Donald Trump’s critics often brand him a narcissist, citing his tendency to tout his achievements, emblazon his name on skyscrapers and jets and launch scathing verbal attacks on those who criticize him. Well, I think we need the next president to display a healthy dose of narcissism and share it with the American people.
Donald Trump may have unwieldy love for self, but I believe he also has unwieldy love for America. And for him, these two passions may well be intertwined. In loving his freedom to speak bluntly, in loving his freedom to own property, in loving his freedom to unleash his creative force for profit and in loving his ability to hire the best people to work their hardest on worthy projects, I believe he also loves these core elements of America, the American economy and the American dream.
In this way, Donald Trump is John Wayne. Donald Trump is Babe Ruth. Donald Trump is the Miracle on Ice hockey team that defeated the Soviet team to win Olympic gold in 1980 at Lake Placid. His ego, like theirs, is not untethered from American patriotism. It is inextricably bound to it.
It is no surprise that Trump has stated his policy will put “America First.” He is as unapologetically a creation of American capitalism as he is his own father’s son – yes, blessed with an inheritance, but inspired, rather than hobbled, by it.
Narcissists can be charismatic and unrelenting and singularly focused on achieving their goals. Is that a horrible description of someone tasked with leading the free world?
We are emerging from Barack Obama’s two terms, during which he cultivated a sense of self-loathing in the American people. He did this by embarking on an apology tour, refusing to completely and clearly repudiate the reverend who preached “God damn America,” encouraging Americans to doubt the fundamental decency of the police officers who serve them, pitting the rich against the poor and minorities against whites and taking no exception to his wife’s statement that (prior to her husband’s political ascendency) she had never felt proud to be an American.
Donald Trump’s prodigious, intertwined love of self and love of country may be the antidote to the poison of self-loathing Barack Obama injected into the very heart of America.
Strong medicine, Trump is, and not without side effects in the body politic. He enrages those who would ignore our boundaries and our laws. He offends those who attack him and who then seem shocked to be hit back – and much harder. He worries those who see that he might actually tell American creditors who manipulated their currencies and purposefully injured our economy that they may not be handed all the ill-gotten gains they expected.
See, if you hurt America, I think Donald Trump feels it like a kick to the gut. I think Barack Obama feels like we have it coming.
God uses everyone. Maybe a narcissistic leader who clearly believes in his own destiny can remind us of America’s manifest destiny.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.