SOCIOPATH-IN-CHIEF?: The Mayo Clinic's list of symptoms!


Senior gets it right:
On Saturday, President Trump's televised daily "briefing" got off to an early start.

It started at 4:15 PM Eastern. There followed an hour and 44 minutes of behavior which might be imagined to serve as a type of self-diagnosis.

According to the White House transcript, the televised session ended at 5:59 PM. There were different takeaways from the astonishing hour and 44 minutes which had been televised.

For us, the main individual takeaway involved the president's latest reversal. Remarkably, he reverted to his focus from the previous week, in which we need to get the economy open again as soon as possible—in which "the cure can't be worse than the problem."

Simply put, the president can't seem to maintain a point of view for more than four or five days at a time.

Others saw different takeaways. In Sunday's New York Times, the main takeaway involved the president's aggressive peddling of a particular "unproven drug," a push which became even more extreme during yesterday's televised briefing.

That said, our overwhelming reaction to Saturday's session involved a type of self-diagnosis the president seemed to be offering. Did more than two or three minutes ever elapse in which the president didn't display one of the basic symptoms of the disorder we have in mind?

We'll name that disorder tomorrow. For now, consider just one of the many things this badly disordered man said and did in the course of that hour and 44 minutes.

Midway through the endless session, the president was asked about Captain Brett Crozier, who was recently relieved of his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

According to the official White House transcript, the reporter's question went like this:
REPORTER (4/4/20): Mr. President, can we talk about the—Captain Crozier of the USS Roosevelt?

TRUMP: Which one? What?

REPORTER: Captain Crozier, who was removed—the captain who was removed as the commander of the USS Roosevelt.

I don’t know if you saw the videos of sailors cheering for him as he left. Our reporting shows that some sailors have said that they are worried to re-enlist because they are not convinced that commanders are taking care of their health and taking care of them.

TRUMP: Yeah.

REPORTER: What do you say to them? And how does removing this captain take care of their health?
Personally, we hate the familiar, cloying "what do you say to them" type of question. But the reporter included another question:

There are more than four thousand sailors on the USS Roosevelt. How does removing Captain Crozier take care of those sailors' health?

Below, you see the president's answer in full. Warning! The public was apparently being misled as the president mocked Captain Crozier, who has reportedly now been diagnosed with COVID-19 himself:
TRUMP (continuing directly): Here we have one of the greatest—here we have one of the greatest ships in the world. Nuclear aircraft carrier, incredible ship, with thousands and thousands of people. And you had about 120 that were infected.

Now, I guess the captain stopped in Vietnam and people got off in Vietnam. Perhaps you don’t do that in the middle of a pandemic or, or something that looked like it was going to be—

You know, history would say you don’t necessarily stop and let your sailors get off, number one.

But more importantly, he wrote a letter. The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place. That’s not appropriate. I don’t think that’s appropriate. And these are tough people. These are tough, strong people.

I thought it looked terrible, to be honest with you. Now, they made their decision. I didn’t make the decision. Secretary of Defense was involved, and a lot of people were involved.

I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered. And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter. He could call and ask and suggest.

But he stopped in Vietnam. A lot of people got off the boat. They came back and they had infection. And I thought it was inappropriate for the captain of a ship to do [that].
In typical fashion, Trump mocked Crozier for having conducted "a class on literature." He even complained that Crozier's letter "was all over the place!"

That was a remarkable criticism coming from President Trump!

That said, Trump began and ended by savaging Crozier for having stopped in Vietnam. "You know, history would say you don’t necessarily stop and let your sailors gets off, number one," the sarcastic commander sarcastically said, conducting a history class.

Because we know how this game is played, a few questions came to mind. Why and when did the USS Roosevelt stop in Vietnam? Knowing the way our discourse works, we decided to check the facts out.

We still can't tell you the full story concerning that event. We can't tell you how many sailors disembarked in Da Nang. We can't tell you who decided to let them leave the ship.

We can at least tell you this:

The USS Roosevelt stopped in Da Nang is early March. On March 24, Admiral Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, discussed the event as part of a formal press conference.

Gilday explained why the decision to stop in Da Nang was made. He also revealed who made the decision.

