What is Donald Trump’s personality type? In the MBTIR system, he’s probably an ESTP (Extraverted, Sensate, Thinking, Perceiving). In the Enneagram system, I see him as a 3-Achiever. Though he projects a tough, “masculine” persona, which describes some 8-Asserters, his main motivation seems to be to promote his image, thus type 3. Both types (3 and 8) can be very competitive.
Trump is a 3
3’s (and ESTPs) have a tendency to be impulsive. As with all types, 3’s range psychologically from healthy to unhealthy. When healthy, they work hard to achieve positive goals, put their vast energy into making the world a better place, and mentor and inspire others. Trump is an unhealthy 3 and a narcissist. When things don’t go their way, unhealthy 3’s become vindictive and abusive, disrespect the truth, and do whatever it takes to climb toward the top. Since they see themselves through the eyes of others, they often have a wobbly relationship with their inner selves. This can result in thin skin, fear, anger, and the need to blame or scapegoat (similar to the unhealthy form of the 6-Questioner).
Unhealthy 3’s crave attention so they toot their own horns and make things up about their accomplishments and abilities. When Trump wrote a book and his publisher showed him the cover, the only change Trump wanted was for his name to be bigger. For him, “truth, honesty and integrity are infinitely malleable, and easily discarded, concepts“ (quote from Charles Blow).
Trump’s style mimics some 8-Asserters.
Healthy 8’s are protective and stand up for the underdog. They love the truth so they tend to have consistent views backed up by facts. Trump, however, acts like an unhealthy 8—his attention-grabbing behavior is outrageous, domineering, shocking, blunt, bombastic, immature, and vulgar. If he has real feelings for people, he hides them: “Part of the problem is nobody wants to hurt each other any more.” That he demeans women is a clue to his lack of good values and his lack of humanity.
David Remnick wrote: “Trump never failed to provide; he was everywhere, commandeering a corner at a professional wrestling match, buying the Miss Universe franchise and vowing smaller swimming suits and higher heels. You could watch him humiliate applicants on ‘The Apprentice’ and hear him on the ‘Howard Stern Show’ gallantly describing Melania’s bowel movements (‘I’ve never seen anything—it’s amazing.’) and announcing, without hesitation, that he would have had sex with Princess Diana” (March 14 New Yorker, page 27).
As a 3, Trump is a master marketer, but all this “bigoted buffoon” (quote from David Brooks) has to market as a candidate is his unstable celebrity-self. His vague and unrealistic ideas prove he has never taken an interest in political history or in developing serious policies for improving the country. But Trump’s childish antics sell newspapers and raise TV ratings so he’s achieving the attention he craves.
The 9 Enneagram types represent values as well as personality traits. These vary somewhat from person to person, but in general:
- most 1-Perfectionists value being organized and doing the right thing, including being polite
- most 2-Helpers value love and harmonious relationships
- most 3-Achievers value presenting a favorable image
- most 4-Romantics value beauty and authenticity
- most 5-Observers value logic
- most 6-Questioners value safety
- most 7-Adventurers value the freedom to enjoy a variety of experiences
- most 8-Asserters value truth and strength
- most 9-Peace Seekers value good feelings an community
Please visit the Famous Types section of my website to see more examples of the 9 types.