivid recollection of the evening pertains to the theatrics. It was as if the golden-haired guest sitting across the table were an actor playing a part on the London stage.

“It was Donald Trump playing Donald Trump,” Griffin observed. There was something unreal about it.

The same feeling perplexed Mark Singer in the late 1990s when he was working on a profile of Trump for The New Yorker. Singer wondered what went through his mind when he was not playing the public role of Donald Trump. What are you thinking about, Singer asked him, when you are shaving in front of the mirror in the morning? Trump, Singer writes, appeared baffled. Hoping to uncover the man behind the actor’s mask, Singer tried a different tack:

“O.K., I guess I’m asking, do you consider yourself ideal company?”
“You really want to know what I consider ideal company?,” Trump replied. “A total piece of ass.”

I might have phrased Singer’s question this way: Who are you, Mr. Trump, when you are alone? Singer never got an answer, leaving him to conclude that the real-estate mogul who would become a reality-TV star and, after that, a leading candidate for president of the United States had managed to achieve something remarkable: “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”

Is Singer’s assessment too harsh? Perhaps it is, in at least one sense. As brainy social animals, human beings evolved to be consummate actors whose survival and ability to reproduce depend on the quality of our performances. We enter the world prepared to perform roles and manage the impressions of others, with the ultimate evolutionary aim of getting along and getting ahead in the social groups that define who we are.

More than even Ronald Reagan, Trump seems supremely cognizant of the fact that he is always acting. He moves through life like a man who knows he is always being observed. If all human beings are, by their very nature, social actors, then Donald Trump seems to be more so—superhuman, in this one primal sense.

Many questions have arisen about Trump during this campaign season—about his platform, his knowledge of issues, his inflammatory language, his level of comfort with political violence. This article touches on some of that. But its central aim is to create a psychological portrait of the man. Who is he, really? How does his mind work? How might he go about making decisions in office, were he to become president? And what does all that suggest about the sort of president he’d be?

In creating this portrait, I will draw from well-validated concepts in the fields of personality, developmental, and social psychology. Ever since Sigmund Freud analyzed the life and art of Leonardo da Vinci, in 1910, scholars have applied psychological lenses to the lives of famous people. Many early efforts relied upon untested, nonscientific ideas. In recent years, however, psychologists have increasingly used the tools and concepts of psychological science to shed light on notable lives, as I did in a 2011 book on George W. Bush. A large and rapidly growing body of research shows that people’s temperament, their characteristic motivations and goals, and their internal conceptions of themselves are powerful predictors of what they will feel, think, and do in the future, and powerful aids in explaining why. In the realm of politics, psychologists have recently demonstrated how fundamental features of human personality—such as extroversion and narcissism—shaped the distinctive leadership styles of past U. S. presidents, and the decisions they made. While a range of factors, such as world events and political realities, determine what political leaders can and will do in office, foundational tendencies in human personality, which differ dramatically from one leader to the next, are among them.

Trump’s personality is certainly extreme by any standard, and particularly rare for a presidential candidate; many people who encounter the man—in negotiations or in interviews or on a debate stage or watching that debate on television—seem to find him flummoxing. In this essay, I will seek to uncover the key dispositions, cognitive styles, motivations, and self-conceptions that together comprise his unique psychological makeup. Trump declined to be interviewed for this story, but his life history has been well documented in his own books and speeches, in biographical sources, and in the press. My aim is to develop a dispassionate and analytical perspective on Trump, drawing upon some of the most important ideas and research findings in psychological science today.

i. his disposition

Fifty years of empirical research in personality psychology have resulted in a scientific consensus regarding the most basic dimensions of human variability. There are countless ways to differentiate one person from the next, but psychological scientists have settled on a relatively simple taxonomy, known widely as the Big Five:

Extroversion: gregariousness, social dominance, enthusiasm, reward-seeking behavior.

Neuroticism: anxiety, emotional instability, depressive tendencies, negative emotions.

Conscientiousness: industriousness, discipline, rule abidance, organization.

Agreeableness: warmth, care for others, altruism, compassion, modesty.

Openness: curiosity, unconventionality, imagination, receptivity to new ideas.

Most people score near the middle on any given dimension, but some score toward one pole or the other. Research decisively shows that higher scores on extroversion are associated with greater happiness and broader social connections, higher scores on conscientiousness predict greater success in school and at work, and higher scores on agreeableness are associated with deeper relationships. By contrast, higher scores on neuroticism are always bad, having proved to be a risk factor for unhappiness, dysfunctional relationships, and mental-health problems. From adolescence through midlife, many people tend to become more conscientious and agreeable, and less neurotic, but these changes are typically slight: The Big Five personality traits are pretty stable across a person’s lifetime.

The psychologists Steven J. Rubenzer and Thomas R. Faschingbauer, in conjunction with about 120 historians and other experts, have rated all the former U.S. presidents, going back to George Washington, on all five of the trait dimensions. George W. Bush comes out as especially high on extroversion and low on openness to experience—a highly enthusiastic and outgoing social actor who tends to be incurious and intellectually rigid. Barack Obama is relatively introverted, at least for a politician, and almost preternaturally low on neuroticism—emotionally calm and dispassionate, perhaps to a fault.

