Who’s the real Donald Trump? (Hint: there IS no real Donald Trump)

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What you have to understand about the real Donald Trump is that there is no real Donald Trump.  There is only an ever-shifting series of fictional Trumps, a mere suggestion of an actual Trump, as he might put it.

For example, the entity known as Trump has repeatedly claimed credit for having opposed the invasion of Iraq, supposedly warning that it would lead to a quagmire and disrupt the entire Middle East. However, as someone who was vocally making that very argument at that time, I don’t remember this Trump anywhere in the debate.

Given that opposition to invasion was pretty controversial and unpopular at the time, and given Trump’s affinity for and access to the microphone, there would of course be a substantial record of him taking such a position. There is none. Only years later, after it was too late and the disaster of the invasion had already become clear, did he speak up to criticize it.

This morning on “Morning Joe”, Trump took on yet another guise, saying that he also would never have gotten involved militarily in Libya or Syria. “I would have stayed out of Libya, yeah. I would have stayed out of Iraq too,” he said.

“So there are a lot of people who say you have inconsistent foreign policy, but it sounds consistent here as far as what you’ve said this morning,” host Joe Scarborough said in trying to summarize the Trump position. “You wouldn’t have gone into Libya. You wouldn’t have gone into Iraq. You wouldn’t go into Syria. You wouldn’t have fought Assad.”

“Right,” Trump said. “But I’ll go after ISIS big-league.”

So my question is, who the hell is this guy?

Whoever he is, he’s a man with a plan.

“We should immediately go into Libya, we should knock this guy (Gaddafi) out, very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives. After it’s all done, we go to the protesters who end up running the country, they’re going to like us a lot better than they will if we don’t do it … and then we should say, by the way, out of all of your oil, we want reimbursement.”

It seems to me that we have two possibilities as to this person’s identity, depending on which universe that you care to occupy:

1.) This could be video of the elusive and mysterious John Miller, that public-relations guy who once served as Trump’s personal sexual-conquest braggart, but who has since disappeared from the planet, leaving no trace of his existence. If so, we can expect that Trump will be out with a statement soon explaining that the guy in the above video — shot in Trump’s office, and released in 2011 by Trump’s organization — doesn’t actually look or sound anything like Trump, and all of Trump’s supporters will nod their heads in agreement.

“Nope, doesn’t look a bit like him.”

2.) This is Donald Trump in all his irrationality, inconsistency, unstable and simplistic self, the Trump that Republicans want to install in the Oval Office within reach of the nuclear button, the Trump who is already alienating Great Britain, Mexico and other countries, the Trump who just yesterday brushed aside concerns about his trade policy with a shrug, saying “who the hell cares if we start a trade war”?

Which is the real Donald Trump? Again, there is no real Donald Trump. There is only the Trump as you want him to be at that moment, and he can be an entirely different Trump at the next moment, should you so desire it.

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UPDATE (posted at 10:50 am):

OK, let’s deal with this false equivalence that some people attempt to draw between Trump and Clinton on the question of authenticity and shifting of positions.

1.) We all change our minds from time to time, or at least should. As John Maynard Keynes famously put it, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

2.) Politicians, more than most of us, also change their minds to better suit the public mood. To some degree it’s a professional necessity, and if you’ve been in public life for 35 or 40 years, as Clinton has, you inevitably build a record of such changes.

3.) With all that said, Clinton has a disconcerting instinct to find the middle ground of any argument and establish herself there, leaving you to wonder where she really stands. She has also shown an instinct to exaggerate or mislead at times. It’s one of the reasons that I did not vote for her in 2008. That, and her Iraq vote.

4.) With all that said, the idea that the above is somehow equivalent to Trump’s ability to shift 180 degrees in a few seconds time and then deny to your face that he has done so, to create false personas, to dismiss his own own extreme shape-shifting on the premise that everything he says is a mere suggestion — that’s lunacy, people. Clinton’s duplicity is nowhere near the scale of Trump’s duplicity on almost everything that he has ever said and done. He tells more documentable lies before noon than most people do in a decade.

Claiming an equivalence between the two is the kind of irrational refuge sought by people too afraid to make an actual choice, too caught up in the beauty of their own pristine neutrality to soil themselves in the reality that politics is always — ALWAYS — a choice between two flawed individuals. Declining to choose does not make you morally superior. It kind of makes you a coward.

 

Reader Comments 0

2012 comments
Corey
Corey

As Wendell Pierce so eloquently tweeted, "If every Black male 18-35 applied for a conceal & carry permit, and then joined the NRA, in one day there would be gun control laws in a second."

