Trump’s hyper-rhetorically fueled schemes to take America backward have already hit it a wall, and it’s not a wall Trump built on the Mexican border. It’s a wall Trump ignored throughout his campaign. It’s called the wall of reality. Suddenly, the Trump campaign has collided head-on with the reality of governing. Trump voiced the most outrageous schemes during the campaign. Now in the bright light of governing, some of Trump’s wacky, dangerous and confusing proposals are coming under intense scrutiny.
This doesn’t suggest he is any less dangerous, but it does suggest there may be limits of rationality and practicality that will restrain his more radical proposals. It’s only been three weeks since the election, and he’s quickly backtracking on some of his most outrageous campaign proposals. The question many observers are asking is how will his supporters react to his flip-flops and are they real?
Is he just moderating his rhetoric or is this really what he believes? Some Democrats are saying that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Others are saying we must fight him. The question is, who is the real Donald Trump? Does he have any strongly held positions, or is it all a game with his only goal of promoting the Trump brand?
He said during the campaign that he would follow through on his supporters’ frequent rally chants of “lock her up.” In the October 10th debate he stated unequivocally, “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there have never been so many lies, so much deception.” He promised she would be in jail if he became president.
Suddenly on November 22, MSNBC reported that the Trump campaign won’t pursue charges against Clinton. Trump was quoted as saying she “had been through enough.” Later in the day Trump met with the New York Times’ reporters and editors and said, “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t.”
He has backtracked on repealing Obamacare saying that, after talking with President Obama, he wants to keep the more popular features. He now claims to have an open mind on climate change and he has discovered a new understanding of torture. His campaign says the great big beautiful wall on the border with Mexico may now be just a fence in places.
Perhaps the most notable change was his new appreciation for the New York Times. He had referred to the paper a number of times during the campaign as the “failing New York Times.” In the meeting he labeled it as, “a great, great American jewel, world jewel.” However, he still complained to them about how the paper had been “too tough” on him during the campaign.
On the subject of possible conflicts of interest in regard to his business empire, he said, “The president of the United States is allowed to have whatever conflicts he or she wants, but I don’t want to do that.” He denied that he would be subject to federal anti-nepotism laws. In the interview with former Congressman Smith in yesterday’s Iowa Daily Democrat, Smith made it clear that Trump is bound by the law. Since Smith authored the law he is probably a better source to interpret it correctly rather than Trump.
It must have been surprising when Trump told the New York Times meeting participants that he hoped to build a great long term relationship with President Obama. “I really liked him a lot, and I am a little bit surprised that I am telling you that I really liked him a lot,” he said. Imagine Obama’s surprise to hear that the man who spent years denying Obama’s birth certificate suddenly “likes him a lot.”
Trump’s final fiction in the New York Times meeting was his defense of Steve Bannon, the former Brietbart publisher. He defended Brietbart by comparing it to the New York Times, just more conservative. Bannon has called Brietbart a “platform for the Alt-right.” Readers should translate Bannon’s statement to mean Breitbart is a platform for the white nationalist movement.
Should Democrats feel some relief that Trump may have backtracked on some of his more outrageous campaign statements? Based on Trump’s history and his unpredictability, both Democrats and Republicans should be nervous. Who can guess what his policy positions will be? What we do know is he is surrounding himself with extreme ideologues. In addition, we know he is lazy (he refuses to attend daily security briefings), he doesn’t like dealing with details and he doesn’t like to read. That certainly suggests his cabinet and staff will be on their own creating policy. It will likely be a tug of war between his two top staffers, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.
His other picks should leave no question that he hasn’t moderated at all. His military choices suggest a trigger happy foreign policy. His environmental choice denies climate change and his education choice doesn’t support public schools. We may not know who Donald Trump is but we can be certain of who and what his cabinet choices represent.
Good luck America. It’s going to be ugly!
by Rick Smith