It wasn't Captain Crozier's decision! According to the official Defense Department transcript, the Q-and-A went like this:
QUESTION (3/24/20): Admiral Gilday, back to the situation with the Theodore Roosevelt.

So 15 days ago, it was in port in Vietnam. How many sailors left and went on a port call visit, and was that really safe given what has been happening in Asia?

I've been asking for several briefings why port calls were continuing given the COVID virus. And then if you can explain how you figured out that these three sailors were sick.

Was it because you did broad testing, was it simply a fever? And once they have a fever, isn't it too late, you've already encountered a number of people?

ADM. GILDAY: So with respect to the port visit in Vietnam, so at that particular time when the decision was made in late February, early March, to pull the ship into Da Nang, which is on the central coast, at that time there were only 16 positive cases in Vietnam, and those were well to the north, all isolated in Hanoi.

And so, this was a very risk-informed decision by actually the INDOPACOM Commander, Admiral Davidson
, on whether or not we proceed with that port visit.
Gilday's answer continued from there. The reporter had asked a multi-part question. Several of his questions didn't get answered.

That said, let's return to Saturday's sarcastic attacks by Trump.

On Saturday, the commander-in-chief attacked Captain Crozier for stopping in Vietnam. He attacked him for this at the start, and then again at the end, of his latest non-answer answer.

That's what the commander did during Saturday's televised session. But eleven days earlier, Admiral Gilday, in a formal press briefing, had reported that the decision to stop wasn't made by Captain Crozier. The decision had been made higher up in the chain of command.

Yesterday morning, it didn't take long for us to locate this information. When we did, we thought of the famous statement by Joseph Welch during the Army-McCarthy hearings:

"At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

In the case of President Trump, the answer routinely seems to be no. That said, we'll quickly say, as we've said before, that it probably isn't his "fault."

We have no idea if the commander-in-chief knows that the decision to stop was apparently made by the INDOPACOM Commander, not by Captain Crozier. That said, anyone who has watched the commander over the years will understand a basic fact:

Almost surely, the commander would have said what he said, and done what he did, without regard to any such knowledge or facts. This is the way the commander behaves—and relentless behavior of this type fits nicely with the Mayo Clinic's list of symptoms.

Starting tomorrow, we'll compare the Mayo Clinics's list to the president's behavior last Saturday. Did he ever go as much as two minutes without seeming to trigger a diagnosis of a serious disorder?

His behavior was wildly disordered during that hour and 44 minutes. It's long past time when rational players would be discussing, in careful ways, what his behavior may mean.

We'll discuss the Mayo Clinic's list of symptoms tomorrow. For today, we tip our hat to the New York Times for publishing this morning's column by Jennifer Senior, whose work we've recommended in the past.

At long last, the Times is publishing someone saying what needs to be said. Senior's column starts like this:
SENIOR (4/6/20): Since the early days of the Trump administration, an impassioned group of mental health professionals have warned the public about the president’s cramped and disordered mind, a darkened attic of fluttering bats. Their assessments have been controversial. The American Psychiatric Association’s code of ethics expressly forbids its members from diagnosing a public figure from afar.

Enough is enough....[T]hese are exceptional, urgent times.
Enough is enough, Senior says. APA guidelines to the side, it's time to start discussing the president's psychiatric state—his possible psychiatric disorder, the state of his mental health.

Senior continues as shown:
SENIOR (continuing directly): Back in October, George T. Conway III, the conservative lawyer and husband of Kellyanne, wrote a long, devastating essay for The Atlantic, noting that Trump has all the hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder. That disorder was dangerous enough during times of prosperity, jeopardizing the moral and institutional foundations of our country.

But now we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. The president’s pathology is endangering not just institutions, but lives.
Senior is advancing one possible diagnosis. Starting tomorrow, we'll be advancing another.

It should be noted that George Conway isn't a mental health professional. Neither is Senior, nor are we at this site.

Other people are such specialists, and they've long been disappeared within the upper-end press corps. But at long last, the New York Times is publishing work which says we need to discuss the possibility that our disordered, sarcastic commander in chief is psychiatrically impaired.

