( The Independent): A leading psychoanalyst and clinical professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine has claimed that president Donald Trump suffers from “narcissistic personality disorder”.
Dr John Zinner, the former head of the Unit on Family Therapy Studies at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), made the claim in an interview with Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy X Lee for Raw Story.
During the interview, that was published on Tuesday, Dr Lee asked the psychoanalyst what he thought of the claims made by the president’s niece Dr Mary L Trump about her uncle’s mental health.
Dr Trump, a clinical psychologist, claimed that Mr Trump is a “narcissist,” in her memoir, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, that was released in June.
Dr Zinner, who researched narcissistic disorders during his time at the NIMH told Dr Lee that he agrees with the diagnosis.
“We are being struck by a perfect storm, a combination of a deadly pandemic combined with an utter failure in leadership by the very person who should have been in charge of preventing this terrible national emergency,” Dr Zinner said.
“Donald Trump has failed us because he is, as he has always been, incompetent, and he suffers from extremely severe mental disorders, which render him incapable of attending to any issue beyond his own personal need for adulation.
“The mental condition he suffers most from is formally known as a severe instance of narcissistic personality disorder,” he added.
Dr Zinner said that the disorder “is the failure in childhood and beyond to develop an inner sense of worth or self-esteem,” and added that it “makes one’s worth entirely dependent upon admiration from others.”
In 2017, Dr Zinner claimed that the president’s mental health posed an “existential threat” to the world as he has the ability to launch nuclear weapons at any time.
“[He] has a particular kind of character that’s very well known, especially by psychoanalytically orientated mental health people,” Dr Zinner said about the president in 2017.
“What it involves is a fundamental self-esteem problem; an insecure self-esteem, side by side with a sense of grandiosity. So the person has a very contradictory image of themselves,” he added.
Dr Zinner did not diagnose the president with anything specific in 2017, but he is now among 37 other mental health professionals who have speculated on the state of Mr Trump’s mental health, following the release of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, edited by Dr Lee.
Many of the long-standing claims made by Dr Zinner and Dr Lee about the president’s mental health have drawn judgment from some in the psychiatric establishment.
The American Psychiatric Association states it is unethical for members to speculate about the mental health of a public figure they have not personally examined, under the Goldwater rule.
However, Dr Zinner claims that the rule does not apply to the president, and he told Dr Lee that “the basic guidelines for the ethical canons says that a psychiatrist’s responsibility, ‘first and foremost,’ is to his or her patients and to society and to his colleagues and himself, in that order. It does not include a public figure.”
In 2016, after multiple journalists asked for the organisation to comment on Mr Trump’s mental health, the American Psychological Association president Susan McDaniel said that the ruling does apply to public figures and added that she and her colleagues could not comment.
She added: “Our Code of Ethics clearly warns psychologists against diagnosing any person, including public figures, whom they have not personally examined.”