On Saturday, the nation let out a collective gasp -- or chortle, depending on political affiliation -- when Donald Trump declared that John McCain is not a war hero. (“He’s not a war hero….He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”)
Virtually everybody was shocked and appalled that Trump would denigrate McCain's service this way. Whatever you think of McCain as a Senator, as a Presidential candidate, or as a human being, the one thing about him that is absolutely undeniable is his heroism in Viet Nam. McCain turned down the opportunity to be released from captivity early because he felt it wouldn't have been right to leave his fellow American captives behind.
This happened while Donald Trump was getting five separate deferments.
In a roundabout way, Trump's repulsive statement is actually proof that he's not a sociopath. If he were a sociopath, he'd be a lot slyer with his smears, a lot better at fooling people, and a lot better at seducing -- rather than repelling -- an electorate.
Yes, Trump is a narcissistic personality. In fact, far more narcissistic than most narcissists. He's just a walking, talking, bloated ego, always full of bombast, always full of hot air, and always full of himself. He is unable to open his mouth without boasting.
Yet there's something naive, almost innocent, about the way he brags. He seems to have no idea how off-putting he is, and what kind of impression he is making. He comes across a little like a five-year-old when he boasts, a five-year-old who has no idea the kind of impression he's making.
And that's why nobody took him seriously as a candidate.
(Honestly, in a weird sort of way, I almost find Trump's boasting cute. Funny, even.)
In any case, sociopaths aren't like that. They're far better at hiding their true natures, at paying lip service to the proper ideals, at putting up a false front of humility, and at reading people and telling them what they want to hear.
Trump is just a big fat kid with a lot of money -- who likes to boast about that money. And evidently his money makes him think he can kick El Chapo's ass, or convincingly criticize McCain's war record. Trump even sees his money as qualification enough to be President.
That's the nature of narcissism.
But not of sociopathy. (A sociopath might think those things, but he'd be too sly to actually say them.)