Guy who works for Travis Kalanick calls Donald Trump a psychopath
This past Sunday, former Obama staffer David Plouffe went on television and called Donald Trump a psychopath.
"I mean, basically, we have a psychopath running for president. I mean, he meets the clinical definition, okay," Plouffe told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Plouffe backed up his diagnosis by listing off psychopathic symptoms that he said Trump has displayed: "The grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse."
Powerful words. And particularly damning from someone who previously occupied such a powerful position in the Obama administration. Plouffe, you’ll recall, is largely credited with helping get Obama elected in 2008. He’s quite-a-guy, as Max from Hart To Hart might put it.
But NBC was quick to sound a cautionary note: David Plouffe may be many things, but he is not a doctor. as such, he is incapable of making a clinical diagnosis.
Asked host Chuck Todd:
"Do you really think, diagnosing people on air, I assume you don't have a degree in Psychology. Is that fair? I mean -- we're jumping to conclusions here, I think this is what gets voters a little frustrated with this campaign."
Plouffe conceded: "I don't have a degree in psychology."
That’s true, Plouffe does not have a degree in psychology, and there is a longstanding precedent - the Goldwater Rule - that the media doesn’t attempt to diagnose mental illness in politicians. But Todd (and Plouffe) missed one important qualification Plouffe does have when diagnosing whether someone might be a psychopath: After leaving the White House, Plouffe went to work for… Travis Kalanick.
Read those symptoms again: "The grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse."
Do any of those sound familiar? Any echoes at all of a guy who boasted of standing on top of a building (one pictures arms outstretched) imagining a world where every car is an Uber? Of a guy who was criticized by a judge for lying over sending CIA-linked spies to smear a critic? Of a guy whose company has repeatedly blamed the victims of assault at the hands of his drivers.
And that’s not the only overlap between Plouffe’s boss and Trump. Quick question: Which billionaire businessman - Trump or Kalanick - has been repeatedly accused of ill-treatment of workers, union busting, shady tax dodges, institutional misogyny, and has faced scores of lawsuits from plaintiffs claiming to have been trampled underfoot by his business practices?
If you answered “c) both” then award yourself top marks. (Give yourself a bonus point if you correctly identified the person hired by Kalanick to bust unions as… David Plouffe.)
At the end of his interview, Plouffe predicted a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton:
The race ends today; I think Hillary Clinton is guaranteed at least 269 electoral votes," Plouffe said. "I think it's likely going to be a landslide,"
He may well be right. But he can also rest assured that, should he be wrong, Plouffe’s experience sets him up perfectly for a job at the Trump Whitehouse.