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An Insight Into the Psychology of Donald Trump

An Insight Into the Psychology of Donald Trump

This brief article will offer an insight into the psychology of Donald Trump by reviewing some of his demeanour and boardroom antics in the Apprentice when he is in the process of firing contestants. The picture of his psychology is drawn from an extremely limited range of sources and obviously does not aspire to a complete understanding of his complex personality. Moreover, the persona identified by Trump in these clips, since they primarily focus on firing individuals or a team, are not positive indications of his personality, that is, the values that he uses to guide conduct within his life. Rather these clips show negative indications of his personality, by which I mean the minimum values by which he thinks you should hold yourself with.


Part 1

0.02 – Sam is trying to save his position on the show by bragging about his business ability and the success he is going to show in future episodes. Trump fires him and wishes him the best for the future.

Psychology: This clip is notable for his encouragement to the contestant despite firing him. Trump's rationale suggests it is only business that I am firing you and I wish you “great success” in the future – and I hope you achieve it.

0.51 – Bradford, the project-manager for the task, has an exemption from being fired. However, Bradford waives this exemption demanding to be judged only for the ability (Bradford presumes he did well) he showed on the task. Trump accepts this proposal, and Bradford is fired for his impulsiveness when making critical decisions.

Psychology: It is a mistake to relinquish positions of power voluntarily and subject yourself to potentially harmful judgements that can decide your fate, especially when there is nothing to gain in doing so. Unsurprisingly, Bradford is dismissive of impulsive decisions, especially those with large consequences – this hints that – as to be expected – that important critical decisions are to be meticulous and rationally considered before acted upon.

2.20 – Trump is angered by the team that has received the worse defeat and performance since the Apprentice began. He specifies the main deficits that each individual team member committed in the task.

Psychology: The ability to focus on attention to detail and to recognise individual mistakes. Moreover, if necessary Trump will  be ruthless in making decisions if possible (note: there are no real negative effects for this kind of decision making in Apprentice, as compared to actual business life, which gives him the leeway to fire a whole team instantly) Notice, Trump continues to give encouragement right to the end.

3.34 –  Trump is moments away from firing Eric when Summer Zervos (one of Trump’s fake sexual accusers) interrupts Trump from doing so. Unable to justifiably explain why she has interrupted, Trump fires her (Ironically, it mirrors Summer's inability to explain justifiably how Trump sexually assaulted her). 


Psychology: Trump hates being interrupted, especially when it stops the natural discourse from revealing itself at a critical juncture. For example, Eric would have been fired if Summer had not intervened. Moreover, Trump appears to have an affinity for street smarts: never get in the way of an outsider attacking an enemy, just to make a point. Be aware of what is going on around you and use it to your advantage.

5:12 – Trump criticises Derek initially for making a business suggestion from “the top of his head” before Derek reveals that he labels himself as “white trash.” The expression is immediately declared as stupid and is fired.

Psychology: Under no circumstances do you have a low self-esteem that disparages itself or your ethnicity.

6:30 – Jean, the project manager for the task, takes responsibility for the poor performance of the task, and offers himself to be fired. Trump duly obliges to fire him and Wade. He tells the remaining guys that they were terrible at the task.

Psychology: You must be willing to fight and save your position. Under no circumstances do you offer yourself up to being eliminated. Trump is also willing to give blunt and honest criticism of the contestants.


Part 2

0.06 – Sandy and Jen are having a ferocious argument in the boardroom about whom out the two should be fired, and it is revealed that Sandy and Andy were conspiring to undermine Jen. Andy gets caught in the crosshairs of the argument and fails to remotely stand-up to the counterarguments of Sandy. Trump decides he has had enough watching Andy act like a weasel and continue to let Sandy “stomp on top of him.”

Psychology: In an argument, you must stand up and fight for yourself, otherwise you will be seen as having a lack of a backbone.

2:44 –  Trump asks Brendan who would he choose to fire and Brendan replies that he would fire Stefanie. Michael interrupts Brendan whilst he is severely criticising Stefanie. Trump finds this behavior from Michael stupid and unjustifiable, and he is fired.

Psychology: This psychology of Trump is reminiscent of 3.34 in Part 1, where Trump hates being interrupted especially when it stops the natural discourse from revealing itself at a critical juncture. Trump prides himself as a hard worker.

4:43 – The team refuses to let the best presenter deliver the presentation because her attitude is bad. Trump states that this is irrelevant and confides that his aides believe this individual to be a good presenter. This individual winks and smiles at them, telling Trump he should listen to them. Trump and his aides are disgusted by this immature wisecrack and fire her.

Psychology: Always choose the best person for the job who has the correct skill set. Moreover, do not make immature wisecracks in front of those that were momentarily praising you.


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