Joe Biden & Donald Trump. Two different Peas in the same Personality Type Pod
Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s Personality Types. Are they cut from the same or similar personality cloth? I think they are. What do you think? Your comments are invited below this post.
In the 2020 election, the voters chose Joe Biden for the USA Presidency, who many saw as the anti-Trump, a person quite opposite of our former President. Those voters would be surprised to learn that, according to personality type, Biden and Trump are siblings, sharing key core personality DNA so to speak.
In 2016, I wrote about ESTP Donald Trump (see that article), who at that time was a candidate for President . . . but who had yet to be selected as the Republican nominee. In that article I described Trump as “Bold, Brash, Bombastic! The consummate entertainer” according to Carly Fiorina.
Current President, Joe Biden, presents as an ESFP personality type. Personality educator Linda Berens describes ESFPs as Performers: “. . . Seeking to excite and please their ‘audience,’ they are masters at entertaining, showmanship and sales. They thrive on social interaction, pleasure, and joyful living.”
Berens describes ESTPs (like Donald Trump) as Promoters: “They are highly gifted negotiators, entrepreneurs and salespersons, and they know how to maximize every moment of their waking hours. Indeed they are people who love life in the fast lane and they are masterful at inching things along in their direction when it comes to interpersonal interactions.”
Promoters and Performers are not opposite sides of a coin, they are more alike than not alike.
While both Trump and Biden are showmen and entertainers, they are also basically gamers, masters of their craft. Trump’s game, typical of ESTPs, was business. Biden’s game, typical of ESFPs, was politics.
Jungian Educator Danielle Poirier also sees a close similarity between the two personality types. She joins them together in the Jungian Personality Type of Extraverted Sensors, people who are “. . . pragmatic and realistic with a zest for living life to the fullest . . .”
Joe Biden, ESFP Performer.
Biden fits the definition of a showman and entertainer. He loves weaving personal stories into his speeches (i.e., the Corn Pop swimming pool story). He loves making people smile, loves connecting with his audience. His stage is politics; his audience is the electorate. As a veteran of 50 years in office, he is a master of his craft. He has “made the sale” of getting elected time and time again.
So that’s the broad brush on Biden and his ESFP profile. As with Trump, his dominant Extraverted Sensing mental orientation is the leading edge of his personality, being engaged with the outer world with all of the senses is his life force. Action and engagement fuel his energy and the more he gets the more he wants. But it is also more than that, without it the fire goes out. As Poirier has described Extraverted Sensors, they “. . . are attuned to the environment and the myriad colors, textures, sounds, beauty and the sensuousness of it all.” Biden’s penchant for touching people and breathing in their essence ☺ testifies to this Sensing orientation.
But as the ESFP Faces Diagram illustrates, Extraverted Sensing isn’t the only prominent mental process of an ESFP that is engaged with the outside world. Let’s dive down and look at some of the details.
Extraverted Thinking supports Extraverted Sensing
As an ESFP, Biden prefers his Feeling judging function over his Thinking nature. However, if you look at the ESFP personality faces diagram (above), you’ll see that in dealing with the outside world, it is his Thinking (plus Sensing) that influences an ESFPs interactions.
You can see that Thinking influence in Biden’s speech. It is not full of impressive rhetoric, it’s pretty straight forward. “Here’s the deal” as he likes to say.
An ESFPs Extraverted Sensing plus Thinking leads to a pragmatic approach to life, adapting to environmental realities. To repeatedly win re-election, a consummate politician must adapt to changes in the political environment, deal objectively and realistically with what he is facing. This pragmatism accounts for why some of the things Biden advocates today are quite opposite of what he advocated twenty years ago. Twenty years ago was a different time and a different place. Extraverted Sensing people react to the here and now, what exists.
This practical, logical side of ESFPs was first brought to my attention by the husband of an ESFP friend who was a credentialed Myers-Briggs trained educator. He once commented to me that his wife “was the most logical person I know.”
The extraverted Thinking side of Biden, combined with his Sensing, is a part of the “Good Ole Joe” persona Joe Biden has cultivated over the years.
