What is going on in the mind of Donald J Trump? I’m not talking about the question of true mental illness – I’ll leave that to medical professionals. But no matter what the cause, why does he say things that contradict himself?
Lying is one thing. And switching positions for political advantage is another thing. Both, perhaps, to one degree or another reprehensible but understandable.
But simply contradicting oneself is strange. Trump fights many demons but battling himself is difficult to understand
At the weekend event which saw five former presidents band together to raise funds for hurricane relief, Trump in a video tape called them “some of America’s finest public servants.”
What? Trump says Barack Obama is one of Americans finest public servants?
Are you laughing or crying?
Why, Trump has attacked each one of them. He has taken major swipes at Bill Clinton and George W Bush but particularly at Barack Obama – Obama in extreme language that continues to this day.
Well, you say, this hurricane relief event was no place to surface criticism but to praise his predecessors efforts on behalf of hurricane victims. True enough.
But before I show you the way it can be done without looking like a fool or cause someone to ask what is going on in your mind, let’s examine the most egregious example of Trump contradicting Trump.
It occurred on election night, 2016.
The 2016, Presidential campaign was the dirtiest, slimiest campaign in modern times thanks to the tactics and language delivered by Donald J trump and his merry band of thugs and enablers. He said his opponent was not only unqualified to be president, but was a criminal who should be locked up. In fact, he told Hillary Clinton in their second televised debate that if he were in charge of the law, “You’d be in jail.”
Yet, on election night Trump said this:
“I just received a call from Secretary Clinton.
She congratulated us — it’s about us — on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she — she fought very hard.”
So far, so good, a gracious response to his opponent’s concession call.
But there was more. I’m sure you recall what he said next.
“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
I mean that very sincerely.”
I jumped up from my chair and yelled in my most sarcastic tone of voice “What, you mean you don’t want to lock her up? You fraud, you despicable man, ( I went on for another few words but as I promised, I am not going to call people vulgar names in my blogs so I dare not repeat what I said further).”
In Trump’s mind, which is she – a criminal who should be locked up or someone owed a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country?
The mind reels: To the stockade for you, George Washington! But go there with our profound thanks for beating the British and making it possible for us to have our own country.
Guard, twenty lashes for “crooked George.”
Now, is all this Trump vs. Trump something we can just put down to being “gracious?”
I’ll show you how that can be done but without a contradiction.
The presidential campaign of 1980, was hard fought between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, each saying in many ways that the other was unqualified to lead the nation (although never with the gutter tactics and language of 2016).
And we reporters who covered that campaign can tell you they truly did not “like” each other (I traveled with Carter as the White House correspondent for ABC News).
But when Jimmy Carter’s presidential library was dedicated, Reagan in the tradition of president’s attending their predecessor’s library dedication came and spoke.
He praised Carter for his humanitarian efforts, concluding his speech by telling Carter: “For myself, I can pay you no higher honor than to say simply this: You gave of yourself to your country, gracing the White House with your passionate intellect and commitment.”
Reagan took back none of his former criticism but found ways to sincerely honor Carter.
But Carter “stole the show” when in thanking Reagan, he said “As I listened to you talk, I understood more clearly than I ever did in my life why you won in 1980 and I lost.”
Two gentlemen, gracious as the occasion demanded, but true to themselves.
Of course, Trump is no gentleman and is true to himself only in that he thinks only of himself. But that brings me around to the question I asked in the beginning – What is going on in the mind of Donald J Trump?
When he lies, he lies and certainly knows it (barring mental illness).
He believes as he has said that he could shoot someone and never lose a single vote. His voters don’t know or don’t care that he lies.
They love it when he sticks his finger in the eyes of the “elites,” when he talks tough, threatens to destroy another Country and its twenty five million inhabitants and particularly when he denounces the main stream media as dispensing ‘fake news”.
After all, the hard core who stomped and yelled when he cried “lock her up” and pulled the lever on election day do not yet know or cannot yet admit they were chumps, taken by a reality-star con man. They’ll learn but not yet
My answer to the question posed is that when he contradicts himself he doesn’t realize it. He doesn’t think things through (surprise, surprise) but says whatever comes to his mind at the moment, often driven by an outburst of emotion. That he contradicts himself causes him no embarrassment because he doesn’t realize he’s done it.
Trump may not care that if he shoots someone else he won’t lose a single vote.
But when you shoot yourself, Donald, do you care about what you lose then?