Across his lifetime, Donald Trump has exhibited a trait profile that you would not expect of a U.S. president: sky-high extroversion combined with off-the-chart low agreeableness. This is my own judgment, of course, but I believe that a great majority of people who observe Trump would agree. There is nothing especially subtle about trait attributions. We are not talking here about deep, unconscious processes or clinical diagnoses. As social actors, our performances are out there for everyone to see.

Like George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (and Teddy Roosevelt, who tops the presidential extroversion list), Trump plays his role in an outgoing, exuberant, and socially dominant manner. He is a dynamo—driven, restless, unable to keep still. He gets by with very little sleep. In his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Trump described his days as stuffed with meetings and phone calls. Some 30 years later, he is still constantly interacting with other people—at rallies, in interviews, on social media. Presidential candidates on the campaign trail are studies in perpetual motion. But nobody else seems to embrace the campaign with the gusto of Trump. And no other candidate seems to have so much fun. A sampling of his tweets at the time of this writing:

3:13 a.m., April 12: “WOW, great new poll—New York! Thank you for your support!”

4:22 a.m., April 9: “Bernie Sanders says that Hillary Clinton is unqualified to be president. Based on her decision making ability, I can go along with that!”

5:03 a.m., April 8: “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things (remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign), and loving it!”

12:25 p.m., April 5: “Wow, @Politico is in total disarray with almost everyone quitting. Good news—bad, dishonest journalists!”

A cardinal feature of high extroversion is relentless reward-seeking. Prompted by the activity of dopamine circuits in the brain, highly extroverted actors are driven to pursue positive emotional experiences, whether they come in the form of social approval, fame, or wealth. Indeed, it is the pursuit itself, more so even than the actual attainment of the goal, that extroverts find so gratifying. When Barbara Walters asked Trump in 1987 whether he would like to be appointed president of the United States, rather than having to run for the job, Trump said no: “It’s the hunt that I believe I love.”

Trump’s agreeableness seems even more extreme than his extroversion, but in the opposite direction. Arguably the most highly valued human trait the world over, agreeableness pertains to the extent to which a person appears to be caring, loving, affectionate, polite, and kind. Trump loves his family, for sure. He is reported to be a generous and fair-minded boss. There is even a famous story about his meeting with a boy who was dying of cancer. A fan of The Apprentice, the young boy simply wanted Trump to tell him, “You’re fired!” Trump could not bring himself to do it, but instead wrote the boy a check for several thousand dollars and told him, “Go and have the time of your life.” But like extroversion and the other Big Five traits, agreeableness is about an overall style of relating to others and to the world, and these noteworthy exceptions run against the broad social reputation Trump has garnered as a remarkably disagreeable person, based upon a lifetime of widely observed interactions. People low in agreeableness are described as callous, rude, arrogant, and lacking in empathy. If Donald Trump does not score low on this personality dimension, then probably nobody does.

Researchers rank Richard Nixon as the nation’s most disagreeable president. But he was sweetness and light compared with the man who once sent The New York Times’ Gail Collins a copy of her own column with her photo circled and the words “The Face of a Dog!” scrawled on it. Complaining in Never Enough about “some nasty shit” that Cher, the singer and actress, once said about him, Trump bragged: “I knocked the shit out of her” on Twitter, “and she never said a thing about me after that.” At campaign rallies, Trump has encouraged his supporters to rough up protesters. “Get ’em out of here!” he yells. “I’d like to punch him in the face.” From unsympathetic journalists to political rivals, Trump calls his opponents “disgusting” and writes them off as “losers.” By the standards of reality TV, Trump’s disagreeableness may not be so shocking. But political candidates who want people to vote for them rarely behave like this.

Trump’s tendencies toward social ambition and aggressiveness were evident very early in his life, as we will see later. (By his own account, he once punched his second-grade music teacher, giving him a black eye.) According to Barbara Res, who in the early 1980s served as vice president in charge of construction of Trump Tower in Manhattan, the emotional core around which Donald Trump’s personality constellates is anger: “As far as the anger is concerned, that’s real for sure. He’s not faking it,” she told The Daily Beast in February.  “The fact that he gets mad, that’s his personality.” Indeed, anger may be the operative emotion behind Trump’s high extroversion as well as his low agreeableness. Anger can fuel malice, but it can also motivate social dominance, stoking a desire to win the adoration of others. Combined with a considerable gift for humor (which may also be aggressive), anger lies at the heart of Trump’s charisma. And anger permeates his political rhetoric.

Imagine Donald Trump in the White House. What kind of decision maker might he be?

It is very difficult to predict the actions a president will take. When the dust settled after the 2000 election, did anybody foresee that George W. Bush would someday launch a preemptive invasion of Iraq? If so, I haven’t read about it. Bush probably would never have gone after Saddam Hussein if 9/11 had not happened. But world events invariably hijack a presidency. Obama inherited a devastating recession, and after the 2010 midterm elections, he struggled with a recalcitrant Republican Congress. What kinds of decisions might he have made had these events not occurred? We will never know.

