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January 30th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Trump’s Weaponised Narcissism

His critics, especially in the media, just can't understand why their lies, false dossiers and pejorative dismissals of the man haven't ruined him. The tactic helped humble George W. Bush and, locally, Tony Abbott, but this president punches back twice as hard. There's a lesson there

trump scowlWhen President Trump addressed CIA agents as one of his first acts he received generous ovations. I know. I listened to them. At one point he talked about his inaugural crowd size and (accompanied by engaged laughter) the dishonest press. His critics pounced. Wailing at his temerity at being off-point and self-indulgent in front of the Memorial Wall where stars honour the CIA fallen. They had a point, but deliberately overlooked the very positive result he achieved by reassuring the intelligence community of his support. His critics are in a permanent crouching mode.

His first week was active to say the least. He signed five Executive Orders and nine Memorandums, all in keeping with his campaign promises. And he found the time in his eighteen-hour working days to give at least three sit-down interviews, to meet with major manufacturers, with union leaders and with British PM Theresa May. But, into this overwhelmingly productive week, he also injected talk not only about the crowd size at his inauguration but also about the likelihood that millions of people voted illegally robbing him of the popular vote. His critics pounced again.

And many of his supporters, how do they respond? They say he would do better to avoid queering his own pitch. They want Trump without Trump; Father Christmas without soot on the carpet. They should understand that the soot is an integral part of the territory.

Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t like the idea of coming second in anything. He likes to tell us, in various ways, that he was right or did an excellent job. To his critics, who include most of the media, the Democrats and many Republicans, he is a narcissistic braggart. Again, they have a point. But he is a lot of other things too. And his narcissism, in my view, is an armoured shield; the key to his unique ability to withstand the dark forces which have taken over American society — its media, schools, universities and public services — as they have all Western societies.

Have you noticed when someone in the public eye is labelled pejoratively that we are meant somehow to infer that the case is closed? That there is nothing more to be said; that he or she can be filed away under whatever is the pejorative label. It is ridiculous in the general case and in Trump’s case particularly ridiculous. Here we have a unique and talented human being

I have heard him described as a loving and supportive father and as a warm, caring and humorous friend. He is obviously a very good businessman, who can come back from the brink, and reality-TV-show entertainer extraordinaire. And, so far, judging by the quality of his appointments and his resolute action, he is showing distinct promise of being a formidable political leader. It is early days of course.

But, leave all this aside, he is impervious to criticism. The nervous Nellies in his own party must be quaking in their boots. He simply does what he says he will do and says what’s on his mind. This is beyond normal behaviour among the political class. Maybe Margaret Thatcher came closest but the dark forces are stronger now than then. Conservatives in power are used to bowing and scraping before the altar of political correctness and doing their best to hide themselves from the rapacious left-driven media. Trump simply takes the fight on in a way which before him was unimaginable.

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It is said that social media helps him to circumvent the MSM. It does, but that is a small part of the story. He stares them in the eye and tells them how dishonest they are and then doubles down on it. Who besides Donald Trump would do that? Of course, he is simply telling the truth. They are patently dishonest; pimping the truth for their national-self-loathing political agenda. Knowing this must arm him. But what really arms him, I think, is his narcissism. He has such self-regard that criticism rolls off his broad back.

People who support much of Trump’s policies but are troubled by his personality have to ask themselves a question. Who else can save America and provide a beacon of hope for the rest of the Western world? If not Trump, then who exactly? There is no one. There has only been one leader without flaws. Two thousand years on we have yet another flawed leader in a long line. But fortunately, as, say, with Winston Churchill, we may have hit another timely jackpot. He won’t save us from our sins but he might, just might, claw us back from the brink of cultural suicide.

Join the baying crowd and throw brickbats, or the Jeremiahs who will be disappointed if he doesn’t self-implode as they prophesy, or the pompous know-alls at the Murdoch press who seem oblivious to the mess we are in and the dire need for a disruptive force. Alternatively, give Trump the benefit of the doubt. If the hard-heads in the stock market can do it, maybe you can too.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [36]

  1. Keith Kennelly says:

    Yep not a false word in any of this.

    Well said Peter.

    Trump is much much more than his narcissisn and as you say the nervous nellies and his enemies can’t see that… yet.

