President-elect Donald Trump has been called a lot of names throughout the years. No matter what you call him now, he is now being called “President” around the world. Now that the election is over, some pundits are seriously considering one of the most common epithets thrown at Trump: con man. Even members of Trump’s own party described the presumptive nominee as a con man, including Republican luminaries like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Now that Donald Trump is the 45th president of the USA, the question of whether or not he really is a textbook con man has become quite important. One professional psychologist, Maria Konnikova, is now telling reporters she absolutely believes Trump fits all the categories for a traditional con man.
Trump: Executive Liar?
So, what makes Trump a con man in Konnikova’s eyes? First off, she said con artists are
“addicted to that sense of power, that rush of being able to pull one over on people and get away with it.”
Konnikova believes Trump could be willing to outright lie to people just to get a rush of adrenaline and more attention. And Konnikova should know all about this subject. She literally wrote the book on con men, called The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time. For hard evidence to support Konnikova’s claim, she points out the work of fact-checking team Politifact.
Politifact took a look at 298 statements made by Donald Trump and ran them through their Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking machine. They found that only 4 percent of Trump’s remarks were wholly “true,” whereas 35 percent of his remarks were “false” and 17 percent were so bad that Politifact called them “pants on fire” remarks. In contrast to Trump, Politifact said that 24 percent of 272 statements made by Hillary Clinton were “true” and only 13 percent were either “false” or “pants on fire.”
Importance Of Intent For Con Artists
Throughout Konnikova’s extensive research, she believes there is a clear difference between the average political liar and the con man. The key difference in Konnikova’s eyes is “intent.” The con artists will always have personal gain as their main goal, and they will perform any mode of deception to get it. Liars, on the other hand, have a less flimsy plan and a vague goal in mind. Konnikova believes Trump’s handling of the media in particular points to him being a con man. She told reporters that:
“[If Donald Trump] really knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s playing the media…then it’s certainly a con technique.”
One of the main ways Trump was able to sway so many supporters to his side was by effectively using his Twitter account to tell the people what they want to hear, all the while blasting the mainstream media for misrepresenting his original intent.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Of course, these are just Konnikova’s opinions, and we won’t really know if Donald Trump is an actual “con man” until he gets settled in the White House. Even Konnikova admitted to reporters that the only way to know for sure if Trump is a con artist is to get inside his head.
Certainly, President Trump’s emotional impact, whether for good or for ill, is immense in the USA. The appeal to emotion, Konnikova points out, is a huge part of the con artist’s arsenal of tricks. However, emotional appeals could also be honest expressions of his political convictions.
Whether you believe POTUS is just a narcissist or if he actually believes his political convictions, he will be the one calling the shots for the next four years, so we’d all better get used to just calling him President Trump.