Manipulativeness is also somewhat inherent to the art of the deal, insofar as dealmaking is about getting people to give you what you want. Though, here as in politics, just because a trait is typical within a system does not make it non-diagnostic—a concept we’ll address in just a bit.
Seduction is also worth noting, as it has become an area of study and fascination such that entire books like The Game are written on the subject. Some may be worth reading if only as a form of inoculation against psychopaths and casual pickup artists alike. Game, as they say, recognizes game.
Deceitfulness: dishonesty and fraudulence; misrepresentation of self; embellishment or fabrication when relating events
When the matter of the size of Trump’s hands being small came up during a debate this year, he said, “Nobody has ever hit my hands. I’ve never heard of this one. Look at those hands. Are they small hands?”
He had heard about his hands before. Of the more consequential statements put to the test on the fact-checking site PolitiFact, 56 percent of Trump’s statements are false or mostly false. Another 19 percent are “pants on fire.” Some of them he continues to repeat. Just this weekend, Trump insisted again on 60 Minutes that he opposed the Iraq War from the start. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker and PolitiFact have proven that false, and BuzzFeed even published a 2002 interview in which Trump supports the invasion.
Callousness: lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one’s actions on others; aggression; sadism
Trump intends to ban immigration by Muslims, including refugees and the people who are being oppressed and kill by the Islamic State. After the Orlando shootings, he tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism …” And maybe most fitting here is his unwillingness to apologize for most anything, including his insults to Kelly (only eventually addressing the issue and saying “You’ve been called a lot worse”). Even after an episode of clear plagiarism this week on the part of his campaign in Melania Trump’s speech, which could have been forgiven, he gave no indication of guilt or remorse.
The other of the two personality traits, disinhibition, is characterized by impulsivity, irresponsibility, and risk taking.
Impulsivity: acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli; acting on a momentary basis without a plan or a consideration of outcomes; difficulty establishing and following plans
When Trump was supposed to introduce his vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence, this week, his remarks protracted into 28 minutes of self-promotion, absorbing the energy and attention of the crowd. As David Brooks described it this week in The New York Times, “The Pence announcement was truly the strangest vice-presidential unveiling in recent political history. Ricocheting around the verbal wilds for more than twice as long as the man he was introducing, Trump even refused to remain onstage and gaze on admiringly as Pence flattered him. It was like watching a guy lose interest in a wedding when the bride appears.”
Irresponsibility: disregard for—and failure to honor—financial and other obligations or commitments; lack of respect for—and lack of follow-through on—agreements and promises
One obligation of a presidential candidate is to disclose his income taxes, which Trump has not.
Risk taking: engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard for consequences; boredom proneness and thoughtless initiation of activities to counter boredom; lack of concern for one’s limitations and denial of the reality of personal danger
Risky business moves over the decades aside, the very act of continuing to run for president is a risk. Earlier this year, The Economist’s research firm, Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked a Trump presidency among the top 10 global risks, tied with “the rising threat of jihadi terrorism destabilizing the global economy.”