    He’ll win them over as he achieves his aims and go on to be the Greatest Pres the US has ever known.

  2. ianl says:

    Peter Smith

    > ” But what really arms him, I think, is his narcissism. He has such self-regard that criticism rolls off his broad back”

    Yes.

    I’d often wondered how such brazen personalities as is common in say, Hollywood, or politics, could continually make such public prats of themselves with such never-failing aplomb. The tentative answer I came up with was exactly that – the power of impenetrable narcissism. Only the Grim Reaper can quell that.

    So with Trump. I agree – only such a personality can combat this trait in the “others” you describe as dark forces. I have some interest in global dynamics again.

  3. Jody says:

    He ‘mentioned’ the crowd? Give me a break: he talked of little else!!

    • Peter says:

      Jody, don’t want to intrude into opinion but of Trump’s remarks to the CIA – which were quite brief – only around 10% referred to his inaugural crowd size and less than 10% to the dishonest media, which he wrapped around the false story of removing the MLK bust from the Oval Office. About 80% was on other, more relevant, matters. Peter

  4. Keith Kennelly says:

    No Jody

    The REPORTS said he talked of nothing else.

    There’s that elite attitude again.

    All too ready to believe the elite MSM

    Now Jody, given that Peter has said exactly as I said about Trumps narcissism, do you think you might be a little in error in labelling Trump, as only, narcissistic?

  5. Don A. Veitch says:

    The Biblical Daniel, was raised to high office, and by trickery from jealous rivals was thrown into the lion’s den. The angels protected him.
    Trump, you write, has his own narcissism as his shield. I think you might be correct. The CIA is Trump’s lion’s den, where serious dark forces lurk. The media, ‘lefties’ et. al., are a push over, and their rantings are ephemera for Trump.

    Trump is creating his own agenda and forcing them to respond to him. Trump is a populist in the tradition of Richard Nixon, smarter, but not as ‘tricky’ as ‘tricky dicky’. Maybe that is why the unspeakable Kissinger is a Trump ‘advisor’?

    But the heavy lifting is yet to come against ‘the dark forces’. Yelland will go soon; Trump might even abolish the Federal Reserve! But is Trump clever enough to work out the difference between a Federal Reserve note and a Treasury note? Two billion dollars for that silly (mere symbolism?) wall has to come from somewhere.

  6. Bran Dee says:

    When compared to Trump how bereft of political talent are we in Australia. Tony Abbott, who regrettably nominated Gillard and Rudd for Australia Day honours, had much the same weakness as Turnbull: PPL, ‘No cuts to health, education, or the ABC and SBS’.
    General Jim Moylan appears Trump-like but he could not get a winnable spot on the Liberal’s Senate ticket. Peter Dutton may be next best option. Cory Bernardi is a big assett but comes across as too patrician.

    • Jimbob says:

      BD

      I am quickly coming around to the opinion that the time is right for someone in the now ilLiberal party to make a move and bring the time of Malcolm Turnbull to a merciful end. Whether Tony Abbott (who hopefully has learnt from his first run as PM) or Peter Dutton (though I strongly doubt he has the required members for such a move)or someone else, it matters not. It is not a foregone conclusion that Labor will win any resultant election. The political pendulum has shifted and the shift is picking up momentum, not just here but world-wide and the current orthodoxies are being exposed for what they really are – foolishness.

      There are far too many people who have been abused by the two major political parties in Australia. I must also say that it has been a blessing that most of those people are products of the leavening influence of the Judeo-Christian ethic. Not only has that ethic given us the highest standard of living on the planet for the majority of our citizens (including those who are implacably opposed to the fundamentals of that system)it has also given us the highest level of human development and personal liberty. I say it is a blessing because they have been the “silent majority” for a long time, patient and more ready to turn the other cheek than to scream and yell and carry on like the leftist and Islamic totalitarian shysters who get all the press coverage (for now).

      But there comes a time when “principle” is a far greater power than civil quietness, when “truth” is more valuable than “peace” (a chimera at the best of times). By standing on principle and possibly pressing a “reset” button through a circuit breaker event, the voiceless though they may not have a “ruling majority” in their own right for the foreseeable future, will at least not be dismissed out of hand. It is not unreasonable to say that Labor may never again rule in their own right as they have lost considerable ground to the communist greens on the far “left” and seem set to lose more ground on their conservative right. However it would be good (and a brake to their hubris) if the Liberals/Nationals understood that they too could never again rule in their own right without taking account of the many they have deliberately disowned.

