State of (Trump’s) Mind examines the psychology behind statements and actions by the president.
It has been 24 days since President Trump tweeted the incendiary assertion that President Obama “was tapping my phones” before Election Day. Although neither Trump nor his aides has provided evidence of that, and officials from the Obama administration and others have flat-out denied it, Trump has not retracted the allegation. As a Wall Street Journal editorial said last week, “the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.”
What explains the president’s stubborness? Both research and experience with patients have taught psychologists something about what makes people unwilling or unable to concede error. By “concede,” we don’t mean apologize, as for an unethical or hurtful action. We mean something along the lines of That thing I said? It’s factually incorrect — even without an apology.