Donald Trump's malignant narcissism has given medical experts great cause for concern. Digital editor Dan Jensen takes a look at a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of the former President.
IT’S EASY ENOUGH to simply label former U.S. President and reality TV star Donald Trump as insane. The man has demonstrated enough traits to make it seem like a fair assessment. But when a group of medical experts give their professional opinions on the man’s mental state, things start to sound scary.
Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump gives several mental health professionals, along with a handful of former staffers, an opportunity to provide deep analyses of Trump’s personality and the various disorders from which they believe he suffers. But rather than just giving the viewer 83 minutes of Trump-bashing, the film serves as a stern warning of the immense dangers of putting the wrong people in positions of power.
The film begins with a reminder of the lies and disinformation that spewed from the Trump Administration from day one of his presidency. The first interviewee to go on camera is former U.S. Navy senior officer, counter-terrorism expert and author Malcolm Nance, who describes the intense evaluation process undertaken by military personnel with positions of great responsibility. He then reminds us that President Trump wasn’t given any such evaluation, the election process giving him a free pass and nuclear capability being put into his hands based purely on faith.
Attorney George Conway is the first on camera to discuss Trump’s malignant narcissism, a condition backed up by several psychological experts. We’re introduced to a series of experts including John Gartner, Lance Dodes and Ramani Durvasula, each delving into the mind of Donald Trump and providing professional opinions that bounce between deeply fascinating and sometimes terrifying.
Straight off the bat, the Goldwater Rule is brought up — a principle of medical ethics that states ‘psychiatrists have a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health, but they should not give a professional opinion about public figures whom they have not examined in person’.
However, it is discussed that by putting himself into the spotlight as a complete narcissist and by his constant use of social media to share his (often controversial) thoughts, Trump has revealed more of his personality than many of the patients seen by some of the medical experts interviewed. And it’s quite interesting seeing how psychologists pick apart Trump’s mind. We know he’s a narcissist and a sadist, but here we find out the real reasons why we think that.
Unfit does a fine job of backing up everything being said about Trump with archival footage from rallies and interviews showing what the experts are talking about. We also go deep into Trump’s life history and upbringing to shed a little light on why he became hungry for power and willing to do anything to attain his goals. Everything comes together well to display a psychological profile of a madman in power.
But more importantly, the film serves as a dire warning about the state of our world. Another principle discussed is the Tarasoff Rule, which imposes a duty on a therapist to warn appropriate people when a patient may present a risk of harm to anyone. The documentary explores dictators throughout history and compares the behaviour of Trump to tyrants such as Hitler and Mussolini, giving valid psychoanalytical reasons why the man was such a danger as President.
It also shows how easy it was for Trump to win over the public using various tricks. Learning that he studied the speeches of Hitler and mimicked some of the dictator’s methods isn’t surprising, yet still alarming. And we’re reminded that several other countries around the globe are still electing fascist madmen to ultimate positions of power, giving the viewer plenty to consider about the state of our world.
As a psychological profile, Unfit is an absorbing look into the mind of a man who should never have been placed into the top job at the White House and handed nuclear launch codes. As a documentary, however, it lacks any willingness to be neutral. A good documentary should forgo bias and give both sides a chance to provide opinions, whereas Unfit doesn’t give Republicans or Trump supporters a chance to try and defend the man, which might have made for some interesting debate.
A couple of the interviews could feel a tad lengthy for some viewers but they’re always followed by something to grab one’s interest back again. Those nitpicks aside, Unfit makes for some compelling viewing, especially for anyone with an interest in psychology.
Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump is now streaming on Stan.
You can follow digital editor Dan Jensen on Twitter @DanJensenIA. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.
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