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Trump and His Power of Positive Thinking


Mike has a keen interest in the effects of politics in our culture. He has a unique way of simplifying complex concepts.



Have you ever wondered why Trump re-frames everything that is negative about himself into something positive to benefit him? I just finished reading Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Not Enough.

On pages 37 and 38, she talks about Norman Vincent Peale and a book he wrote in the early 50’s called, The Power of Positive Thinking and how it influenced Donald Trump and his Father, Fred Trump. The proceeding paragraphs are mixed with passages from her book and my own thoughts and other noted sources. This confirms to me how Trump uses his Power of Positive Thinking to play in his fantasy world of being our president so that his actions ultimately only benefit him.

Norman Vincent Peale

Peale, a minister who “preached self-confidence as a life philosophy,” according to Politico, wrote best-selling self-help book “The Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952. It has since been translated into 15 languages and has sold more than 7 million copies.

Donald Trump was only six when the book was released. Mary says, "Donald’s Father was immediately drawn to Peale’s teachings. So much so that his family joined the author’s church, Marble Collegiate, in midtown Manhattan." Donald was later married to first wife, Ivana, there in 1977.

Though Peale had a massive following, he also had critics. According to Politico, Peale was known as “God’s Salesman” and called a con man because “his simple-minded approach shut off genuine thinking or insight.”

Trump, Ivana, Peale and wife at his 90th birthday Party

Trump, Ivana, Peale and wife at his 90th birthday Party

Norman Vincent Peale's Doctrine

Peale’s doctrine proclaimed, "That you need only self-confidence to prosper in the way God wants you to be. Obstacles are simply not permitted to destroy your happiness and well-being. You need be defeated only if you are willing to be."

Fred Trump's View and How it Affected Donald

That view confirmed what Fred already thought: He was rich because he deserved to be. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!.. A sense of inferiority and inadequacy interferes with the attainment of your hopes, but self -confidence leads to self-realization and successful achievement." Self -doubt wasn’t part of Fred’s makeup, and wrote, “It is appalling to realize the number of pathetic people who are hampered and made miserable by the malady popularly called the inferiority complex.”

“Peale’s proto-prosperity gospel actually complemented the scarcity mentality Fred continued to cling to. For him, it was not the more you have, the more you can give. It was the more you have the more, the more you have. Financial worth was the same as self-worth and monetary value was human value. The more Fred Trump had, the better he was. If he gave something to someone else, that person would be worth more and he less. He would pass this attitude on to Donald in spades.”

Source: Mary Trump's book, Too Much and Never Enough, page 38

Applying Trump's Positive Thinking to His Actions

I believe this is why Trump always takes negative reality and changes it to positive fantasy because he believes that sooner or later his power of positive thinking will prevail. That’s why he fires people who don’t agree with his positive fantasy agendas or he puts them out to pasture, like Dr. Fauci and Dr Birx. That’s why he calls global warming a Chinese hoax.

That’s why he tells us the virus isn’t that bad and is going to disappear. That’s why he wants to send teachers and students back to school, regardless of the risk. That’s why he leaves press conference where they ask him about his lying. He sees that as an obstruction to his fantasy of positive thinking. That’s why he wants his face on Mount Rushmore. It’s not a whim. He is deadly serious about it. That’s why he holds his rallies with his supporters. He loves the positive feedback they give him. He also needs that adoration to feed his hidden, very low self-esteem.

Trump as President

If you look at Trump as president, you can see that he uses this in his everyday coping with negative situations. He will always re-frame everything so it is positive and will not let the negative reflect on him. You can especially see this scenario in action in his dealing with the virus. That is why he says it is under control and getting better when everybody in the country knows that is not true.

False Expert

For his supporters, it gives them the feeling that he is a very confident person. He gives them the impression that he knows more than the experts, when in fact he doesn’t. He will not allow himself to think negatively about anything, to the point of lying to everybody. This technique protects him from others who do not think like him. That’s why he uses superlative adjectives all the time. Those exaggerations appear very positive to his supporters.

Trump's Rotating Staff

If others in his staff, do not agree with his positive thinking positions, he will just fire them until he finds someone who does agree with him. In his mind, it is totally justified. He believes that sooner or later he will win. This might have been true as a real estate broker, but with this virus, we are dealing with real people not inanimate high-rise buildings and casinos.

Justifying His Actions

He puts his name on everything just like his Father did. It does not surprise me that he wants his picture carved into Mount Rushmore. In his mind, that is not a crazy whim. He is dead serious about it. Sending the kids back to school while the virus is still active is another one of his positive thinking scenarios that he thinks will work. He doesn’t care how many people it puts at risk. Because of what he has been taught about positive thinking justifies his actions.

Adulation and Admiration

I believe Trump must be fed a steady diet of adulation and admiration. Qanon has been deemed a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI. Trump endorsed Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won her GOP House primary runoff in Georgia last week. Greene called the QAnon conspiracy theory “something worth listening to and paying attention to and called Q a “patriot.” Trump praised her as a, “Future Republican Star and said, She also says very nice things about me."

This is how I see our president in action using his positive thinking in ways that are dangerous to our country and our well-being.


