It’s all about the deal

Had a great discussion about Trump with my wife on our Thanksgiving road trip yesterday.  I kept thinking back to this terrific Adam Davidson piece from May about how Trump’s “everything is a deal/negotiation” is an incredibly warped worldview for understanding politics.  This zero-sum game approach may work for Manhattan real estate transactions, but most definitely not for a national economy.  (And searching on Trump Zero Sum will lead to several other interesting commentaries along these lines).

So, I had this in mind when reading Charles Blow’s account of Trump’s recent NYT interview:

 At one point he said:

“I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.”

He ended the meeting by saying:

“I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along well.”

Blow’s reaction:

I will say proudly and happily that I was not present at this meeting. The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your “I hope we can all get along” plea: Never.

You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything — no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts — to satisfy your ambitions.

My thought– Trump will say anything.  This is the guy who’s been ranting and raving about the “failing New York Times” for month.  When he’s trying to curry favor with Republican base voters, the NYT is horrible.  When he’s trying to curry favor with the NYT, the NYT is a “jewel.”  When he’s trying to get elected, Obamacare will be completely repealed and 12 million illegal immigrants will be deported.  Once he’s elected and has an entirely different universe of considerations, the unpopular aspects of Obamacare will be repealed and only the criminal immigrants will be deported.

Winning the election was just one more deal, one more negotiation for Trump.  Saying “lock her up,” “build that wall,” the “failing New York Times,” etc., this was just like saying you wanted $50 million for a building when you were really hoping to get $30 million.  Trump was not really interested in any of these except insofar as they could help him win this particular negotiation, i.e., the election for president.  It worked.  And now that he’s got that, he can say whatever he thinks will help him with his next deal (being popular?), hence, the NYT is a “jewel” and we’re going to keep the popular parts of Obamacare.

In the end, it’s all just a deal.  And the American people are suckers.

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