The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump today making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Although the move has been met with criticism given Trump’s term ends in 7 days, The House argued the action was necessary to set the precedent that no president can get away with inciting an insurgency against our government. The House offered the alternative consequence of invoking the 25th Amendment, however, Vice-President Mike Pence refused. The impeachment of Trump for his influence on the attacks on the Capitol and our democratic election process proves that “no one is above the law, not even the president.”
Trump’s behavior since he lost the election confirms the speculations by thousands of mental health professionals that Trump’s personality is seriously disordered. Imagine Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Dwight Eisenhower, or Barack Obama declaring a fair election was rigged and stolen. Imagine these presidents inciting a mob with lies and encouraging them to infiltrate the Capitol to stop the Constitutional process of certifying the electoral college vote. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a rare condition and combined with power, creates the potential for grave consequences. Trump is emotionally suffering as a result of his narcissism because his power and relevance are slipping away. His fear and pain make him unpredictable and increasingly dangerous.
Multiple sources of Trump’s Narcissistic Supply are going away and for a narcissist, these losses create tremendous anxiety, depression, and a traumatic loss of identity. The emotional crisis for Trump is that the scandalous circumstances he finds himself in make it impossible to maintain his False Self-image of a powerful, good, patriotic, and competent person. A narcissist like Trump tries to cover up their True Self, who is weak, insecure, and flawed. Lying, gaslighting, and manipulation are mechanisms used to maintain the image of the False Self. This psychological state explains why Trump compulsively lies. His desperate need to hide his True Self leads him to tell blatant lies, even ones that are easy to disprove. Throughout his presidency, he has told over 20,000 proven lies which he continues to defend without evidence.
The primary source of narcissistic supply for people with NPD comes from attention. It doesn’t matter if the attention is based on fame or infamy. This pattern is clear with Trump. He loves the attention of an adoring rally as much as an insurgency against the government. As long as he is being talked about and dominating the media, his ego is equally satisfied. The secondary source of narcissistic supply comes from people who can deliver ways for him to feel important and special. Once a person is no longer a useful source of ego gratification, a narcissist will get rid of them. The lack of empathy and a restricted ability to form healthy, reciprocal attachments explains why so many of Trump’s associates and friends have been discarded and abandoned by him. If what a narcissist needs from someone stops being supplied, the relationship feels pointless to them. This disloyalty Trump has demonstrated is rooted in his narcissistic personality.
White House insiders report Trump is angry, anxious, and continues to believe he won the election. Additional losses to his Narcissistic Supply are mounting. The PGA has pulled out of holding their tournament at his Bedminster golf course next year. Huge corporations such as Blue Shield/Blue Cross, Marriot, and Hallmark are denouncing him and his surrogates complicity in the violent invasion of the Capitol in an attempt to stop the Senate’s certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Cabinet members are resigning, Mitch McConnell approves of impeaching him and GOP members of Congress have publicly blamed him for causing the insurgent attack on the center of democracy. With fewer sources of attention and diminishing relevance, Trump is now more prone to escalate dangerous chaos for the attention he so desperately needs.
Trump’s deference to white supremacists and societal fringe groups and his aggressiveness towards immigrants and the Black Lives Matter Movement has branded him in the eyes of millions as a racist. However, his narcissism may equally contribute to his allegiance to these groups. These hate groups and conspiracy theory groups have anointed him as their leader and hero. This adoration is like a drug for him, and his ability to delude himself allows him to see these hateful individuals as loyal patriots who love America. This delusional, self-serving thinking is one of many examples of how Trump has made America more divided, more unsafe, and more amoral. It is also proof that he suffers from disordered thinking.
Another by-product of Trump’s extreme narcissism is that he has been able to convince millions of people to believe he is the ultimate patriotic truth-teller. Despite his recent emotionless, teleprompter speeches denouncing violence, he is continuing his narrative about the election being stolen, the very lie that has radicalized and organized violent militias who are intent on overthrowing democracy. Whether this lie indicates a delusional state, mass manipulation, or reveals his identity as an autocrat, it continues to encourage violence despite his empty calls for peace.
To defeat Trumpism once Trump leaves office, an understanding of narcissistic personality traits is essential. He is leaving behind a handful of narcissistic, elected-official surrogates to carry on his autocratic vision of America. The way to beat a narcissist is to cut off his supply of self-generated and other-generated attention. The collapse of sources to help maintain a False Self leads to a desperate and ultimately sabotaging fall from power and relevance. Donald Trump is amid such a decline and today the House defended democracy by ending an important source of narcissistic supply for him. All chances are lost for Trump for any legacy other than the worst president in the history of the United States. Mitch McConnell has the power to lead the Senate to a conviction for his crimes which will eliminate his right to ever hold public office. Will they recapture control of their party from Trump, or out of fear and partisanship risk subjecting The United States to more attacks on democracy?