      In my view, Malcolm Turnbull is not the man for the job of charting the developing new world order. He cannot blame his predecessor for the disaster which was the last election. He cannot also blame “social forces” for the rise of Pauline Hanson. Dare I say it, but he must shoulder the blame for her rise as well. Mea culpa – it goes without saying that I would like to see him go as soon as it is humanly possible. I say that as a criticism of his leadership abilities rather than of him as a person. If he doesn’t then Pauline Hanson with preferences to the Christian Democrats (or vice versa) seems to me the only viable alternative for both houses of Parliament at the next election. I travel widely and speak publically to many groups and I can say, hand on heart, the anger against the LNP is palpable but I don’t believe that it will be Labor who will benefit from that anger.

      • Jody says:

        Pauline Hanson will shortly explode through a series of One Nation disasters. We’ve seen minor parties like this come and go; at least, I have. Labor may win the next election; I don’t know enough to make a definitive call, but I hope the nation – wedded to entitlements and rights – gets the sharp end of the debt stick and can then see how far it gets them. A big-spending, soft-on-borders Labor party of course provides the greatest threat to its very constituency, which is one of life’s ongoing ironies and a lesson in the depredations of buying the vote.

        • en passant says:

          Can we have the date of this implosion you are expecting? What is the basis of the disaster(s) you see inevitably looming?
          Can I add this to your Clooney predictions that Trump would never be President, and that now he is, he had better stop tweeting as it is unPresidential …

          Name five things you believe Trump will achieve.

          • Jody says:

            Naturally there is no date, but if that’s the only counterargument you have….

            One Nation is a one-trick pony – just like the Greens.

            I’ve said before, I hope Trump is successful – but on current behaviour that looks less likely. I don’t need the media to do my thinking for me but apparently you feel sufficiently threatened by it as to want to knock it down so your man can win. That’s no ‘victory’.

  7. denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

    I agree with almost everything you have written here, Peter. Trump is a bombastic, rude, crude, lewd buffoon, but unfortunately he is probably the only person who is/will be able to stop the suicidal leftward drift of our institutions, society and hence politicians, and be able to do it by democratic means. The only other alternative to stop this trend is for it to be done by force, i.e. a coup and dictatorship.
    To the best of my knowledge Trump also is the only politician who has openly recognised and stated that the media is his real ‘opposition’. All LNP and conservatives would do well to also realise that with very few exceptions [such as the IPA and Quadrant] that the media IS the real opposition, and should act accordingly. To continue to fund the ABC and SBS is sadomasochistic suicidal delusional behaviour.

    • padraic says:

      Spot on deandsel. The MSM in Australia has become a political player in its own right, particularly the leftist media. I applaud DT for taking on the same mob in USA and showing them for what they are – captives of the academic weirdos and their followers. The ABC and SBS have been going into spasms over DT and when they announce another of his decisions selectively they immediately put on some non-entity activist no-one has ever heard of, to blether on against the decision. If its not the obsession with DT, the ABC is the publicly funded mouthpiece for assorted ratbags. Last Saturday, listening to News Radio, I had to listen to the world shattering news that a female monkey in a zoo in Adelaide had died following a miscarriage. This is news??!

    • Don A. Veitch says:

      Trump does not attack the ‘left’ because it is not the problem. A waste of time!
      Trump is not chasing phantoms. His is a very real POWER grab. Who/what does/has Trump attacked? ‘The swamp’, the media, China, Latinos, terrorists, Muslims.
      Nixon did attack ‘pointy heads’, leftists as did Spiro Agnew. Not Trump. Most of the left, so called, is funded by George Soros etc.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Trump’s ban on Muslims does not include those Muslims from Saudi Arabia, homeland of Osama bin Laden, and a country where Trump has substantial business interests of his own. But that could not be described as corruption of ANY SORT. Just as ‘prudence’ perhaps.

        “I have a little conflict of ­interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” he said in a December 2015 interview with Breitbart News. More ­recently, he has insisted that he has no ­conflicts because laws making conflicts illegal do not apply to the president.

