What drives Trump to think and do as he does? Starting a list of possibilities

Reading and thinking about the emerging facts and arguments over what we might as well start calling Comeygate, I find myself making a list of things about President Trump’s qualities and beliefs that drive him to do and say some of the things he says and does. I claim no expertise in any of the relevant fields, and hope that those with those areas of expertise will continue to help us try to understand this, but on a quick first draft, some of those qualities and beliefs of Trump might include:

  • That he doesn’t respect facts or the truth or even care about maintaining the appearance that he respects facts or the truth. Perhaps that’s because he believes – and has substantial reason to believe, although he may be testing the limits of this one — that his followers will follow him anywhere and believe him about anything. And that he is intoxicated, perhaps to the point of blindness, by that belief.
  • That he craves and loves power to an alarming degree, maybe even more than he craves and loves money, although the two loves are deeply intertwined.
  • That his addiction to power renders him unable to understand the fundamental nature of the American system, a system of checks and balances that renders even the single most powerful person in the system unable to get away with anything and everything.
  • That he has something very big to hide on the Russia story and that he is terrified at the idea that anyone with the power to seek the underlying truth of that story might be more loyal to the truth and the country than to him.

Feel free to start your own list or suggest additional elements that belong on the list.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/10/2017 - 12:38 pm.


    My feeling is that Trump sees himself as, to put it in terms more pejorative than I intend, the center of the universe. He sees himself as a person of unlimited power, one capable of imposing his will and his reality on any given situation. He can never be wrong because it is his will that defines what right. When something happens contrary to his world view happens, he just doesn’t see it.

    Is Trump so wrong? Is he not the president of the United States, of all things? In the case before us, the Comey matter, he just decided he didn’t Comey around anymore so he simply imposed his will and fired him, confident based on his life experience that he could manage any fallout. And my guess is, he is right. We Democrats will gnash their teeth, and some garments are going to get rendered, but time will pass, boredom will set in, and no doubt there will be newer, shinier, objects, some of them tossed out by Trump himself to distract us.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/10/2017 - 02:18 pm.

    While he is a narcissist, he is also woefully under-informed as to the nature of the US government and its checks and balances. He wants to run it like the closely-held corporation that formed his daily milieu of his business life. People don’t realize how small his base organization was and how ad-hoc his line of authority was in that operation. It was nothing like the CEO of GM or other such large corporation–it was appointing not necessarily the most skilled people, but the people he liked and who had the important characteristic of liking the Donald.. As the “king” of his little world, he was dictatorial down to the least matter and personal loyalty was a prime requirement. And his negotiations that form the basis of his reputation as a negotiator were mostly carried out in the two dimensional world or money/property with a choice of either making the deal or not. And even in that limited world he made some pretty drastic blunders.

    Well, now he is in a world that does have checks and balances, and where most people’s jobs do not depend on pleasing him, and he is not king There are lots of different lines of authority who do not bow readily to the president. And the negotiations do not involve the simplistic 2 dimensions of property/money. Is it any wonder that he is stumbling badly?

    And this is before the effect any secret entanglements that may or may not involve him. He is unable to countenance the idea that people who are “loyal” to him may be working at underhanded schemes, and strikes out at those who question him or his consorts.

    A seriously unqualified temperament.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/10/2017 - 03:54 pm.

    Trump is a character who lacks character.

    Unmitigated lying is an everyday occurrence for Trump. He is willing to use his own children and those around him to cover his lies. It doesn’t have any consequences for him.
    Trump doesn’t have any credibility. It doesn’t have any consequences for him.
    Trump is strictly a reactionary. It doesn’t have any consequences.
    Twitter is Trump’s outlet from the confinement of the presidency. It doesn’t have any consequences for him.
    Trump demeans anyone he doesn’t agree with. Trump is a very insecure person who speaks with bravado to cover his insecurity. It doesn’t have any consequences for him.
    Facts are irrelevant to Trump. Proof in words or pictures are denied like they don’t exist. It doesn’t have any consequence for him.
    Trump seeks attention just like a young child. It doesn’t matter if it is good attention or bad attention because attention is attention, just what a narcissist needs.
    Trump claims to have plans, but doesn’t have any plans. If he had plans there wouldn’t be whiplash associated with his decisions. For it now, against it in an hour. I don’t believe Trump had any intention of becoming president He was in it strictly to stir the political pot and garner the much-needed attention.
    Trump claims to be the great negotiator but has been unable to prove it.
    Incapable of speaking in complete sentences, Trump has a lexicon of a conman. Words like “tremendous”, “amazing”, and the scary one “trust me” pepper his incomplete sentences. Trump never says how he will accomplish anything. I will never trust the conman.
    Trump has a life without any meaningful consequences. Trump cannot do it alone, as he states, because that would be a dictatorship. That is why Putin appeals to Trump because he likes the dictatorship aspect of Putin.

  4. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/10/2017 - 09:30 pm.


    It has recently occurred to me that while I always though he was simply full of lies and bluster during the campaign, he may have actually rationalized that he really could do all that he promised to do. The size of his ego and his condescension for politicians of all stripes may have convinced him that he could simply wade in force his solutions on congress and the judiciary.

    But, we soon got to:

    “Nobody knew healthcare could be this difficult”

    The same ego and rationalization that has shutdown his agenda was also in play in convincing himself that Russian loans, woman grabbing, tax hiding and more all could be handled and dismissed:

    “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”

    As it slowly sinks in that none of this rationalization will actually be realized we get to ONE VERY UNHAPPY DUDE. And he has rarely had to cope with relentless unhappiness in his life.

    He won’t make the mid terms, either by his own rationalized, Sarah Palin like exit or if he or any of his family or staff is forced to testify under oath. One cannot imagine him answering 30 consecutive questions without lying.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/11/2017 - 02:43 pm.

    Eric puts his focus on what makes Trump so strange and pitiable (and dangerous, it goes without saying).

    What intrigues me, is how so many people around him continue to make abject fools of themselves to protect and defend his lies and mis-perceptions of the world, his ignorance of American government and the world. When you see Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway or VP Mike Pence or other Trump surrogates struggle to make sense of the senseless mess that Trump creates on a regular basis, you see individuals who know better contributing to maintenance and elaborations of Trump’s invented realities. Why do they do it?

    Surely these people can understand that the public sees them contorting themselves to justify and re-interpret Trump’s misstatements, and pities them. Right? I’m always deeply embarrassed for them, because I sense that they themselves are not crazy. What good is it to be “ambitious,” if you have to give up all personal integrity to “succeed”? Would you hire any of these people for your firm? If they so readily swallow blatant untruths, when would you ever believe what they say?

    One doesn’t have to believe that James Comey never made a mistake to comprehend how his independence from Trump–his utter lack of personal loyalty to Trump–made him stand out in that crowd of sycophants.

    One also wonders when Congressional Republicans will finally get a spine and begin to contradict him when the nation needs them to stand up for us. They, too, look like fools, unless and until they do.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 05/11/2017 - 03:07 pm.

      I figure that Pence has decided to

      Accept Trump’s bs on all subjects so that he can become president when Trump is impeached. Of course he prays for forgiveness every night.

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