Famous primatologist Jane Goodall has doubled down on her view that President Donald Trump's behavior is similar to that of an aggressive chimpanzee. Goodall believes Trump's personality helped him dominate a crowded GOP primary and win the November 2016 election but will not serve him well in the Oval Office.
In October 2016, Goodall said that Trump's campaigning style reminded her of the aggressive male chimpanzees she had observed during her decades-long experience as a primatologist.
"In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals," Goodall told The Atlantic.
"In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing walks," Goodall explained. "The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position."
Goodall was referring to Trump's feat of defeating 16 other candidates during the 2016 GOP primary race. Some observers during the race asserted that Trump successfully eliminated his opponents by bullying them. Martin O'Malley, who dropped out of the 2016 Democratic Party primaries in the early months of the race for president, told The Atlantic that preparing to debate Trump would require "thinking of him as a monkey with a machine gun.”
"When you see Donald Trump, an extremely powerful and popular rich man, belittling people and calling them names, I think most people would consider that bullying behavior," Dr. Nancy Swigonski, a prominent pediatrician, told the Indy Star in April 2016.
On Sept. 18, Goodall revisited her critique of Trump's behavior during an interview, nearly 10 months after Trump won the November 2016 election and secured the presidency.
"It's certainly true," Goodall told Jezebel. "When chimps are competing for dominance, they do a lot of blustering, swaggering and intimidation. They fall short of coming to blows, usually."
The 83-year-old primatologist added that chimpanzees who used aggressive tactics to reach the top of the hierarchy did not maintain their power for very long.
"The chimps who are smart, they use their brain and they get to the top by forming clever alliances, like with their brothers," Goodall continued. "So you don't challenge the top guy without a lot of support. They last longer, the ones with the brain. The ones who do the swaggering don't last as long."