The Inner Joe Biden: Introverted Feeling & Intuition
The inner Joe Biden is an idealist. He is sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. He wants a better world, people to get along. Intuition and Feeling paired together resonate with the themes of aggrieved parties who voice perceived injustice.
On his inside nature “Good Ole Joe” can empathize with the complaints of AOC, The Squad, and the revolutionaries within his party. And as an adaptable ESFP he is more likely to yield to these pressures.
Intuition and Feeling also plays a role in Biden’s personal story telling. They account for his “creativity” in remembering and telling these stories. For example, on visiting a Mack Truck plant, talking with workers he claimed, “I used to drive an 18-wheeler, man.” Fact Check. Apparently, he once rode in an 18-wheeler! There is an old account of Joe driving a school bus as a summer job, but there is no evidence of him being a “trucker”, not even for a day.
Embellishing on personal stories to make them more interesting and connecting better with his audience is a quite typical ESFP trait. For Biden the facts of his personal history are malleable in the interests of influencing others.
Putting an Extravert in a closet (or his basement).
Through most of his career, Biden was successful because he got out and connected directly with the voters. His home state, Delaware, is geographically the second smallest state (96 miles wide, 9 to 35 miles high). This small size facilitated being able to travel to and meet with people in every nock and cranny in the state.
Delaware’s population is a little short of one million people, but now as President his constituency is more than 330 million stretching over thousands of miles and across 50 states. It is physically impossible for him to have the kind of personal connection that enabled him to relate to and respond to his constituents.
Now Biden’s day to day contacts are political operatives and managers who filter and shape what he knows and guide his contacts and presentations. As the appointed leader of his political party he now, more than ever, has to accommodate to the radical element of his party whose message of grievances he has a natural sensitivity to. Being closeted in this Presidential bubble has made it difficult for him to maintain that reality-checking connection he used to have with the average person. People aren’t seeing the same “Good Ole Joe” they used to know.
Switching Gears from Performer to Promoter
Trump was able to successfully combine being a Promoter and a Performer. What Trump promoted was traditional American values and a rejuvenation of the American middle class. But some say the reason he lost the election was by being too much of a Performer, too much of an entertainer.
Biden is a natural Performer. But as the head of his political party and as the CEO of America, he is now in a new role, one that requires also being a Promoter. In that new role, he is facing new challenges.
Joe’s political party and the milieu that now surrounds him is captured by a pandemic of the mind that is eroding the capacity to think rationally. (See my article on Gad Saad’s book) In this environment, perceived injustice and people suffering is parlayed into opportunities for power and profit by elements in our society. A coalition of various victim groups and educational power structures have formed an effective core of the new Democratic party. In my view, this core represents the effect of Feeling nature dominating and corrupting Thinking nature. Thinking serves what Feeling decides.
Throughout his political career, Biden had effectively balanced his dual natures: the Inner Idealist with the Outer Pragmatist. This combination is typical of ESFPs and is why they are liked by many, if not most, people. Biden wouldn’t have won his office were it not for his “Good Ole Joe” persona that reflected a more balanced use of both Feeling and Thinking processes.
Unfortunately, due to the influence of his political operatives (and his physical and cognitive deterioration) Biden is losing his ESFP effectiveness to connect with a broad range of people.
By Ross Reinhold
Attempting to accurately type the personality of public figure based upon media information is ripe for mistakes. This article and others I’ve written that discuss the personality types of public figures are an educational exercise in understanding different aspects of personality type theory with a dash of entertainment thrown in to add some interest in the subject.
More Politics & Personality Type
- – Bernie Sanders – INFP – Mr. Rodgers morphs into the Social Justice Warrior.
- – Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton – comparing their contrasting styles and temperament.
- – Barack Obama INFJ and Mitt Romney ISTJ.
- – Multi-faceted nature of Hillary Clinton INTJ.
- – Politics and Personality Type links between our value priorities and our mental hard-wiring.
- – Hidden Faces of the 16 Types
Looking beyond the 4 MBTI letters to see the complete personality type . . . and the complete person!