Neuroscientist and author Sam Harris suggested Trump supporters had Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) during a Tuesday appearance on artificial intelligence researcher Lex Fridman’s podcast.
The podcaster said critics of Harris have previously claimed the neuroscientist has experienced agitation and stress about his own safety and the country regarding former President Donald Trump, colloquially referred to as (TDS). The podcaster noted TDS has become a “meme” to denote egregious criticism of the former President.
Fridman said the concept of TDS appears to cause “balanced, calm, rational minds” to be unable to think or see the world clearly. He then asked the neuroscientist to respond to suggestions that Trump “broke Sam Harris’ brain.”
“I think Trump Derangement Syndrome is a clever meme because it just throws the problem back on the person who’s criticizing Trump,” Harris responded.
“In truth, the true Trump Derangement Syndrome was not to have seen how dangerous and divisive it would be to promote someone like Trump to that position of power,” Harris continued. “In the final moment not to see how untenable it was to still support … a sitting President who is not committing to a peaceful transfer of power.”
“You have been deranged”
Sam Harris tells Lex Friedman it’s not him that has Trump Derangement Syndrome. Instead he blames the Trump supporters. pic.twitter.com/vHABHWba7U
— Mythinformed (@MythinformedMKE) March 15, 2023
“If that wasn’t a bright line for you, you have been deranged by something,” he said, “because that was one-minute to midnight for our democracy as far as I’m concerned.”
Friedman questioned Harris about a comment the neuroscientist made in an August episode of Triggernometry hosted by Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster.
Kisin, Foster and Harris discussed the 2020 Presidential Election and the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, to which the neuroscientist said “Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement [and] I would not have cared.”
“The reason why I can say with confidence that I don’t care what was on [Hunter’s] laptop … and that includes any evidence of corruption on the part of [Joe],” Harris told Fridman, claiming there has been “precious little” evidence besides a “few emails.”
The neuroscientist suggested “the scale of corruption” between Biden and Trump was imbalanced.
“Hold that what we know against Trump, I mean the litany of indiscretions you can put on Trump’s side that testify to his personal corruption … to the fact that he has no ethical compass,” he continued. “There’s simply no comparison. That’s why I don’t care about what’s on the laptop.”
“If you tell me Trump is no longer running for President in 2024 and we can put Trumpism behind us, and now you’re saying, ‘Listen, there’s a lot of stuff on that laptop that makes Joe Biden look like a total a–hole.’ Okay, I’m all ears.”
The concept of TDS, where a person experiences severe agitation and stress in response to Trump, appears to originate from a 2016 Los Angeles Times op-ed. However, the concept may trace back to a op-ed in the Washington Post, wherein columnist Charles Krauthammer refers to “Bush Derangement Syndrome” (BDS).
Krauthammer defined BDS as: “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency … the very existence of George W. Bush,” noting the phenomenon “generally struck people with previously compromised intellectual immune systems.”