TRUMP ON THE COUCH by Justin A. Frank

TRUMP ON THE COUCH

Inside the Mind of the President
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Narcissism, racism, sexism, and destructiveness are among Donald Trump’s numerous pathologies.

Drawing on Trump’s tweets, interviews, speeches, The Art of the Deal, and many books and articles expounding on the president’s personality, Frank (Psychiatry/George Washington Univ. Medical Center; Obama on the Couch, 2011, etc.) concludes that Trump “is a menace to himself and his people,” completely unfit for office. The author has never met Trump, so he relies on “applied psychoanalysis,” a method, he speculates (without evidence), that has been used by Russian intelligence, revealing to them “a person who was uniquely positioned to be co-opted…by an authoritarian Putin regime.” A Klein-ian psychoanalyst, Frank blames Trump’s many psychological problems on his distant and unloving mother and his demanding father, who told Trump “that he must grow up to be a killer and a king.” Both despaired at controlling their hyperactive son, whom teachers described as “headstrong” and “surly.” A bully even at the age of 5, he threw rocks at a neighboring toddler in his playpen. Sent to the New York Military Academy after seventh grade, Trump felt banished. Frank asserts that because he was “deprived of paternal empathy as a child, Trump still yearns for a father,” which accounts for his attraction to men such as Steve Bannon and political dictators. His mother’s lack of love and attention generated feelings of humiliation and betrayal, which the author thinks are shared by his base, who feel betrayed by Washington politicians, “as they may have originally felt disappointed by their own parents years earlier. Trump instinctively recognizes their narcissistic wounds” and encourages them “to vent their rage.” As protection from the outside world, which threatens his fragile self-esteem, Trump has constructed “an internal psychological wall” within which he hones fantasies of power and paranoia. Examining Trump’s language, Frank diagnoses “a subtype of dyslexia” that leads to his difficulty understanding complexity and “simply reacting while avoiding the work of thinking.”

A highly damning portrayal unlikely to surprise any non-Trumpist reader.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-2032-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Avery
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