Police Psychology | “Inside the Mind” of Donald Trump

Posted: February 15, 2017 in Motives and Opportunity
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Police Psychology | “Inside the Mind” of Donald Trump

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP


Let me start by saying that this profile article is my professional opinion based off behavior.  I have not met the President yet, and I do not have anything other than his public behavior to base this profile on.

Many have villainized President Donald Trump and it seems they have clearly a dictator mindset.  Many people want to believe that he is like Hitler or Mussolini and wants the end of all but  straight, white males in this world, and wants women to fit in rolls like in the centuries long past or perhaps in harems.  This is not true regardless of what the spin on the evidence is. These people want to believe he is a megalomaniac that sits poised over the nuclear codes and the buttons that will bring forth Armageddon.   On the opposite end of the spectrum are those that believe Trump is some anti-political superhero destroying the all-reaching giant aliens bent on extinguishing the earth’s population by digesting their essence while flying into the major cities of the world at warps speeds, shooting anything that moves and setting all property on fire.  Is he a political dragon slayer or a dictator?  Maybe we need to get “Inside the Mind of Donald Trump.”

So, let’s get this right.  If you could get in Trump’s head it would be like stepping into a Formula One race in your SUV, or trying to run a sprint with Usain Bolt and the Jamaican track team.  The speed of everything moving by would be devastating.   I remember one time being on an Italian Freeway between Bologna and Venice and a Ferrari passed me so fast it hurt my ears. I actually had an impact shock from the air going past so fast.  It was like a mini-sonic boom.   In my younger days, I was a fast thinker and a brilliant multi-tasker, but I can’t hold a candle to someone who sleeps 4 hours a night and makes decisions like I eat peanuts from a bowl at the “Love to be a Vegan” party I should never have been invited to.  Some might say Trump is a little manic.  Some might call it a “racing mind” or even a “flight of ideas.”  I don’t know what you want to call it, but I can tell you that Trump will not be around while you are considering it.  Friends and enemies alike should always consider the man is thinking very fast and at a high level.  He will need a lot of pages and aids to follow him for even one hour.  Maybe that is what he means by creating jobs.  He alone may end the unemployment problem.

Mr. Trump does not lack confidence.  He has mentioned a few times that he gets it like no one else gets it.  He raised a few eyebrows when he said he didn’t need intelligence briefings, then revised it to say he didn’t need daily intelligence briefings.  He further raised eyebrows to say that he understood how to fight the war on terror more than the generals.  We find out he meant that the generals were not fighting appropriately because they were broadcasting everything they were doing and they were handcuffed by the politics in the US, but still it came off as slightly arrogant.  Donald Trump will criticize and propel himself, then he works out little things like meaning later, meanwhile he has put out there and it sounds brash.  He is not affected by that generally though, although sometimes his bluster may get him in a bit of trouble with people taking him literally.

Donald Trump will be seen as Machiavellian, meaning he is a man with no moral values who through duplicity and deception does all things for personal gain.  He is a wheeler-dealer and that comes off as very manipulative.  Machiavellianism is part of what is called the dark triad in psychology, with narcissism and psychopathy being the other two.  But he is protective of his family, talks about fostering a new America, and has other characteristics that seem against Machiavelli’s philosophy.  To me, Trump is clearly a Consequentialist, a philosophy of getting the desired result as best as one can, not Machiavellian.  He believes the product of an effort should be the judge of the effort.  Human rights are only seen as a product of being responsible with those rights and acting in ways to better the state.  He is a results oriented person, and prides himself on judging others by their outcome.  This may be at odds in this “participation trophy” world, but it is a strong attitude to accomplish many things.

Mr. Trump is a Gamesman.  Michael Macoby wrote a book in the 70’s about The Gamesman who enjoys the games in life and is excellent at them.  All Gamesmen do what is necessary to win.  They like the spotlight.  They like being in the game, in fact they get invigorated when the game is on.  They win through many different techniques, but one that is most apparent is that he will propose something that perhaps is not totally thought out knowing that he is such a good game player that he will make it into something acceptable later.  It may take a while, but he feels he will figure it out.  Remember he has confidence.  The Gamesman wins by being one step ahead of everyone else, and putting others on the defensive.  How did he win the primary against so many opponents – he re-wrote the rules and was the only Gamesman of the bunch.

Mr. Trump is a negotiator.  He doesn’t like a deal, he needs them to survive.  If he sees that if he has enough power over things he can always give you something you want for something he wants.  He starts off high in negotiations, then goes down.  Who hasn’t heard of the typical divorce lawyer technique that you ask for the world, then slowly get it down to where you want it to be for your client?  For example, I want extreme vetting he says, so he throws out a full travel ban as an opening offer.  You can negotiate up to something, or negotiate down to something.  Generally, going down from you initial offer is the most effective and remember the end is the judgement base for this technique in his mind.

Finally, Donald Trump is a Patriot.  His Consequentialism is state-based at this point.  In his motivations are that he wants what is right for his country.  His analysis may be all off, but he wants what he sees as right.  At the endpoint, of course.  Remember, he had billions of dollars and won in the business game.  He was looking for a new game, and turned to his country.  The megalomania you may or may not see is part of his motivation, but he also believes he is the only one who can fix what is broken and he wants to do that.  He is connected to his children and his grandchildren, and probably to the people who have supported him, and he wants to do what is right for them.  And now I think he is truly connected to the people who voted him in office.  He may believe these people in his life cannot determine things for themselves, but he will.  His expressed believe in law enforcement is another area where his patriotism is coming through.  Let’s hope that one is for real.

Speed, Confidence, Consequentialist, Gamesman, Negotiator and Patriot, so, there you have my profile.  Now, I have to tell you how to deal with it.  You can sit back and be amused by what is going on.  Surely many of you are.  You can protest every word being said, fight in every battle and make him struggle with every bill, but I would suggest that you will spend a lot of effort and lose most of the time.  He is a Gamesman, and most aren’t.  Gamesman win!  But if you are so inclined, just make sure no one else gets hurt.  The other avenue is innovation.  Mr. Trump has told us and shown he will be doing thing differently, so this is the time to take advantage of that.  Start new programs, build new infrastructure in your departments, create something outlandish that may get attention.  If you are not an innovator, look for one around you.  Donald Trump wants nothing more than to be able to point to innovative programs that are outside the box that he supported.  Whether you support the president or not (and I have never told you where I am coming from) — step out of the box—this is the time for it.


Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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