More than two years ago, the editorial board of the Times shut down this nascent discussion through this ill-advised editorial. Today, Senior says that this discussion must proceed.

People are dying, Senior notes. "These are exceptional, urgent times."

Jennifer Senior has gotten it right. At long last, does the press corps have the decency, not to mention the smarts, to listen to what she has said?

Tomorrow: The Mayo Clinic's list. Also, notes on prevalence


  1. Please.
    Next you'll be telling us believing in trickle-down economic theory is caused by a psychiatric disorder.

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  2. Here we see the problem with calling Trump "the commander" instead of "commander in chief" or President. Somerby writes a paragraph in which he talks about both commander Trump and an actual naval commander:

    "We have no idea if the commander-in-chief knows that the decision to stop was apparently made by the INDOPACOM Commander, not by Captain Crozier. That said, anyone who has watched the commander over the years will understand a basic fact:"

    Somerby switches briefly to calling the President "Commander in Chief" and then reverts to "commander" at the end of the paragraph. This awkwardness is why it is wrong to refer to him simply as "commander". This was a poor choice and Somerby should stop, especially when there arises a situation where his references are potentially unclear. It was a stupid artifice to begin with.

  3. Dear Bob, your today's dembottery is far above and beyond that of the liberal hacks you (ostensibly) made your life's purpose to criticize.

    As any humyn being with a bit of brain matter can see, Our Beloved Commander has blamed the Brave Letter-Writing Captain not of stopping in Vietnam per se, but of letting the sailors get off the ship in Vietnam.

    'nuff said.

    1. I was happy to see Trump rip Captain Corona.

    2. Mao,
      Was that before or after Trump was told about the coming pandemic (January 2nd) and ignored it for two months?

  4. You do not need psychiatric diagnoses to remove Trump from office or to complain about his performance as president. His actions are sufficient for that.

    No competent professional diagnoses someone using a checklist from the Mayo clinic. For one thing, symptoms that appear under one diagnosis also appear for several other possible diagnoses -- so the professional must do a differential diagnosis to rule out other competing diagnoses. When several diagnoses fit, as with narcissistic PD and antisocial PD, you talk about comorbidity. Certain diagnoses routinely go together. Mayo doesn't talk about that. People can be complex and so can their behaviors, so you always consider behavior in the context in which it occurs, and to know that context you must examine the person. As they say, it isn't paranoia if they're really out to get you.

    So, Somerby is being irresponsible with this assertion that he can confidently tell us which disorder Trump has (as if there were only one). And once you have labeled someone, what next? You don't automatically remove someone from a job because of a diagnosis. You must use behavior, since many people with that same diagnosis can perform well in their job. You still have to return to the behavior itself. And if the behavior arises from no particular diagnosis, is it any less pernicious? Shouldn't you still take action against someone who is damaging the nation in his job, even if he has no disorder that can be blamed?

    But Somerby doesn't want to blame a disorder, he is trying to exonerate Trump, to remove responsibility from his shoulders:

    ""At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

    In the case of President Trump, the answer routinely seems to be no. That said, we'll quickly say, as we've said before, that it probably isn't his "fault.""

    Of course it is Trump's fault, if he has no decency. Decency is learned, not part of some innate chemical imbalance. If he has none, he is still wrong for leadership, whatever the reason why he has none. It is enough to note that he has no decency and remove him for that reason. Fault doesn't matter. Behavior does.

  5. If Senior thinks Trump has one disorder (narcissistic personality disorder) and Somerby thinks he has a different disorder (he will tell us what it is tomorrow, but I am guessing antisocial PD), and there is also the possibility (suggested on some blogs) that he is addicted to adderall (which alters the mind), and he does seem to have unrevealed health issues, which condition do we impeach him for? Doesn't this imply that it is anyone's guess what is wrong with him?

    1. Everyone who lives in NYC and spends time with NYC women especially under 40 knows their favorite word is "narcissist" and it's practically the only word they know.

    2. I can attest this isn't only in NY.

    3. If you are being called a narcissist frequently by women, you should perhaps take it to heart and see a therapist.

    4. I"m not, I'm informed by them that all of their exes and friends they've fallen out with are narcissists. And they love posting sunsets with script lettering about narcissists on facebook. I never hear them refer to themselves that way but I'm sure their ex friends do.

