Mind of Trump: Wiretapping and False Outrage

Repealing ObamaCare with TrumpCare
March 16, 2017
Donald Trump's Twitter Mental Health Update

Image courtesy of a health blog on Flickr available under a Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

A lot has already been said about this collection of March 4th tweets and the allegations made within. Are they just misdirection aimed at moving the discussion away from Jeff Sessions? Did Trump get his information through presidential channels or from Breitbart? Was there a warrant to surveil his communications? I’m guessing we’ll never know for certain. What we can see in this barrage of early morning vitriol, however, is an individual who is increasingly erratic and hostile. Let’s look at the timeline.

This tweet strikes as a half-hearted attempt to defend Sessions and draw the audience in. Even the use of his the ellipses (“…”) seems designed to bring the reader to his next tweet:

Here he changes the subject to evade accountability associated with his cabinet member. Trump does this so frequently that the public has come to recognize it as his norm. Today’s hostility, name-calling, and smear-campaign begins with this tweet.

Switching back to the first topic, this tweet appears to be half defense, half truth. Regardless, it is difficult to believe that he suddenly came upon this information at 6am on a Saturday while at his Florida club.

This tweet highlights a technique of baiting and then feigning innocence. This kind of question attempts to suggest to his base that he’s just like them—a regular, innocent guy who doesn’t know the law very well. A reader could identify with asking a legal question. However, it’s not a realistic question for a POTUS to be asking—it is bait intended to position himself as a victim. Then, he states that something was turned down by court which leads the reader has to assume he is reffering to “wire tapping.” Then comes the all-caps condescension.

This is a continuation of the smear campaign furthering the narrative that Obama is the aggressor and that Trump is the victim. It is also a blanket statement and generalization… and intellectual laziness. No legal terms are used and no evidence is cited. He is simply going to “bet” a good lawyer could make a case. It is an overt threat from someone with a high degree of entitlement and no accountability.

I’m not going to address the use of the word “tapp.” He doesn’t need to spell-check, apparently. The smear campaign continues, with the intention of convincing anyone who isn’t already that Obama is bad. This also may be his most clear use of gaslighting in recent tweets. He refers to the “very sacred election process.” You might vaguely recall that Trump did not treat the election process in a respectful way while it was occurring. I won’t rehash all of his behavior, but the highlights would include chanting about locking up his opponent and encouraging a foreign entity to hack private emails. And that is the gaslight of it—as a citizen you remember him being ok when someone else’s privacy could be violated illegally, but he wants you to be outraged when the same may have happened to him. But wait, did he actually encourage Russia? Can you remember it exactly? Are you sure you really heard what you think you heard? No? That’s his goal. He then goes as far as to allege that President Obama is “sick.” Name-calling is commonly used to invalidate a person or his/her beliefs. Rather than targeting the alleged behavior, he degrades the person.

This string of tweets, while disturbing, continues to give readers clear insights into obvious pathology. There is ample evidence of egocentrism, a distinct lack of empathy, manipulativeness through glibness and ingratiation, hostility, risk-taking (libel), impulsivity, and irresponsibility.


As a mental health professional, I spend every day examining what people say and do both in and out of therapy sessions. I am trained to study the language used, the nuance of expression, and the underlying meanings. At present, we have a president who uses an open forum to express his thoughts and feelings. I believe Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is part distraction and misdirection, but it also allows us to examine a president’s thought process like never before. Therapists are not supposed to diagnose a public person from afar, so I will not do that outright. I believe, however, that a closer look at his public feed is warranted and necessary, and is a service to the country. I also believe that when you tweet out your inner dialogue, you have very little recompense when people dissect it. No matter whom you are.

In looking at Trump’s tweets, I can see very clear usage of classic diversion tactics. I can also see evidence lack of empathy, intimacy problems, callousness, projection, deceitfulness, hostility, impulsivity, and irresponsibility. Keep these terms in mind, and I will discuss them as they pertain to specific tweets.

Leave a Reply