Still, dispositional personality traits may provide clues to a president’s decision-making style. Research suggests that extroverts tend to take high-stakes risks and that people with low levels of openness rarely question their deepest convictions. Entering office with high levels of extroversion and very low openness, Bush was predisposed to make bold decisions aimed at achieving big rewards, and to make them with the assurance that he could not be wrong. As I argued in my psychological biography of Bush, the game-changing decision to invade Iraq was the kind of decision he was likely to make. As world events transpired to open up an opportunity for the invasion, Bush found additional psychological affirmation both in his lifelong desire—pursued again and again before he ever became president—to defend his beloved father from enemies (think: Saddam Hussein) and in his own life story, wherein the hero liberates himself from oppressive forces (think: sin, alcohol) to restore peace and freedom.

Like Bush, a President Trump might try to swing for the fences in an effort to deliver big payoffs—to make America great again, as his campaign slogan says. As a real-estate developer, he has certainly taken big risks, although he has become a more conservative businessman following setbacks in the 1990s. As a result of the risks he has taken, Trump can (and does) point to luxurious urban towers, lavish golf courses, and a personal fortune that is, by some estimates, in the billions, all of which clearly bring him big psychic rewards. Risky decisions have also resulted in four Chapter 11 business bankruptcies involving some of his casinos and resorts. Because he is not burdened with Bush’s low level of openness (psychologists have rated Bush at the bottom of the list on this trait), Trump may be a more flexible and pragmatic decision maker, more like Bill Clinton than Bush: He may look longer and harder than Bush did before he leaps. And because he is viewed as markedly less ideological than most presidential candidates (political observers note that on some issues he seems conservative, on others liberal, and on still others nonclassifiable), Trump may be able to switch positions easily, leaving room to maneuver in negotiations with Congress and foreign leaders. But on balance, he’s unlikely to shy away from risky decisions that, should they work out, could burnish his legacy and provide him an emotional payoff.

The real psychological wild card, however, is Trump’s agreeableness—or lack thereof. There has probably never been a U.S. president as consistently and overtly disagreeable on the public stage as Donald Trump is. If Nixon comes closest, we might predict that Trump’s style of decision making would look like the hard-nosed realpolitik that Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, displayed in international affairs during the early 1970s, along with its bare-knuckled domestic analog. That may not be all bad, depending on one’s perspective. Not readily swayed by warm sentiments or humanitarian impulses, decision makers who, like Nixon, are dispositionally low on agreeableness might hold certain advantages when it comes to balancing competing interests or bargaining with adversaries, such as China in Nixon’s time. In international affairs, Nixon was tough, pragmatic, and coolly rational. Trump seems capable of a similar toughness and strategic pragmatism, although the cool rationality does not always seem to fit, probably because Trump’s disagreeableness appears so strongly motivated by anger.

In domestic politics, Nixon was widely recognized to be cunning, callous, cynical, and Machiavellian, even by the standards of American politicians. Empathy was not his strong suit. This sounds a lot like Donald Trump, too—except you have to add the ebullient extroversion, the relentless showmanship, and the larger-than-life celebrity. Nixon could never fill a room the way Trump can.

Research shows that people low in agreeableness are typically viewed as untrustworthy. Dishonesty and deceit brought down Nixon and damaged the institution of the presidency. It is generally believed today that all politicians lie, or at least dissemble, but Trump appears extreme in this regard. Assessing the truthfulness of the 2016 candidates’ campaign statements, PolitiFact recently calculated that only 2 percent of the claims made by Trump are true, 7 percent are mostly true, 15 percent are half true, 15 percent are mostly false, 42 percent are false, and 18 percent are “pants on fire.” Adding up the last three numbers (from mostly false to flagrantly so), Trump scores 75 percent. The corresponding figures for Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, respectively, are 66, 32, 31, and 29 percent.

In sum, Donald Trump’s basic personality traits suggest a presidency that could be highly combustible. One possible yield is an energetic, activist president who has a less than cordial relationship with the truth. He could be a daring and ruthlessly aggressive decision maker who desperately desires to create the strongest, tallest, shiniest, and most awesome result—and who never thinks twice about the collateral damage he will leave behind. Tough. Bellicose. Threatening. Explosive.

In the presidential contest of 1824, Andrew Jackson won the most electoral votes, edging out John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William Crawford. Because Jackson did not have a majority, however, the election was decided in the House of Representatives, where Adams prevailed. Adams subsequently chose Clay as his secretary of state. Jackson’s supporters were infuriated by what they described as a “corrupt bargain” between Adams and Clay. The Washington establishment had defied the will of the people, they believed. Jackson rode the wave of public resentment to victory four years later, marking a dramatic turning point in American politics. A beloved hero of western farmers and frontiersmen, Jackson was the first nonaristocrat to become president. He was the first president to invite everyday folk to the inaugural reception. To the horror of the political elite, throngs tracked mud through the White House and broke dishes and decorative objects. Washington insiders reviled Jackson. They saw him as intemperate, vulgar, and stupid. Opponents called him a jackass—the origin of the donkey symbol for the Democratic Party. In a conversation with Daniel Webster in 1824, Thomas Jefferson described Jackson as “one of the most unfit men I know of” to become president of the United States, “a dangerous man” who cannot speak in a civilized manner because he “choke[s] with rage,” a man whose “passions are terrible.” Jefferson feared that the slightest insult from a foreign leader could impel Jackson to declare war. Even Jackson’s friends and admiring colleagues feared his volcanic temper. Jackson fought at least 14 duels in his life, leaving him with bullet fragments lodged throughout his body. On the last day of his presidency, he admitted to only two regrets: that he was never able to shoot Henry Clay or hang John C. Calhoun.

