We all now by now that Donald Trump is pretty nuts, but is he literally crazy and technically a narcissist? If so, does that really matter? After all, we’ve had some deranged lunkhead presidents in the past and the country survived. What could possibly go wrong under President Donald Trump?
I recently talked to a former CIA counterintelligence officer and we touched on these topics. This interview has been lightly edited* for length and clarity. Also, I always use KGB because nobody has heard of its successor, the Спецслужбы России.
Q1: OK, so you don’t like either of the candidates but you prefer Hillary because you think Trump is literally off his rocker?
A1: I think both of them are very dangerous, in their own ways. Hillary has ideas that are anathema to me as does Donald. She is very bellicose and her positions on foreign policy, for example Israel, really concern me. She was a terrible secretary of state but she’s not temperamentally unstable. I am more worried about Trump because his is truly unstable and has a narcissistic personality.
Q2: OK, but does that really matter? You have to be sort of a narcissist to run for president to begin with, right?
A2: Yes, but he’s not just an everyday narcissist, he has a pathological side. If I were in counterintelligence with a foreign service, I would be all over the operational guys to go after him. Trump is so vulnerable, to insults and to flattery. This guy praises Putin because Putin calls him brilliant. There’s no question Putin is doing everything he can to work this guy psychologically.
Q3: Would you say he would be a historically crazy president?
If you go back to the 1800s, we’ve probably had a few certifiably cuckoo presidents. But now we live in a globalized world — you can’t have a crazy president, it becomes a national and international problem. We would be putting in office an emotionally immature adult with serious pathologies and who is a textbook narcissist. That is dangerous.
Q4: Seriously? He’s clinical?
A4: Pull out the Wikipedia entry on narcissism and go down the list. He can’t learn from others, he lives in a self-contained world and on and on. He’s certifiable. This is a guy who has a table covered with magazines with his face on the cover. That is not normal.
Q5: Do you think the Russians hacked the DNC? And what about the idea, which is idiotic in my view, that Trump is being run by the KGB?
A5: I think it’s entirely plausible that Russia was behind the DNC hack. Putin may not be running him but I can guarantee you that the KGB has psychological analysts poring over Trump and trying to figure out how to exploit his weaknesses. So are the Chinese, the French, the Israelis and any other country with a decent intelligence service.
Q6: So as long as I don’t mention your name, I can go ahead and do an item about all this? I could probably milk this for a second item that explains more about why you don’t like Hillary and that also explains Servergate in a nutshell.
A6: Sure, no problem.
*Disclosure: I talked to the retired CIA expert about a variety of issues. I hadn’t originally intended the conversation to be a Six Questions™ interview so I partially invented the questions so I could ex post facto make it one. But his replies were in fact only lightly edited for length and clarity.