        Get that: in other words, President Trump is effectively above the law. That rings a bell. It’s not the Liberty Bell. It’s called the Nixon bell. Constitutionally, the President is not above the law, any more than is any other head of state.
        Every day that Trump continues in the White House exposes some new deficiency in the US Constitution. Australia’s founding fathers got that one right. We in Oz can thankfully never get ourselves saddled with a Trump, thanks to our Constitution. Not even with an Abbott-as-Trump.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/countries-where-trump-does-business-are-not-hit-by-new-travel-restrictions/2017/01/28/dd40535a-e56b-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html

  8. Bill Martin says:

    The heartiest congratulations yet again Peter for another excellent article. A very concise analysis of the facts.

    I would allude to another vital aspect of Trump’s persona. Additional to his unarguable narcissism and probably even reinforcing it is his honesty. He is rock solid in the knowledge that everything he says everyday is exactly what he means and what he feels. There are no two versions of Trump, the private and the public Trump, unlike crooked Hillary, as she admitted to it herself. We all have a pretty good idea of the strength and sure-footedness one feels when one absolutely and genuine believes in one’s purpose and intentions.

  9. Salome says:

    Nice one, Peter. You mention the President’s address to the CIA, which I saw and enjoyed immensely. Almost as soon as it became news, out came alternative ‘news’ that the audience included a Presidential cheer squad that had been brought in for the occasion–and that the CIA heavies in the front row weren’t clapping or cheering at all. Are you, or is anyone, able to put the kibosh on that?

  10. Keith Kennelly says:

    Don
    You could do a little research into the Fed Res.

    The Presidents power over the Federal Reserve is limited to the appointment of The Chair and , if I recall, correctly, a couple of members. A few members are appointed by the Regional Fed Reserves but the majority come from the New York Federal Reserve.

    The New York Federal Reserve are appointed by the Major New Your Banks.

    They control the Fed Res and set the policy.

    I wrote an article on its workings soon after the sub prime crash.

  11. Keith Kennelly says:

    Any competent business person, who leads, manages and delegates, as Trump is doing, could do as Trump does.

    I’d say there’s a woman in the west who would do a great job. None of our current politicians could hold a candle to her.

  12. Jody says:

    @en passant; That’ll be why the IPA invites Brendan O’Neill out here to deliver lectures – because he’s a lefty!! And I mention “Spiked” on The, er, “Conversation” and am roundly criticized for disseminating conservative bile. Can’t have it both ways.

    • Peter says:

      Jody, Andrew Bolt introduced O’Neill as his favourite Marxist. But I believe today’s left dislike him. He seems grounded to me; maybe a George Orwell kind of figure. That’s why they don’t like him,I guess.

      • Jody says:

        He was enthusiastically received at the IPA lecture I attended last year. He made all the right moves, saying he’d been a marxist in his youth (he’s not yet 40!) and that today’s Left does NOT espouse marxism!! That would have cut through to the Left and explains their antipathy – that and the Left’s lack of intelligence. You see, the Left works by numbers – they can’t handle anybody who speaks off script and who cannot be labelled. The Right, on the other hand, is far more inquiring and open-minded.

    • en passant says:

      Jody,
      I like O’Neill because he makes sense, so does Latham.

      Spiked is not a conservative site, so that is another error to your list.

      You want Trump to succeed, do you, though you think he will fail? OK, let’s make it even easier: name three things Trump will unequivocally succeed in achieving.

      • Jody says:

        It’s enough for me that places like The Guardian and The, er, Conversation regard “Spiked” as conservative!!! Many of their items come from that system of values.

        • en passant says:

          Jody,
          You failed to answer the key point: name where you expect Trump to succeed. Can’t do it? Oh well, that was not unexpected.

          As for the Left (one-way, group-think)’Conversation labelling the Leftoid ‘Spike’ as ‘conservative’ just completely reduces your credibility to nano-something.

          Please, be honest and just openly attack and criticise Trump.

          • Jody says:

            I won’t converse with you because you are always angry and aggressive. Do you think this can be good for your health?

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    To be honest en p is just forthright. I’m the same. I’ve been labelled as always angry and aggressive too.

    I find en p’s expression refreshing. Does he get ‘stuck in’ when he’s on a winner. Of course just like Roger, Raffa, Serena and her sister.