The similarities between Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump do not end with their aggressive temperaments and their respective positions as Washington outsiders. The similarities extend to the dynamic created between these dominant social actors and their adoring audiences—or, to be fairer to Jackson, what Jackson’s political opponents consistently feared that dynamic to be. They named Jackson “King Mob” for what they perceived as his demagoguery. Jackson was an angry populist, they believed—a wild-haired mountain man who channeled the crude sensibilities of the masses. More than 100 years before social scientists would invent the concept of the authoritarian personality to explain the people who are drawn to autocratic leaders, Jackson’s detractors feared what a popular strongman might do when encouraged by an angry mob.

During and after World War II, psychologists conceived of the authoritarian personality as a pattern of attitudes and values revolving around adherence to society’s traditional norms, submission to authorities who personify or reinforce those norms, and antipathy—to the point of hatred and aggression—toward those who either challenge in-group norms or lie outside their orbit. Among white Americans, high scores on measures of authoritarianism today tend to be associated with prejudice against a wide range of “out-groups,” including homosexuals, African Americans, immigrants, and Muslims. Authoritarianism is also associated with suspiciousness of the humanities and the arts, and with cognitive rigidity, militaristic sentiments, and Christian fundamentalism.

When individuals with authoritarian proclivities fear that their way of life is being threatened, they may turn to strong leaders who promise to keep them safe—leaders like Donald Trump. In a national poll conducted recently by the political scientist Matthew MacWilliams, high levels of authoritarianism emerged as the single strongest predictor of expressing political support for Donald Trump. Trump’s promise to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out and his railing against Muslims and other outsiders have presumably fed that dynamic.

As the social psychologist Jesse Graham has noted, Trump appeals to an ancient fear of contagion, which analogizes out-groups to parasites, poisons, and other impurities. In this regard, it is perhaps no psychological accident that Trump displays a phobia of germs, and seems repulsed by bodily fluids, especially women’s. He famously remarked that Megyn Kelly of Fox News had “blood coming out of her wherever,” and he repeatedly characterized Hillary Clinton’s bathroom break during a Democratic debate as “disgusting.” Disgust is a primal response to impurity. On a daily basis, Trump seems to experience more disgust, or at least to say he does, than most people do.

The authoritarian mandate is to ensure the security, purity, and goodness of the in-group—to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. In the 1820s, white settlers in Georgia and other frontier areas lived in constant fear of American Indian tribes. They resented the federal government for not keeping them safe from what they perceived to be a mortal threat and a corrupting contagion. Responding to these fears, President Jackson pushed hard for the passage of the Indian Removal Act, which eventually led to the forced relocation of 45,000 American Indians. At least 4,000 Cherokees died on the Trail of Tears, which ran from Georgia to the Oklahoma territory.

An American strand of authoritarianism may help explain why the thrice-married, foul-mouthed Donald Trump should prove to be so attractive to white Christian evangelicals. As Jerry Falwell Jr. told The New York Times in February, “All the social issues—traditional family values, abortion—are moot if ISIS blows up some of our cities or if the borders are not fortified.” Rank-and-file evangelicals “are trying to save the country,” Falwell said. Being “saved” has a special resonance among evangelicals—saved from sin and damnation, of course, but also saved from the threats and impurities of a corrupt and dangerous world.

When my research associates and I once asked politically conservative Christians scoring high on authoritarianism to imagine what their life (and their world) might have been like had they never found religious faith, many described utter chaos—families torn apart, rampant infidelity and hate, cities on fire, the inner rings of hell. By contrast, equally devout politically liberal Christians who scored low on authoritarianism described a barren world depleted of all resources, joyless and bleak, like the arid surface of the moon. For authoritarian Christians, a strong faith—like a strong leader—saves them from chaos and tamps down fears and conflicts. Donald Trump is a savior, even if he preens and swears, and waffles on the issue of abortion.

In December, on the campaign trail in Raleigh, North Carolina, Trump stoked fears in his audience by repeatedly saying that “something bad is happening” and “something really dangerous is going on.” He was asked by a 12-year-old girl from Virginia, “I’m scared—what are you going to do to protect this country?”

Trump responded: “You know what, darling? You’re not going to be scared anymore. They’re going to be scared.”

ii. his mental habits

In The Art of the Deal, Trump counsels executives, CEOs, and other deal makers to “think big,” “use your leverage,” and always “fight back.” When you go into a negotiation, you must begin from a position of unassailable strength. You must project bigness. “I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after,” he writes.

For Trump, the concept of “the deal” represents what psychologists call a personal schema—a way of knowing the world that permeates his thoughts. Cognitive-science research suggests that people rely on personal schemata to process new social information efficiently and effectively. By their very nature, however, schemata narrow a person’s focus to a few well-worn approaches that may have worked in the past, but may not necessarily bend to accommodate changing circumstances. A key to successful decision making is knowing what your schemata are, so that you can change them when you need to.

