Following a Series of Serious Flubs, Experts Suggest that Donald Trump is Dyslexic

When Donald Trump speaks extemporaneously, his thoughts come out in a mad tangle of words and sentence fragments, with simple phrases constantly repeated (believe me!) and more complicated ones abandoned mid-way. He almost always returns to the topic of himself, his greatness, his victimhood, and his election victory over Hillary Clinton.

It’s not normal.

It also tells you a lot about Trump’s internal struggles.

“When language is disconnected from meaning, it serves other psychological functions,” writes Justin Frank, a top Washington psychoanalyst and author who has made a side business of putting presidents on the metaphorical couch (first Bush, then Obama, and now Trump).

“Behind the tortured syntax,” Frank writes, “are symptoms of several worrisome disorders.”

In his book, Trump on the Couch, Frank explains:

It’s as though Trump actually interrupts his own thinking with a new thought or association that only he can interpret. He circles around his original idea… a pattern of speech characterized by oblique, digressive, or irrelevant replies to a question. This is sometimes considered a thought disorder, while other mental health professionals see it as indicative of the manic phase of bipolar illness, or even the result of a dependency on amphetamines.

Frank, not surprisingly, begins his book with a deep dive into everything ever written about Trump’s childhood — and finds that his mother was barely there, both in his early life and in the public record. His analysis:

Donald Trump at some point learned that his mother was emotionally unavailable and that his father was absent and critical; combined with his own limited impulse control at school, which interfered with his traditional learning, these factors would contribute to a sense of despair over not getting enough warmth and meaningful nourishment from his earliest caretakers. This despair, in turn, would lead to narcissism, as a defense against shame and criticism, as well as against the need for any introspection that would cause him to face his selfish or hurtful behavior.

In some ways, Frank writes, Trump is still stuck there.

The man we now see before us is an adult with an infantilized worldview: a frightened child who is hungry – for power, for fast food, for admiration, for money, for loyalty. He surveys the world around him with uncanny radar for any aspersion, seeing everything but understanding nothing. I think Trump never got over his hurt and rage at not having had a deep preverbal bond with his mother, and the confidence-building joys that warmth, tenderness, touch, scent or smiles might bring. He has been angry and determined to get his due ever since, spending his life trying to reach his idealized mother.

The symptoms of Trump’s narcissism include “self-centered focus … indifference to others, difficulty imagining the consequences of one’s actions, and shameless bragging.” Trump also rejects the rules and regulations that apply to other people, because he sees himself as immune.

And perhaps most recognizably, his narcissism makes him incapable of empathy:

When a person is as invested in the illusion of his omnipotence as Trump, the capacity to identify with weakness or vulnerability – a requisite for empathy – is too threatening to the delicate balance by which the illusion of omnipotence is maintained.

Why is he so divisive? Because he’s projecting his internal self-destructive feelings. He “must externalize this deep endless conflict, causing unease and ultimately division among others.”

Frank concludes by diagnosing Trump as having an untreated language-processing disorder:

It is my opinion that Donald Trump likely suffers from a subtype of dyslexia – a neuropsychological condition that was likely present and undetected since early childhood. It is a subtle language-processing disorder that affects emotional, cognitive, and social development.

Specifically, it leads to difficulties in understanding what someone else is saying, and in processing experiences.

Children with language processing disorders require attentive parenting to help them manage. Several of Donald Trump’s familiar adult personality traits—including his trademark volatility, lack of impulse control, and insistence that he knows better than anyone else – evoke the recognizable hallmarks of an undetected childhood learning disability.

This would also make Trump’s “Alabama” Hurricane Dorian flub easier to understand. Alabama and Bahama look similar.

Noel Casler is a comedian who worked with Trump on The Apprentice, and he said:

Twitter also had the same theory:

meet the author

Nicole James is a lifelong Democrat and political activist who first cut her teeth as a teenager volunteering for Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign. She has worked and volunteered for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, HFA (Hillary For America) and Organizing For Action. She’s passionate about liberal and progressive causes, and considers President Obama her most favorite president ever. She holds her Bachelor’s from Boston College and her Master’s from Columbia University, both in Economics. When not working as a writer, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her three college-aged children.


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