  • CNBC - How self-help author Norman Vincent Peale influenced Donald Trump
  • Politico - Donald Trump 2016: How Norman Vincent Peale Created Him - POLITICO Magazine
  • Too Much and Never Enough - Author, Mary Trump
  • The Boston Globe.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Mike Russo


Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 17, 2020:

...misdeeds. Bill Clinton did it and got a second shot for the presidency.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 17, 2020:

PeoplePower, agreed that the law of retribution, or as the Orients call it-Karma-Trump still has the opinion to beg the American people for past...

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 16, 2020:

I think you are right, but he will never show that side of himself.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 16, 2020:

PeoplePower, what I can say is that Trump, is now afraid of his shadow whether he was vote out of power or not.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 16, 2020:

JC: I think he is undermining the post office to delay votes for several reasons. It not only delay votes for Biden, but also Trump.

The ballots could be delayed by months. That means Trump stays in office until all the ballots are counted. That buys him time to lawyer up, because he knows the democrats are coming after him for obstruction of justice as soon as he is out of office.

Thanks for your comments.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 16, 2020:

Val: Trump supporters believe all that crap with exaggerated superlatives, thanks to Fox News.

As far as our economy goes, Trump inherited a recovering economy from Obama. He ran it into the toilet because of his tariffs...and then the virus came along and ruined it.

Trump tried to run the economy of the world with economic nationalism and tariffs and sanctions. None of which worked.

I'm glad we are on the same page now.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on August 16, 2020:

I am going to miss Trump after he is gone from our lives and wearing an orange jumpsuit in some federal prison somewhere in this vast land of ours. He has provided us with so much entertainment in the last four years. But more importantly, he has furnished us with many issues about ourselves that necessitate analysis and dissection. At the top of this list, he has brought to light how effective a manipulative, narcissist can be at gaslighting the American people.

As always, you have managed to crystallize an interesting dimension of Trump which the 40% of the American people who continue to support him would do best to come to understand.

Val Karas from Canada on August 16, 2020:

Mike -- With this latest explanation addressed to my comment I see myself with you on the same page.

Yes, he twists the negatives into positives when it serves his purpose. You see, I got somewhat stuck at the word "positive" -- before realizing that you were talking about his perverted version of "positive". He also uses superlatives when exaggerating about what he sees as good or bad. So, he'll say that his administration has achieved "more than any other so far", that he "knows more about something than any other man", and he is a "very stable genius"... stuff like that. It truly takes a brainwashed person to fall for any of that.

Again, I don't hate him, I just think that he "bit more than he could chew" when he decided to run for a president. Economy and international politics have nothing to do with his strategies in real estate ventures.

But let the time be the witness to it -- I am not trying to convince anybody. I am simply looking at the equation of his nature and presidency -- which logically doesn't add up. I think that he got one element working for him -- a historical moment when the public was fed up with America's greatness declining. It was not declining because of former presidents, but because of international economy that stopped being favorable for America's being used to having an easier ride.

Our Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin's father), beside all his good qualities couldn't save Canada from a decline after the countries of OPEC started dictating the global economy with oil as a leverage.

So, it depends on the historical moment for a leader to turn out "good" or "bad". Trump's motto of "making America great again was an illusion -- you can't run the economy of the world, no matter how much coercion and intimidating you apply. A wrong century.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 16, 2020:

Miebakagh: With all of his firing of people and reorganization of the justice system, he has made himself immune to any criminal charges against him. Therefore, the only thing we can do is vote him out. But he is obstructing the mail-in-ballot system as well, by shutting down the post offices.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 16, 2020:

Val: You are absolutely right about positive thinking. My point and Mary Trump's point is that it is Trump and his dad's interpretation of positive thinking. It's like people who use the bible to justify going to war.

As an example, he spins everything that should be negative about the virus into positives that require lying at the expense of putting people at risk. He abhors science and logic, because they are obstructions to his happy talk. I hope this makes sense to you.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 15, 2020:

PeoplePower, what can the American people do about it? Can they reserve the trend? As you rightly point out here and any where else, he has his mindset. Thanks.

Val Karas from Canada on August 15, 2020:

Mike -- In more than one of my hubs I stated that I saw Donald Trump as a softie compensating with a stubborn, arrogant front. It has absolutely nothing to do with "positive thinking". He might have as well been in a picture with Dalai Lama, without having absolutely nothing in common with that deep individual.

Positive thinking is about an attitude of calm and peace from which stems personal power. Trump is a bundle of nerves, often presenting himself as a victim of his political adversaries. Positive thinking is not about denying reality, it's about responding to it in a constructive way. And Trump has been building all his power on denying things -- from an obvious fact that Mexico would have never paid for his wall, all the way to denying this pandemic. Not even to touch those numerous self-contradictions and lies.

Putting my claims in a proper perspective -- I don't know if he has been a good or a bad president -- and I won't go there. I don't hate the dude, he hasn't done anything to me to hate him. I am simply trying to make obvious that he is by far not thinking "positively" -- but stubbornly.

Someone said: "Stubbornness is a cheap surrogate for integrity". Same goes for positivism in life. Stubbornness is a defensive mechanism of those who can't win any other way.

The ancient orator Cicero gave this advice to his students: "When you don't have a good argument -- insult the opponent."

Sounds familiar? But, forgive me if I doubt that Donald Trump ever studied classical era and its philosophies.

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