Trump is like a 'psychopath', claims former Obama adviser
A former top adviser to President Barack Obama has labelled Donald Trump a "psychopath", saying the Republican presidential nominee met the clinical definition of the personality disorder.
With a little more than two months to go before the November 8 election, the comments by David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and manager of his 2008 presidential campaign, mark another escalation in a series of blows being exchanged between Trump's camp and that of his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton.
"Basically, you have a psychopath running for president. I mean, he meets the clinical definition," Mr Plouffe said in an interview on NBC's 'Meet the Press'.
When challenged, Plouffe acknowledged that he had no degree in psychology but rattled off what he said were the New York businessman's symptoms: "Grandiose notion of self-worth; pathological lying; lack of empathy and remorse."
Last week, Clinton accused Trump of fuelling America's "radical fringe" with racist rhetoric, while Trump said Clinton was letting down black Americans with failed policies and called her a "bigot who sees people of colour only as votes, not as human beings."
The two presidential campaigns have been busy slinging mud at each other for much of the last week. But the two agree on one thing: Trump will continue to shoot from the hip when the candidates meet on a debate stage.
The first of three proposed debates between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton is almost a month away, on September 26. It promises to be one of the signature moments in the long campaign for the Oval Office.
"He's an unconventional candidate and he's not going to prepare the way Hillary does, which is, you know, lock her in a room and cram her head with all these binders," said Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager.
"The authentic Donald Trump, who's been taking his case directly to the voters, is the one that you will see on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton, and I think they're nervous over in the Clinton camp," Ms Conway said.
Ms Conway wouldn't say if Mr Trump would definitely hold mock debates and if so, who would stand in for Mrs Clinton. NBC News reported that former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham were doing debate preparation with Trump.
Mr Plouffe agreed with the assessment of Trump's strength ahead of the first contest.
"It is going to be difficult, because you are going to have to prepare for many different Trumps," he said. "The candidate who shows up on debate night could be "modest" or "off-the-rails.
"A Trump who doesn't prepare for anything and apparently, based on reports, that's how they're doing it," he said.
"You just don't know what he's going to say."
Mr Plouffe was responding to a question about who would play Mr Trump in Mrs Clinton's debate prep - a question the campaign is said to be having trouble resolving because of Mr Trump's hard-edged style and tactical fluidity.