Donald Trump is getting desperate — and his mental pathology is getting worse every day

As mental health professionals, we see a disturbed and destructive man whose psyche is unraveling before our eyes

By Alan D. Blotcky - Seth D. Norrholm
October 21, 2020 11:00AM (UTC)
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President Donald Trump walks on the south lawn of the White House on October 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is headed to a rally in Pennsylvania, first lady Melania Trump was to join him, but does not feel well and is recovering from Covid-19, he last event was August's Republican National Convention speech at the White House. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Despite the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus at the White House, Donald Trump still insists that "it's going to disappear." To make matters worse, he proclaims, "We have a cure." We have lost 220,000 Americans to a deadly pandemic. And what does he say? "I'm immune. So the president is in very good shape to fight the battles." He continues to promulgate lies and misinformation about the pandemic.

At his rally in Florida in front of 7,000 supporters, Trump announced, "I feel so powerful. I'll walk into that audience, I'll walk in there, kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss." This is hypomanic hypersexuality from our president.

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Last Thursday evening at his town hall on NBC, Trump admitted that he had retweeted a QAnon conspiracy theory that the killing of Osama bin Laden was fake and had been staged by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. A bizarre conspiracy theory gone awry.

On Friday, Trump told a crowd in Georgia that he "might have to leave the country" if he loses the election to Biden. That sounds like a semi-confession of his corruption.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Saturday, he asserted that the National Guard's physical altercations with protesters were "beautiful." Trump's glorification of violence.

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At his rally in Michigan on the same day, he criticized Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — recently the subject of a kidnapping plot busted by the FBI — and the crowd chanted, "Lock her up." His response: "Lock them all up." Trump's vindictiveness toward political foes.

Donald Trump is a desperate man. His recklessness is growing by the hour as his poll numbers are failing and his presidency is coming to a crashing end. His mental pathology is front and center. His psyche is unraveling before our eyes.

Trump is in an existential crisis of his own making. George Conway — a lifelong Republican, Washington attorney and co-founder of the Lincoln Project — summed it up best when we reached out to him: "We've seen how he is continuing to reach new depths. He realizes he is headed toward destruction."

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Trump is now wildly out of control with his ranting tweets, lies, conspiracy theories, threats, gaslighting and erratic behavior. His pronouncements are getting more disturbed and destructive. He is telling senior citizens that they are not vulnerable to the coronavirus. He is telling the public that they should not let the coronavirus dominate their lives. He even stated that he must be a perfect physical specimen because he recovered from COVID-19 so quickly (completely disregarding the powerful cocktail of drugs he received). He was recently live on the air twice in one day on Fox News, airing his unmoored grievances, soothing his injured ego, projecting ridiculous grandiosity and collecting narcissistic fuel.

Alarmingly, Trump is losing his grip on reality. He is agitated. He seems to be hypomanic — quite likely exacerbated by his COVID-19 medications. He has become paranoid. He has been calling out for his political opponents to be indicted. He has been preoccupied with a totally fake conspiracy theory about Barack Obama and Joe Biden spying on his campaign. He is lashing out at some of his most loyal cabinet members. He is even blaming Gold Star families for giving him COVID-19.

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Trump is on a collision course with self-destruction. He has lost all ability for rational and reasonable discourse with the American people. His performance during the presidential debate on Sept. 29 was shocking and disheartening. He was hostile and rude. He showed no self-control. He was flailing. Trump even canceled his second debate with Biden — he was looking for a way out.

Trump now feels cornered and exposed. His sense of entitlement is threatened. His grandiosity and superiority are crumbling. What he fears most is being embarrassed and humiliated. After all, he has spent his whole life branding himself as smarter and stronger and richer than anyone else. His "false self" persona is being chipped away hour by hour.

The emperor is about to have no clothes.

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As Trump's desperation grows, his mental pathology is becoming more amplified. He is looking unhinged because he is unhinged. It is all we can see — a man who is erratic and unrestrained and debilitated. He is always defensive. He grumbles and roars and blames others. He is incapable of taking responsibility for his own decisions and behavior. He is incapable of leading and governing.

Trump's desperation includes a scorched-earth mentality. If he is going down, he wants to bring everyone and everything down with him. He has no hesitation to break laws or destroy people. Democratic institutions and principles mean nothing to him. All that matters is his survival, his preservation, his continued power.

The end is in sight. But Trump will go down fighting. He will hold onto power until the last possible moment. It will have to be stripped away from him. He will not facilitate a peaceful transfer of power to Biden. He will cry out that he is the victim of a conspiracy. Unbelievably, he will seek sympathy for himself. He will urge his supporters to strike out in anger and aggrievement. He will bask in the glow of his victimhood.

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Trump will leave behind a deadly pandemic. He will leave behind a country that is divided and tribal. Racism and xenophobia and terrorist groups have become prominent. Far too many of us have stopped believing in science, the truth and the free press.

We are facing two more weeks of Trump's desperation and mental pathology. Each day will seem unending. Each day will be exhausting.

Two more weeks until our votes are finally cast and counted. 

Two more weeks until Trump's chaos, incompetence and corruption can be ended.


Alan D. Blotcky

Alan D. Blotcky, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Alabama.

MORE FROM Alan D. Blotcky

Seth D. Norrholm

Seth D. Norrholm is an associate professor of psychiatry in the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

MORE FROM Seth D. Norrholm


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