By his reply to Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) with "I am not ready for your agenda either", Donald J. Trump solidified his presidential veneer as a hoax. The wedge has been slammed into the heart of the GOP, and it is all angst, fury, and flames from here on out. It seems impossible for the ego of Trump to be compliant, and he will suffer the the lack of support and unity from the very organization he has played to be its leader.
The Opinion Pages | CAMPAIGN STOPS
Trump Tries to Take it Back
Timothy Egan MAY 6, 2016
Regrets? Sinatra had a few, but no-ho-ho such thing for Donald J. Trump so far. Apologies? Not part of the brand. Did Mike Tyson apologize to the woman he was convicted of raping? Did Ku Klux Klan leaders say they were sorry for their endorsements after Trump said he'd be good for "the African-Americans?"
The rapist and the racists are all in with the man from Trump Tower, along with Ted Nugent. Nugent called President Obama "a subhuman mongrel" and suggested that he be lynched. "Trump is as close to Ted Nugent as you're going to get in politics," he said.
But some things have to be erased, and quickly. Etch A Sketch? That was Mitt Romney's plan. (Such a choker, Mitt.) For Trump, it'll be more like a remodel, get rid of the dirty carpet, the retro-without-being-camp décor, polish the edges. Soften. Less time with "Fox and Friends" and the conspiracy nut jobs on talk radio, and more time with "The View." Ladies — he adores 'em. The press will come to him on bended knee, as NBC News did this week in their pander-cast from Trump Tower.
Still, if you were disliked by two-thirds of American women, 73 percent of nonwhites, 70 percent of voters under age 35 and 67 percent of college graduates, you'd feel some urgency to dial back his inner Sarah Palin.
So we saw the man who killed the Party of Lincoln in all his babelicious-loving glory Tuesday night, the first of 188 days until the general election. He can't possibly take back everything. How do you replace xenophobia, racism, misogyny and factual malpractice with "we're going to love each other," as he said after winning Indiana?
Simple. Count on American amnesia, our opioid.
He started the take-it-back tour with Ted Cruz. Trump had linked the senator's father to the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. He'd insulted Ted's wife, implying that she was ugly. And he'd stuck a name on him that will follow him back to the Senate — Lyin' Ted Cruz. But as of this week forward, Senator Cruz is "one hell of a competitor," and Trump wishes nothing but the best for "Heidi and their whole beautiful family."
No take-back on the Kennedy thing, though. Trump read about it in The National Enquirer, so who you going to believe? Like those phantom thousands of Muslims cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers from New Jersey. "I'm just referring to an article that appeared," said Trump on Wednesday, about tying the elder Cruz to Lee Harvey Oswald. "I mean, it had nothing to do with me."
See, he's going to act presidential, as promised, but that doesn't include the temperament and judgment part of the act. It's beyond his range. Imagine Trump with the daily briefing in the White House, trying to discern a tabloid rumor from a national security threat.
An easy take-back was breaking the promise to self-finance his campaign. He claims to be a billionaire, beholden to no one. Let the beholding begin. "Do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund?" he said this week, by way of announcing he's open to donations from special interests. "I don't know that I want to do that personally."
Mexican immigrants — presumably still rapists and criminals in his mind, without doubt, but unlike the convicted rapist and registered sex offender Mike Tyson, not sold on Trump. On Tuesday, he promised he would have "unbelievably great relationships with the Hispanics." One bit of advice for "the Hispanics": When the deportation squad shows up on your doorstep on Day 1 of the Trump presidency, have your papers ready.
"The blacks," or as Trump now calls them, "the African-Americans," will be a hard sell as well. They will not forget that Trump spent considerable time trying to delegitimize the first African-American presidency. He sent his investigators to Hawaii, looking to prove that the president was not an American citizen. What they found was "absolutely unbelievable," Trump said, but he's never released it. Here you should read "unbelievable" in the literal sense.
Women — big, big problem there for a thrice-married man who said his personal Vietnam was keeping himself safe from the "scary world" of women with sexually transmitted diseases. Can't take back "fat pigs" and "dogs" and "disgusting animals," or musing about punishing women who get abortions. He could borrow the wife-beater refrain, make nice and say, "I love you, baby."
Young people. Most of them, like most scientists, understand that climate change is real, and don't want their children to face planetary fury. To Trump it's a hoax. Not everyone can seal themselves off from a world of rising seas and burning forests by retreating to a gold-lined biosphere.
Muslims, no reconciliation. There aren't enough Muslim voters for a take-back of Trump's plan to apply a religious test for entry into the country. He needs the hatred, as well. And in the same never category — George Will. Never. "He's a major loser," said Trump, in his triumphant week. "It's over for him, and I never want his support."
Donald Trump aids and abets violence.
- An American Story