In the negotiations for the Menie Estate in Scotland, Trump wore Tom Griffin down by making one outlandish demand after another and bargaining hard on even the most trivial issues of disagreement. He never quit fighting. “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition,” Trump writes. When local residents refused to sell properties that Trump needed in order to finish the golf resort, he ridiculed them on the Late Show With David Letterman and in newspapers, describing the locals as rubes who lived in “disgusting” ramshackle hovels. As D’Antonio recounts in Never Enough, Trump’s attacks incurred the enmity of millions in the British Isles, inspired an award-winning documentary highly critical of Trump (You’ve Been Trumped), and transformed a local farmer and part-time fisherman named Michael Forbes into a national hero. After painting the words no golf course on his barn and telling Trump he could “take his money and shove it up his arse,” Forbes received the 2012 Top Scot honor at the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards. (That same year, Trump’s golf course was completed nonetheless. He promised that its construction would create 1,200 permanent jobs in the Aberdeen area, but to date, only about 200 have been documented.)

Trump’s recommendations for successful deal making include less antagonistic strategies: “protect the downside” (anticipate what can go wrong), “maximize your options,” “know your market,” “get the word out,” and “have fun.” As president, Trump would negotiate better trade deals with China, he says, guarantee a better health-care system by making deals with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, and force Mexico to agree to a deal whereby it would pay for a border wall. On the campaign trail, he has often said that he would simply pick up the phone and call people—say, a CEO wishing to move his company to Mexico—in order to make propitious deals for the American people.

Trump’s focus on personal relationships and one-on-one negotiating pays respect to a venerable political tradition. For example, a contributor to Lyndon B. Johnson’s success in pushing through civil-rights legislation and other social programs in the 1960s was his unparalleled expertise in cajoling lawmakers. Obama, by contrast, has been accused of failing to put in the personal effort needed to forge close and productive relationships with individual members of Congress.

Having said that, deal making is an apt description for only some presidential activities, and the modern presidency is too complex to rely mainly on personal relationships. Presidents work within institutional frameworks that transcend the idiosyncratic relationships between specific people, be they heads of state, Cabinet secretaries, or members of Congress. The most-effective leaders are able to maintain some measure of distance from the social and emotional fray of everyday politics. Keeping the big picture in mind and balancing a myriad of competing interests, they cannot afford to invest too heavily in any particular relationship. For U.S. presidents, the political is not merely personal. It has to be much more.

Trump has hinted at other means through which he might address the kind of complex, long-standing problems that presidents face. “Here’s the way I work,” he writes in Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, the campaign manifesto he published late last year. “I find the people who are the best in the world at what needs to be done, then I hire them to do it, and then I let them do it … but I always watch over them.” And Trump knows that he cannot do it alone:

Many of our problems, caused by years of stupid decisions, or no decisions at all, have grown into a huge mess. If I could wave a magic wand and fix them, I’d do it. But there are a lot of different voices—and interests—that have to be considered when working toward solutions. This involves getting people into a room and negotiating compromises until everyone walks out of that room on the same page.

Amid the polarized political rhetoric of 2016, it is refreshing to hear a candidate invoke the concept of compromise and acknowledge that different voices need to be heard. Still, Trump’s image of a bunch of people in a room hashing things out connotes a neater and more self-contained process than political reality affords. It is possible that Trump could prove to be adept as the helmsman of an unwieldy government whose operation involves much more than striking deals—but that would require a set of schemata and skills that appear to lie outside his accustomed way of solving problems.

iii. his motivations

For psychologists, it is almost impossible to talk about Donald Trump without using the word narcissism. Asked to sum up Trump’s personality for an article in Vanity Fair, Howard Gardner, a psychologist at Harvard, responded, “Remarkably narcissistic.” George Simon, a clinical psychologist who conducts seminars on manipulative behavior, says Trump is “so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example” of narcissism. “Otherwise I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

When I walk north on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, where I live, I often stop to admire the sleek tower that Trump built on the Chicago River. But why did he have to stencil his name in 20‑foot letters across the front? As nearly everybody knows, Trump has attached his name to pretty much everything he has ever touched—from casinos to steaks to a so-called university that promised to teach students how to become rich. Self-references pervade Trump’s speeches and conversations, too. When, in the summer of 1999, he stood up to offer remarks at his father’s funeral, Trump spoke mainly about himself. It was the toughest day of his own life, Trump began. He went on to talk about Fred Trump’s greatest achievement: raising a brilliant and renowned son. As Gwenda Blair writes in her three-generation biography of the Trump family, The Trumps, “the first-person singular pronouns, the I and me and my, eclipsed the he and his. Where others spoke of their memories of Fred Trump, [Donald] spoke of Fred Trump’s endorsement.”

In the ancient Greek legend, the beautiful boy Narcissus falls so completely in love with the reflection of himself in a pool that he plunges into the water and drowns. The story provides the mythical source for the modern concept of narcissism, which is conceived as excessive self-love and the attendant qualities of grandiosity and a sense of entitlement. Highly narcissistic people are always trying to draw attention to themselves. Repeated and inordinate self-reference is a distinguishing feature of their personality.

