By Hal Brown
We know how Trump wants people to see him. The digital trading cards are in contrast to the photo he choose to be on "The Art of the Deal" cover.
conclude that something in his mind changed between 1987 when the book was published and when he put out his digital cards. Then again, we also might
say that the "I'm Superman" narcissistic grandiosity has been an underlying, perhaps driving part, of Trump's personality all of his adult life. It's probably more accurate to say that the choice of the photo on his book cover was a considered marketing decision approved by Trump but that experts at Random House, the publisher, persuaded him to use this one.
All someone like me, who practiced as a psychotherapist for 40 years, or anybody else can do is make educated guesses about what motivates Trump and what he is feeling. For example, many people say he has been frequently motivated by money. On the surface this makes sense. However, nobody, not even Trump himself, knows what money unconsciously represents to him. Even a psychoanalyst would be making an educated guess.
We see what he does but when we delve into the feelings and psychodynamics underlying his behaviors we are in an unknowable realm.
For example, this was the top story on HUFFPOST this morning:Excerpt:
“Diaper Donald will be filling up that diaper, because this is not something that Donald is capable of either understanding or contending with,” Cohen, who worked closely with Trump as his personal attorney for more than a decade, told Ari Melber on Monday on MSNBC’s “The Beat.”
“He believes he could control every situation. This is not a situation that he has any control over, and that’s making him sick to his stomach,” he added. “I think right now he’s beyond petrified.”
There's nothing in the above (taking the diaper remark as a metaphor of course) that Cohen absolutely 100% for certain knows. Even saying that Trump believes he could control every situation, which sounds accurate on the face of it, ought to include modifiers like usually or ought to.
I wrote the following as a comment to the article:
All people like Cohen can do is speculate on what Trump is actually feeling, on the emotions he is experiencing. All anyone knows for certain is what is observable. Let's not forget that he is posting all cap messages on Truth Social in the wee hours of the night. This could be performative but it is a fact that the time stamp say it is, for example, 3AM. Trump has been an actor for decades. Even trying to analyze his facial expressions, even if he tears up, even if his sing-song voice quivers this is an exercise in drawing a conclusion about what is in what Cohen calls his headspace. Add to this imprecision is the possibility his feelings may vacillate. He may experience fleeting anxiety but then may push these feelings down (into the unconscious) and replaces them with anger. Like anyone he has psychological defense mechanisms, the most primitive of these is denial and another is projection. More about this here: https://www.halbrown.org/2023/04/nobody-knows-for-certain-how-trump.html
I admit that part of why I did this was to promote my blog. However this speculation in the media continues to be rampant so I thought a reprise of what I wrote in the blog from April 2, was warranted.
This is what Omarosa Manigault Newman told Joy Reid (video here):
Donald Trump is approaching his arraignment in a Manhattan courtroom. "Yes, he is going to try to pivot and distract and make you all think that he's not upset or nervous, but Donald Trump is terrified,” Omarosa Manigault Newman tells Joy Reid. “I can just certainly tell by his telltale signs... he doesn't look well."
You can look at Trump's posture, for example, and make an educated guess as to how he feels. For example these are from The Washington Post:
|Click to enlarge|
These are the photos the two New York City tabloids used:
You can also make your own conclusions based on what Trump isn't doing in these photos. For example, below he is waving but not smiling at cameras he knows are taking pictures of him.
On Fox News with Sean Hannity Trump said (about the documents at Mar-a-Lago) "I would have the right to take stuff, I have the right to do stuff." Talking heads, for example on Morning Joe, are pointing out that this was basically him admitting to having done something being investigated by Jack Smith.
We can conclude that admitting something that will be likely be used against him should the documents case go to court shows poor judgement. We can with a high degree of confidence say that in his "headspace" or gut when he said these words he wasn't experiencing anxiety. What we don't know is that whether or not just below the surface of awareness anxiety was roiling around in what is sometimes referred to as the preconscious mind (see below).
|Here's the public domain iceberg graphic |
of the mind I used in my other blog story.
Al Sharpton, also on Morning Joe,
said Trump is humiliated. Again this is a speculation about what Trump feels. He said people underestimate the effect this has on Trump psychologically. It would be correct to say that if Trump was like the vast majority of people this and all these conclusions would be accurate.
Here's someone else assuming they know what Trump is feeling (From Raw Story
"The View" co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin worked for Donald Trump in the White House, and she's not buying reports that he's calmly relishing his legal predicament...
..."I know him well enough to know he is not loving this. He is spiraling. As someone, who despite his terrible actions, does think about legacy and how he is perceived. Now, his life, whether it's his obituary, is going to say he was indicted, the first American president to be."
Trump isn't psychologically like most people. See my Daily Kos essay from 2020
Nobody but Trump, and Melania if she sleeps with him, knows if he is awakening at night screaming from having nightmares.
Updates: Trump leaving Trump Tower on way to courthouse:
He waved when he was entering the courthouse but his face remained as it was in other photos taken earlier.
Get it? A rain man...
Is he sad or maybe just tired? After all he is posting on Truth Social in the middle of the night. The panelists said he had to feel lonely too. They would feel lonely in a similar situation. Most people would. At the risk of repeating myself, Trump is not most people.
So many in the media are making assumptions abut Trump's emotions based on what they and everyone they know would feel. He could be feelings this way, but he may not.
Andrea Mitchel on MSNBC just got got it right. She asked if Donald Trump is different and does he process things differently. She asked whether these things penetrate.
Trump just leaving and heading to courtroom where the indictment will be read and he will plead:
The MSNBC commentators observing the pictures below are saying that this is what Trump didn't want televised. They were taken prior to the cameras being removed from the courtroom. They are saying that he looks like someone reacting to being is a situation he doesn't want to be in.
|This is the most expressive screenshot.|