The word “narcissism” is tossed around a lot but as a concept it actually has complex and fascinating shadings. For instance, it comes in two types, one we recognize instinctively (grandiose) and one that’s a lot stealthier and “closeted” (vulnerable). I don’t think it means much to label Trump a narcissist unless you also examine the function of narcissism in his inner life and behavior, in other words what it makes him say and do and feel. This statement (see below), “IT WAS ME,” is so stunningly flawless as a summary of Trump’s psyche that it deserves italicizing. It’s terrifying to think that the leader of this nation has one unconscious, overlearned, automatic barometer of meaning: how it reflects on his preening, brittle self-concept. I’ve known lots of flagrant narcissists but they hid it mostly. Trump is a higher order because his narcissism fails to include the requisite pluck of any kind of shame.
TRUMP: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.”