      I doubt I'd seek therapy on the basis of anything these types did.

    5. Trump's problem isn't that he's a narcissist. It's that he's a moron.

  6. Here is some additional information about Crozier's removal:

  7. Any normal person who watches Trump field questions from the press every day is impressed. This is why the Democrats want the briefings shut down. Trump is the most well adjusted person in that room every day.

    Trump is mentally ill isn't going to be a thing because it's an obviously braindead take. Every crazy person calls other people "narcissist" like a child with a new word.

    1. "Every crazy person calls other people "narcissist" like a child with a new word."

      Is that so, dembot zombie?

    2. Trump should have stuck to shooting a black guy on 5th Avenue. His well known criminal negligence, leading to the deaths of a quarter million Americans, will lose him voters.

  8. Somerby seems to be pleading that Trump is somehow abnormal, and yet he is precisely what Republican voters wanted. He still is.

  9. “That said, we'll quickly say, as we've said before, that it probably isn't his "fault."”

    It might be worth noting what Bandy Lee herself said about this notion of fault/not fault:

    “A man can be both evil and mentally compromised.”

  10. “We have no idea if the commander-in-chief knows that the decision to stop was apparently made by the INDOPACOM Commander, not by Captain Crozier. “

    But Trump is extremely skilled in disinformation, or so said Somerby in a previous post.

    Trump’s answer is perfect propaganda: it is apropos to the question that was asked, it contains enough truth to make it more difficult to refute, yet enough obfuscation to shift the blame semi-plausibly to the fall guy, Crozier. This attack on Crozier (and his men, see Kevin Drum will be taken up by the Administration and right wing news.

    I would ask Somerby: would it not be worth it to find out the truth, ie what orders were issued and who issued them, and whether trump’s answer was borne of mental illness or deliberate strategy by the Administration? The only problem is, this Administration has refused to allow Congressional oversight, and that refusal has been formally argued in legal briefs coming from Attorney General Barr, and the courts have been at least partially persuaded. And forget about honest answers to the news media.

    So, we are left with impotent and implausible speculations about mental illness and “fault.”

    1. Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, too much of a coward to take responsibility, ordered his ACTING SECRETARY of the NAVY to take the heat.

      There is a reason we have an "Acting" Sec of the Navy.

      (CNN) — Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly blasted the now-ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt as "stupid" in an address to the ship's crew Monday morning, in remarks obtained by CNN.

      Modly told the crew that their former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either "too naive or too stupid" to be in command or that he intentionally leaked to the media a memo in which he warned about coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors.

      The acting secretary also accused Crozier of committing a "betrayal" and creating a "big controversy" in Washington by disseminating the warning so widely among Navy officials.

      "It was a betrayal. And I can tell you one other thing: because he did that he put it in the public's forum and it is now a big controversy in Washington, DC," Modly said, according to a transcript of remarks Modly made to the crew, copies of which have been provided to CNN by multiple Navy officials.

      This fucking criminally erratic megalomaniac pardons a war criminal and fires a hero. This is where we are now.

  11. Donald is probably an extreme example but the rich in general are not compassionate people.

    1. Urban centers are in crisis with the most death per capita than anywhere because the Democrats that live in them refused to lock down because it's only old people getting it.

    2. Let's put it another way then. Donald lives a life of luxury, not poverty, and that encourages behaviors and thoughts such as poor compassion skills.

    3. "Donald lives a life of luxury, not poverty, and that encourages behaviors..."

      Oh dear. Tsk. Mr Soros is not paying you too well for your dembottery, I gather...
      Please accept my deepest sympathies...

