I watched his speech, I read about his press conference and I read the transcript of his interview at the Post. What those events demonstrated to me is that Donald Trump is the exact opposite of what he claims to be. He says he’s not a politician but he certainly is, in the worst, cynical sense.
His speech was probably the best example. He belittles others for using a teleprompter but even Donald Trump realized this was an important speech, so he had one so he could deliver the messages he wanted to deliver. His very first line was that he didn’t come to pander to the Jewish audience. He then spent the next 20 minutes pandering to the Jewish audience, hitting every point in pretty much the exact tone the audience wanted to hear. So much so that he was interrupted many times not by protestors but by applause. He abandoned his previous position – that he would be neutral on Israel – and said clearly he was not neutral on Israel that Israel was our greatest ally in the Middle East and America would remain in lockstep with Israel. He never mentioned cutting back on the assistance Israel received from the U.S. government. Never one thing that would offend the audience.
His interview with the editorial board demonstrated his lack of depth of knowledge in all issues, including his poll numbers. He claimed his approval among Hispanics is positive when the dead opposite is true in every poll I’ve seen. He backed off his boast to change the libel laws so he could successfully sue the media, and he denied that he offered to pay the legal expenses for that brave supporter who sucker-punched a protestor who was being escorted out of a rally by law enforcement. He named a few of his foreign policy advisors for the first time. Most of those he named were contacted after and confirmed they were advising him, but hadn’t yet had a conversation with him.
He spent the first few minutes of his hour with the paper’s top editors and writers bragging about the hotel he’s building in D.C. Don’t take my word for it, I encourage you to read the transcript yourself (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/03/21/a-transcript-of-donald-trumps-meeting-with-the-washington-post-editorial-board/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory) . Without the use of a teleprompter in the interview, he became The Donald he is in his rallies – spouting the same lines, not being specific about how he would accomplish what he’s promising, thundering about making America great again, backing off his threat to change the country’s libel laws so he could more easily successfully sue the media and denying much of what he’s been caught saying on video for the last few months.
Oh, and he ended his visit to the Post by hitting on one of the female reporters in attendance, according to the New York Times and a blog post by the reporter herself, calling her “beautiful.”
His press conference was pure Marketer Donald. He pointed to the fabulous marble floors that will be installed, bragged about how the hotel will open ahead of schedule and under budget, and led the press on a tour of the work in progress. The cheapest rooms will be $750 a night, not exactly priced for the very same people who have voted for him and made him the leader for the nomination and the political story of the century. Another presidential moment – hawking his business venture while the nation’s press, covering a presidential candidate, followed him around, not unlike when he put his (publicly discontinued) product lines on exhibit in Florida recently.
I do not believe, despite his promises to ban a religious group from this country, his horrible comments about blacks, Jews, women and the disabled, that Trump is the new Hitler. I think Trump is the new Barnum. A carnival barker who can coax you into buying a ticket into the freak show and will say whatever he has to to make the sale.
He is one thing in the GOP primary and he will be another thing in the general election, assuming he’s the candidate. The problem is, once you win the election as Robert Redford learned in the movie The Candidate, you have to figure out what to do to govern.
If that moment should ever occur, both Donald Trump and the American population will be asking, “What do we do now?”