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

Looks like just another day of 'our politicians don't suck as bad as your politicians'. 'So there!'  LOL


Good morning y'all.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

The Church of Lucifer opens for (Tax-free!) business in Texas today! Congratulations cons! And they're gonna have soo much freedum, they'll be sellin surplus freedum on eBay! Great job, again cons! no really

Peachs
Peachs

Reagan was pretty much a fake too!

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

WaPo:

"Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a new Washington Post poll that shows how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team’s moniker."

All together now!

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Vic-tor-eeee.

Braves on the warpath.

Fight for ol' Dee-Cee!

foo2u
foo2u

@Philo_Farnsworth 1 out of 1 old Philos loves them some strapping young lads in their tight football pants...

Derp...

honested
honested

@Philo_Farnsworth 

It's a good thing our perpetually losing baseball team has become the "Cobb County Crackers" and will soon free up some prime real estate downtown for useful activities.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@Philo_Farnsworth ok, i'll explain this once. 

Braves = cool w/me, 'cause 'brave' is a compliment

Redskins = cool w/me, because i don't think there's malice in it. However, some natives (how bout that, we're not all the same) don't like the reference to the time when there was a bounty on us, and you only got paid if you brought in a 'red skin' - yeah, that's pretty offensive, if your heart's in it. But as i said, i don't think there's any malice in it today. And truthfully, we don't go through the day just thinkin bout stuff like this - we're too busy watching you and goin 'what-the-actual-f*^?'

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Hillary has "re-fashioned" herself so many times you need the official scorebook to keep track. 

Peachs
Peachs

And read my lips Bush!

Peachs
Peachs

Reagan brought celebrity to the White House, and also with the for the first divorced president to serve!

rimsky
rimsky

@DownInAlbany Even the moron Raygun changed mind on taxes.  First he lowered it  and then next he lowered it.

He did "re-fashioned" himself.  

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@rimsky @DownInAlbany I like the way you think "Raygun" is a moron, yet there is a good chance that arent smart enough to become a millionaire or POTUS, and he did both. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@rimsky @DownInAlbany You may as well face it.  People do not like Hillary.  And, it's not hard to find a good reason.  (see Jay's #3 above).

rimsky
rimsky

@DownInAlbany @rimsky A lot of people like her and she will be a good and with a D Congress will be an excellent President.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Peachs When facts change, I tend to change my mind.  What do you do, in that case?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@InTheMiddle2 @Peachs 

During the campaign, Bush said, "Read my lips - no new taxes." 

Mondale said something like, "If elected, I will raise taxes.  If elected, Bush will raise taxes.  He won't tell you.  I just did." 

Bush deserved what he got for that - he was apparently too dumb to know that taxes would have to be raised.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@DownInAlbany @Peachs 

At the top of this thread, you excoriate Clinton for changing positions over 25 years. 

Now you're saying she did the right thing.

foo2u
foo2u

@InTheMiddle2 @foo2u @rimsky @DownInAlbany You know this how?

Never gave it much thought actually... I've accomplished all I've ever wanted to accomplish, and my life is pretty good. I don't lust for the lives of others... like you.

I can tell you this. I've never consorted with the enemy or sold them weapons in direct violation of the law.

Peachs
Peachs

That would explain your party's support of Trump!

I mean you totally changed your mind from a Christian family value guy to one the biggest hoods in America. I totally see what you're talking about now.

foo2u
foo2u

@Peachs This IS the party that put the speakership of the house in the hands of a child diddler...

honested
honested

@InTheMiddle2 @Peachs 

How did the 'Dems' do that?

The 'Dems' were happy to see a President facing reality and raising the revenue necessary to do so.


Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Peachs Reagan supported the union when it was to his benefit, and then turned around and stabbed the unions in the back, when it was politically expedient.

Peachs
Peachs

So let's support Frank Sinatra without the voice!

honested
honested

@InTheMiddle2 @foo2u @rimsky @DownInAlbany 

ray-gun proved that there is always a contingent of fools who can be deluded into voting for anyone.

We can only hope chump will prove that contingent has shrunk below critical mass in the total population.

foo2u
foo2u

@honested @InTheMiddle2 @foo2u @rimsky @DownInAlbany Drumpf has proven that rubes will buy anything that confirms their conformation bias.

We've moved beyond simply promising things that are politically unachievable, to just outright lying about things that realistically can't be done with the Drumpf campaign...