    4. I've described sociological findings. You've used an Ad hominem and have nothing else to say.

    5. " not paying you too well for your dembottery"

      Q. Hoe many Right-wing accusations are confessions?
      A. All of them, Katie.

  12. Here’s why I think it is a mistake for the press to consume itself accusing Trump of mental illness/sociopathy/what have you:

    I noticed mm on Saturday listed a number of utterances by Trump over time that were contradictory or seemingly mean-spirited. This is precisely what the media has documented. Then, mm concluded that this shows Trump’s mental illness/personality disorder. But I find that that doesn’t follow logically from the list. It’s plausible, of course, but it could be propaganda, or disinformation to use Somerby’s word. Propaganda shifts its stances, sometimes 180 degrees, and can seem insane. Just ask Orwell what he thought about that. It just seems wrong for the press to speculate about mental illness. Unless you’re willing to speculate that the entire Republican Party and its voters are also mentally ill or have personality disorders.

    But another consideration, more practical: What effect do you think it would have on The Others if the press went around constantly squawking “Trump is crazy! Trump is a sociopath!”? Would it make The Others more or less motivated to vote for Trump? Remembering that they already hate the press and believe it and liberals have an anti-Trump bias.

    And if Trump wins, can you imagine them saying something like “you libs couldn’t even beat a mentally ill man. Sad!”

    1. Well, we are, after all, running a mentality impaired man ourselves. So both alternatives are men in their 70's that are out of their heads.

    2. It absolutely would hurt him and that's why they do it to every official enemy country's foreign leader. Autistic, fat, vain. But nothing shows the rottenness of a failing elite like old-age and dementia.

      The only reason it might not hurt him is at this point the Republican party has organized itself along excessive maliciousness, jealousy, and violence for so long they wouldn't accept the definition of it as being an illness.

    3. Hmm. Yes, they do it to official foreign enemy leaders, and it often transforms those leaders into great heroes in their home countries.

      The Dark Lord Putin is the obvious example, but also I strongly suspect Mr Maduro of Venezuela had survived last year only because of the nastiness of US anti-Maduro propaganda.

      So, this is how it works internationally: demonizes them inside the US (and the West in general), and glamorizes them in their home counties (and throughout the so-called Global South in general).

      Therefore, it seems to me, demonizing, to a similar extent, a domestic leader is likely to lead, as the dembot @3:35 PM suggests, to a greater internal polarization. Possibly social unrest, domestic terrorism, that sort of thing.

    4. Mao, Why should I care what you, a virgin, computer addicted troll thinks?

    5. This forum would be better if Mr. Mao left. Nobody needs to read that crap.

    6. There is value in Mao informing us of what the Establishment is thinking.

    7. Another vote against Maoxit. Too many Dembot zombies here.

  13. I would think that if Trump is not "at fault" for his behavior, to the extent the behavior is "faulty," then nobody is at fault for anything. I think TDH is way off here. What does he think would be accomplished if the press all started raising the alarm that Trump has a diagnosable personality disorder? I don't see how that would change anything. There's a book shrinks use that categorizes hundreds of psychological disorders. My guess is that there are few of us without at least one of them. I don't think it's useful to go in this direction. As I understand it, not all shrinks share that Yale shrink's opinion. And as a complete lay person as far as this goes, (though I think I possibly know more about this than TDH does) there are mental illnesses that would render it impossible for someone to function as POTUS. Just because you disagree with someone, or that they hold absurd views (look at all the people who believe in an actual heaven, or in an actual hell, or in UFO abductions) doesn't necessarily mean they all are mentally ill, just ignorant.

    1. The suggestion is that he's not at fault for his lack of decency. The
      behavior that springs forth from it is another matter.

  14. When you diagnose people tomorrow make sure you include their horoscopes, which will be just as useful.

  15. I don't know anything about Trump's sanity. I do know that it's very difficult to stand up to an hour of mostly hostile questions. I don't think many of us could do that.

    1. I think I could do it if I was allowed to whine a lot about it afterward.

    2. DavidinCal,
      Especially with all that blood on his hands.

    3. He wanted the big job. He got the big job.

      Part of the big job is being a big boy and standing up to hostile questions. Part of the big job is successfully handling national health emergencies when they arise.

      He failed at successfully handling this national health emergency, came to it late and thousands will die because of it.

      And yes, that subjects the man with the big job to to hostile questions. So he has to be a big boy and face the hostile questions.

      What would your reaction be if it was Hillary Clinton who fumbled this crisis like Trump has?

    4. He lives for the hostile questions and he crushes it. Hillary handling this crisis? A good laugh in these tough times.

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