To consider the role of narcissism in Donald Trump’s life is to go beyond the dispositional traits of the social actor—beyond the high extroversion and low agreeableness, beyond his personal schemata for decision making—to try to figure out what motivates the man. What does Donald Trump really want? What are his most valued life goals?

Narcissus wanted, more than anything else, to love himself. People with strong narcissistic needs want to love themselves, and they desperately want others to love them too—or at least admire them, see them as brilliant and powerful and beautiful, even just see them, period. The fundamental life goal is to promote the greatness of the self, for all to see. “I’m the king of Palm Beach,” Trump told the journalist Timothy O’Brien for his 2005 book, TrumpNation. Celebrities and rich people “all come over” to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach estate. “They all eat, they all love me, they all kiss my ass. And then they all leave and say, ‘Isn’t he horrible.’ But I’m the king.”

The renowned psychoanalytic theorist Heinz Kohut argued that narcissism stems from a deficiency in early-life mirroring: The parents fail to lovingly reflect back the young boy’s (or girl’s) own budding grandiosity, leaving the child in desperate need of affirmation from others. Accordingly, some experts insist that narcissistic motivations cover up an underlying insecurity. But others argue that there is nothing necessarily compensatory, or even immature, about certain forms of narcissism. Consistent with this view, I can find no evidence in the biographical record to suggest that Donald Trump experienced anything but a loving relationship with his mother and father. Narcissistic people like Trump may seek glorification over and over, but not necessarily because they suffered from negative family dynamics as children. Rather, they simply cannot get enough. The parental praise and strong encouragement that might reinforce a sense of security for most boys and young men may instead have added rocket fuel to Donald Trump’s hot ambitions.

Ever since grade school, Trump has wanted to be No. 1. Attending New York Military Academy for high school, he was relatively popular among his peers and with the faculty, but he did not have any close confidants. As both a coach and an admiring classmate recall in The Trumps, Donald stood out for being the most competitive young man in a very competitive environment. His need to excel—to be the best athlete in school, for example, and to chart out the most ambitious future career—may have crowded out intense friendships by making it impossible for him to show the kind of weakness and vulnerability that true intimacy typically requires.

Whereas you might think that narcissism would be part of the job description for anybody aspiring to become the chief executive of the United States, American presidents appear to have varied widely on this psychological construct. In a 2013 Psychological Science research article, behavioral scientists ranked U.S. presidents on characteristics of what the authors called “grandiose narcissism.” Lyndon Johnson scored the highest, followed closely by Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson. Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Nixon, and Clinton were next. Millard Fillmore ranked the lowest. Correlating these ranks with objective indices of presidential performance, the researchers found that narcissism in presidents is something of a double-edged sword. On the positive side, grandiose narcissism is associated with initiating legislation, public persuasiveness, agenda setting, and historians’ ratings of “greatness.” On the negative side, it is also associated with unethical behavior and congressional impeachment resolutions.

In business, government, sports, and many other arenas, people will put up with a great deal of self-serving and obnoxious behavior on the part of narcissists as long as the narcissists continually perform at high levels. Steve Jobs was, in my opinion, every bit Trump’s equal when it comes to grandiose narcissism. He heaped abuse on colleagues, subordinates, and friends; cried, at age 27, when he learned that Time magazine had not chosen him to be Man of the Year; and got upset when he received a congratulatory phone call, following the iPad’s introduction in 2010, from President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, rather than the president himself. Unlike Trump, he basically ignored his kids, to the point of refusing to acknowledge for some time that one of them was his.

Psychological research demonstrates that many narcissists come across as charming, witty, and charismatic upon initial acquaintance. They can attain high levels of popularity and esteem in the short term. As long as they prove to be successful and brilliant—like Steve Jobs—they may be able to weather criticism and retain their exalted status. But more often than not, narcissists wear out their welcome. Over time, people become annoyed, if not infuriated, by their self-centeredness. When narcissists begin to disappoint those whom they once dazzled, their descent can be especially precipitous. There is still truth today in the ancient proverb: Pride goeth before the fall.

iv. his self-conception

The president of the United States is more than a chief executive. He (or she) is also a symbol, for the nation and for the world, of what it means to be an American. Much of the president’s power to represent and to inspire comes from narrative. It is largely through the stories he tells or personifies, and through the stories told about him, that a president exerts moral force and fashions a nation-defining legacy.

Like all of us, presidents create in their minds personal life stories—or what psychologists call narrative identities—to explain how they came to be who they are. This process is often unconscious, involving the selective reinterpretation of the past and imagination of the future. A growing body of research in personality, developmental, and social psychology demonstrates that a life story provides adults with a sense of coherence, purpose, and continuity over time. Presidents’ narratives about themselves can also color their view of national identity, and influence their understanding of national priorities and progress.

In middle age, George W. Bush formulated a life story that traced the transformation of a drunken ne’er-do-well into a self-regulated man of God. Key events in the story were his decision to marry a steady librarian at age 31, his conversion to evangelical Christianity in his late 30s, and his giving up alcohol forever the day after his 40th birthday party. By atoning for his sins and breaking his addiction, Bush was able to recover the feeling of control and freedom that he had enjoyed as a young boy growing up in Midland, Texas. Extending his narrative to the story of his country, Bush believed that American society could recapture the wholesome family values and small-town decency of yesteryear, by embracing a brand of compassionate conservatism. On the international front, he believed that oppressed people everywhere could enjoy the same kind of God-given rights—self-determination and freedom—if they could be emancipated from their oppressors. His redemptive story helped him justify, for better and for worse, a foreign war aimed at overthrowing a tyrant.

In Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama told his own redemptive life story, tracking a move from enslavement to liberation. Obama, of course, did not directly experience the horrors of slavery or the indignities of Jim Crow discrimination. But he imagined himself as the heir to that legacy, the Joshua to the Moses of Martin Luther King Jr. and other past advocates for human rights who had cleared a path for him. His story was a progressive narrative of ascent that mirrored the nation’s march toward equality and freedom—the long arc of history that bends toward justice, as King described it. Obama had already identified himself as a protagonist in this grand narrative by the time he married Michelle Robinson, at age 31.

What about Donald Trump? What is the narrative he has constructed in his own mind about how he came to be the person he is today? And can we find inspiration there for a compelling American story?

Our narrative identities typically begin with our earliest memories of childhood. Rather than faithful reenactments of the past as it actually was, these distant memories are more like mythic renderings of what we imagine the world to have been. Bush’s earliest recollections were about innocence, freedom, and good times growing up on the West Texas plains. For Obama, there is a sense of wonder but also confusion about his place in the world. Donald Trump grew up in a wealthy 1950s family with a mother who was devoted to the children and a father who was devoted to work. Parked in front of their mansion in Jamaica Estates, Queens, was a Cadillac for him and a Rolls-Royce for her. All five Trump children—Donald was the fourth—enjoyed a family environment in which their parents loved them and loved each other. And yet the first chapter in Donald Trump’s story, as he tells it today, expresses nothing like Bush’s gentle nostalgia or Obama’s curiosity. Instead, it is saturated with a sense of danger and a need for toughness: The world cannot be trusted.

Fred Trump made a fortune building, owning, and managing apartment complexes in Queens and Brooklyn. On weekends, he would occasionally take one or two of his children along to inspect buildings. “He would drag me around with him while he collected small rents in tough sections of Brooklyn,” Donald recalls in Crippled America. “It’s not fun being a landlord. You have to be tough.” On one such trip, Donald asked Fred why he always stood to the side of the tenant’s door after ringing the bell. “Because sometimes they shoot right through the door,” his father replied. While Fred’s response may have been an exaggeration, it reflected his worldview. He trained his sons to be tough competitors, because his own experience taught him that if you were not vigilant and fierce, you would never survive in business. His lessons in toughness dovetailed with Donald’s inborn aggressive temperament. “Growing up in Queens, I was a pretty tough kid,” Trump writes. “I wanted to be the toughest kid in the neighborhood.”

Fred applauded Donald’s toughness and encouraged him to be a “killer,” but he was not too keen about the prospects of juvenile delinquency. His decision to send his 13-year-old son off to military school, so as to alloy aggression with discipline, followed Donald’s trip on the subway into Manhattan, with a friend, to purchase switchblades. As Trump tells it decades later, New York Military Academy was “a tough, tough place. There were ex–drill sergeants all over the place.” The instructors “used to beat the shit out of you; those guys were rough.”

Military school reinforced the strong work ethic and sense of discipline Trump had learned from his father. And it taught him how to deal with aggressive men, like his intimidating baseball coach, Theodore Dobias:

What I did, basically, was to convey that I respected his authority, but that he didn’t intimidate me. It was a delicate balance. Like so many strong guys, Dobias had a tendency to go for the jugular if he smelled weakness. On the other hand, if he sensed strength but you didn’t try to undermine him, he treated you like a man.

Trump has never forgotten the lesson he learned from his father and from his teachers at the academy: The world is a dangerous place. You have to be ready to fight. The same lesson was reinforced in the greatest tragedy that Trump has heretofore known—the death of his older brother at age 43. Freddy Trump was never able to thrive in the competitive environment that his father created. Described by Blair in The Trumps as “too much the sweet lightweight, a mawkish but lovable loser,” Freddy failed to impress his father in the family business and eventually became an airline pilot. Alcoholism contributed to his early death. Donald, who doesn’t drink, loved his brother and grieved when he died. “Freddy just wasn’t a killer,” he concluded.

In Trump’s own words from a 1981 People interview, the fundamental backdrop for his life narrative is this:

“Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.”

The protagonist of this story is akin to what the great 20th-century scholar and psychoanalyst Carl Jung identified in myth and folklore as the archetypal warrior. According to Jung, the warrior’s greatest gifts are courage, discipline, and skill; his central life task is to fight for what matters; his typical response to a problem is to slay it or otherwise defeat it; his greatest fear is weakness or impotence. The greatest risk for the warrior is that he incites gratuitous violence in others, and brings it upon himself.

Trump loves boxing and football, and once owned a professional football team. In the opening segment of The Apprentice, he welcomes the television audience to a brutal Darwinian world:

New York. My city. Where the wheels of the global economy never stop turning. A concrete metropolis of unparalleled strength and purpose that drives the business world. Manhattan is a tough place. This island is the real jungle. If you’re not careful, it can chew you up and spit you out. But if you work hard, you can really hit it big, and I mean really big.

