President Trump’s interview this week with the New York Times made headlines for his revelation that he would never have chosen Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Here at STAT, however, we combed through the transcript of the Oval Office interview for something else: examples of the emotional subtexts that psychiatrists and psychologists told us offer a window into the president’s mind.
Overall, Trump was more articulate than he has been in some recent appearances, an important reminder than his tortured syntax might reflect not mental decline but emotional stress: He seemed comfortable with the reporters. Nevertheless, the workings of Trump’s mind, as inferred by experts who have described their observations to STAT since January, shone through. “Most of the now-familiar Trumpian patterns are here,” said psychologist John Montgomery of New York University. Among them: