The Atlantic’s David Frum argued on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” that President Donald Trump’s personal issues are the reason he repeatedly touts his own intelligence.
Frum, responding to an earlier question from fellow-guest Neera Tanden about what inspired the president’s behavior, argued that Trump was perhaps acting out of pain which he speculated could have been inflicted by his father. (RELATED: Journalist Wonders Whether Trump ‘Punched’ Melania — The First Lady’s Office Hits Back Hard)
“To your question about why he does this, you know, President Obama never found it necessary to tell people that he was smart,” Frum said. “President Clinton never found it necessary to tell people that he was smart, not to be partisan about it, neither did President Nixon. We knew they were smart, whether we liked them or not.”
“The question I have about President Trump’s high IQ tweets is who he is talking to?” Frum asked. “He’s not convincing anybody. He’s talking to himself. He hears it in his head, maybe in his father’s voice, ‘You’re stupid. You’re worthless.’ That’s who he is arguing with. It is not a media strategy. It is a psychological project based on this deeply wounded person.”
“You are getting really close to playing psychiatrist here,” host Brian Stelter warned.
Frum responded by arguing that he was speaking from his own personal experience with people like Trump, not trying to make a formal diagnosis of any kind. “Many people have had this in their lives and can see the person who hears the denigrating voices tries to turn it on the outside world and it still never works. They still hear voices,” he explained.