The story here is not so much about making money. As Trump has written, “money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score.” The story instead is about coming out on top.

As president, Donald Trump promises, he would make America great again. In Crippled America, he says that a first step toward victory is building up the armed forces: “Everything begins with a strong military. Everything.” The enemies facing the United States are more terrifying than those the hero has confronted in Queens and Manhattan. “There has never been a more dangerous time,” Trump says. Members of ISIS “are medieval barbarians” who must be pursued “relentlessly wherever they are, without stopping, until every one of them is dead.” Less frightening but no less belligerent are our economic competitors, like the Chinese. They keep beating us. We have to beat them.

Economic victory is one thing; starting and winning real wars is quite another. In some ways, Trump appears to be less prone to military action than certain other candidates. He has strongly criticized George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and has cautioned against sending American troops to Syria.

That said, I believe there is good reason to fear Trump’s incendiary language regarding America’s enemies. David Winter, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, analyzed U.S. presidential inaugural addresses and found that those presidents who laced their speeches with power-oriented, aggressive imagery were more likely than those who didn’t to lead the country into war. The rhetoric that Trump uses to characterize both his own life story and his attitudes toward America’s foes is certainly aggressive. And, as noted, his extroversion and narcissism suggest a willingness to take big risks—actions that history will remember. Tough talk can sometimes prevent armed conflict, as when a potential adversary steps down in fear. But belligerent language may also incite nationalistic anger among Trump’s supporters, and provoke the rival nations at whom Trump takes aim.

Across the world’s cultures, warrior narratives have traditionally been about and for young men. But Trump has kept this same kind of story going throughout his life. Even now, as he approaches the age of 70, he is still the warrior. Going back to ancient times, victorious young combatants enjoyed the spoils of war—material bounty, beautiful women. Trump has always been a big winner there. His life story in full tracks his strategic maneuvering in the 1970s, his spectacular victories (the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Trump Tower) in the 1980s, his defeats in the early 1990s, his comeback later in that same decade, and the expansion of his brand and celebrity ever since. Throughout it all, he has remained the ferocious combatant who fights to win.

But what broader purpose does winning the battle serve? What higher prize will victory secure? Here the story seems to go mute. You can listen all day to footage of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, you can read his books, you can watch his interviews—and you will rarely, if ever, witness his stepping back from the fray, coming home from the battlefront, to reflect upon the purpose of fighting to win—whether it is winning in his own life, or winning for America.

Trump’s persona as a warrior may inspire some Americans to believe that he will indeed be able to make America great again, whatever that may mean. But his narrative seems thematically underdeveloped compared with those lived and projected by previous presidents, and by his competitors. Although his candidacy never caught fire, Marco Rubio told an inspiring story of upward mobility in the context of immigration and ethnic pluralism. Ted Cruz boasts his own Horatio Alger narrative, ideologically grounded in a profoundly conservative vision for America. The story of Hillary Clinton’s life journey, from Goldwater girl to secretary of state, speaks to women’s progress—her election as president would be historic. Bernie Sanders channels a narrative of progressive liberal politics that Democrats trace back to the 1960s, reflected both in his biography and in his policy positions. To be sure, all of these candidates are fighters who want to win, and all want to make America great (again). But their life stories tell Americans what they may be fighting for, and what winning might mean.

Victories have given Trump’s life clarity and purpose. And he must relish the prospect of another big win, as the potential GOP nominee. But what principles for governing can be drawn from a narrative such as his? What guidance can such a story provide after the election, once the more nebulous challenge of actually being the president of the United States begins?

Donald Trump’s story—of himself and of America—tells us very little about what he might do as president, what philosophy of governing he might follow, what agenda he might lay out for the nation and the world, where he might direct his energy and anger. More important, Donald Trump’s story tells him very little about these same things.

Nearly two centuries ago, President Andrew Jackson displayed many of the same psychological characteristics we see in Donald Trump—the extroversion and social dominance, the volatile temper, the shades of narcissism, the populist authoritarian appeal. Jackson was, and remains, a controversial figure in American history. Nonetheless, it appears that Thomas Jefferson had it wrong when he characterized Jackson as completely unfit to be president, a dangerous man who choked on his own rage. In fact, Jackson’s considerable success in dramatically expanding the power of the presidency lay partly in his ability to regulate his anger and use it strategically to promote his agenda.

What’s more, Jackson personified a narrative that inspired large parts of America and informed his presidential agenda. His life story appealed to the common man because Jackson himself was a common man—one who rose from abject poverty and privation to the most exalted political position in the land. Amid the early rumblings of Southern secession, Jackson mobilized Americans to believe in and work hard for the Union. The populism that his detractors feared would lead to mob rule instead connected common Americans to a higher calling—a sovereign unity of states committed to democracy. The Frenchman Michel Chevalier, a witness to American life in the 1830s, wrote that the throngs of everyday people who admired Jackson and found sustenance and substance for their own life story in his “belong to history, they partake of the grand; they are the episodes of a wondrous epic which will bequeath a lasting memory to posterity, that of the coming of democracy.”

Who, really, is Donald Trump? What’s behind the actor’s mask? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost. It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump, fighting to win, but never knowing why.