A Tale of Two Donalds

 

trump two facesDonald Trump delivered two major speeches Wednesday, one in Mexico City and one in Phoenix. They might as well have been delivered by two different candidates.

Earlier in the day, Trump held a joint appearance with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in which the GOP nominee delivered a meek, conciliatory message stressing friendship. Trump spoke as much of Mexico’s need for job security and border enforcement as he did of America’s. He abandoned his threat to leave NAFTA, and instead proposed the countries work together to improve the trade agreement.

“A strong, prosperous, and vibrant Mexico is in the best interest of the United States,” Trump said. “Both of our countries will work together for mutual good and most importantly for the mutual good of our people.” He also stressed the importance of protecting manufacturing jobs not just in America, but throughout “our hemisphere.” Trump’s muted voice and bowed body language demonstrated even more contrition to the country he had spent a year inveighing against.

Pundits and journalists applauded the Mexico City speech as evidence of the heralded “Trump pivot.” He was kinder, gentler — presidential even. They should have resisted the “New Trump” reviews until more details trickled out of Los Pinos and until he spoke later that night. While standing next to the President of Mexico, Trump said that the two “didn’t discuss payment of the wall.” A couple of hours later, Peña Nieto said they had. “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump,” the Mexican President said, “I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”

Once he was safely back in the US, Old Trump was back. Before taking the stage, his supporters tossed slab after slab of red meat to the yelling crowd. Sheriff Joe Arpaio bragged about the illegals he’s locked up. Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions spoke angrily of our broken border while sporting “Make Mexico Great Again Also” hats. A parade of moms shared one by one how illegal immigrants “slaughtered” their family members while a dad noted how an illegal “shot my son in the face.”

By the time he took the stage, the crowd was hungry for an anti-Mexico stance and Trump delivered. Instead of the promised policy speech on immigration, it was another rally for his biggest fans. When in Mexico, Trump didn’t discuss payment of the wall, but in Phoenix he said, “Mexico will pay for the wall, believe me — 100 percent — they don’t know it yet, but they will pay for the wall.” He claimed President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” deportation plan didn’t go far enough. Trump promised he would deport 2 million criminal aliens on “day one, my first hour in office.”

He insisted “there will be no amnesty” and joked that his anti-immigration force might also deport Hillary Clinton. As part of Trump’s “extreme vetting” he now will require “an ideological certification” to ensure new immigrants are properly pro-American. The 74-minute speech ended with Trump calling the moms back to the stage so they could detail again how illegal immigrants killed their family members and publicly endorse the GOP nominee.

As I noted between the two speeches, if Trump played contrite in Mexico and bombastic in the US, it would make him look vacillating and weak. An actual tough guy will take on a skeptical audience as well as a supportive one. Even if the tone is different, he would communicate the same message to wildly different crowds.

Instead, we saw Trump pander to whichever audience he was with at the moment. In Mexico he was servile; in Arizona he swaggered. In Mexico, diplomacy; in Arizona, derision. Presidential when meeting a president; outrageous when meeting the outraged.

Which Trump will we get if he makes it to the White House? We just can’t know.

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  1. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jon, I totally disagree. Trump told Pena Nieto that NAFTA has been better for Mexico than for the US. How is that meek? And when did Trump ever threaten to pull out of NAFTA? I thought his whole thing was that he’s going to “renegotiate” trade deals? (Am I wrong?) I didn’t think he was meek. I thought he was polite. He was in Mexico, after all.

    How can you say that his speech tonight was not a policy speech? I thought it was very detailed for a campaign speech.

    I guess we just have different perspectives on today’s events. (Which is fine!)

    • #1
  2. Dad of Four Inactive
    Dad of Four
    @DadofFour

    So let me see if I understand your point.  A US politician in a international diplomatic situation focussed on the common areas of agreement when speaking with the international diplomat and then highlighted the differences in the understanding for their domestic audience.

    Wow, I guess this has never happened before in the history of the world.

    In the two speeches, the only actual difference that you cite is that the Mexican president stated that Mexico would not pay for the wall and Trump said that Mexicans will pay for the wall.  I know I am not very bright, but it seems to be that an agreement that Mexicans (and others) illegally in the US would pay for the wall via a tax on remittances would pretty neatly resolve the conundrum.  But of course, if they did discuss that as a potential solution and neither partly chose not to highlight that possibility today, then someone is lying.  Because again, talented diplomats never postpone the details of an agreement for a future time.

    Your other point seems to be that Trump is somehow obligated to always be over-the-top in his rhetoric or else he is inauthentic.  This is amusing given the multiple pundits swearing that he can never win because he is incapable of any thing other than simplistic over-the-top rhetoric.  So, he cannot win because he is too stupid to change his message based on his audience and if he does tailor the message to the audience, then he cannot win because he is vacillating and weak.

    Finally, in my listening to his Arizona speech, he did not vilify Mexicans or immigrants, he did lash out at repeat illegals who have committed crimes agains US citizens and the US officials who enabled this behavior.

    I know I may have missed something, so please let me know which of his words  contradict my interpretations.

    • #2
  3. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Trump wasn’t acting as a head of state in Mexico.  He had a substantive meeting wherein each was able to speak his mind, and they ended on a conciliatory and amicable note.  For a mere candidate, with no power, he handled himself well, made no stupid promises and most importantly showed that he has the gifts and cojones to deal at that level.

    In Arizona, he was talking to us.  Of course his tone is different!  He laid out a ten-point message about his precise stance on the major points of contention about immigration.  You say pander, I say well-directed at both a dangerous audience and then a captive audience.

    This day will go down in history marked as the day Trump began his ascendance to the presidency.  Hillary is wallowing in her goop: emails, foundation, Weiner, Huma, fatness, Hillary-ness, sickness, and she’s sticking close to her fainting couch.

    I can’t believe you can’t see the plain situation.  Folks have had it with the mendacity and self-serving antics of our overlords.  He is going to help us reclaim America.  Can you make one counterpoint to any of his specific proposals or comments?   Did you listen to his speeches today in their entirety?

    I’m more encouraged than ever about Trump’s prospects and his vision.  Landslide time.  Hitch your wagon now.

    • #3
  4. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Dad of Four:So let me see if I understand your point. A US politician in a international diplomatic situation focussed on the common areas of agreement when speaking with the international diplomat and then highlighted the differences in the understanding for their domestic audience.

    Wow, I guess this has n….his Arizona speech, he did not vilify Mexicans or immigrants, he did lash out at repeat illegals who have committed crimes agains US citizens and the US officials who enabled this behavior.

    I know I may have missed something, so please let me know which of his words contradict my interpretations.

    Spot on.

    • #4
  5. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Instead, we saw Trump pander to whichever audience he was with at the moment. In Mexico he was servile; in Arizona he swaggered. In Mexico, diplomacy; in Arizona, derision. Presidential when meeting a president; outrageous when meeting the outraged.

    Mr Gabriel, I cannot escape the conclusion that the exact same performance in a candidate you liked would be praised as flexibility, a great communicator, he knows how to read an audience and so forth.

    I heard no inconsistency between the two, but then again, I agreed with both speeches.

    • #5
  6. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    In 48 hours no one is going to remember the substance of either speech. All we’ll know is that Trump met with the President of Mexico and then delivered a “tough” speech on immigration.

    Trump wins this cycle.

    • #6
  7. KCrary Inactive
    KCrary
    @KCrary

    I’m reminded of how Arafat got away with delivering diametrically opposite messages to Arabs and to everyone else.

    • #7
  8. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    74 minutes…man I was going to listen to it myself but that is just too long. Especially if it is just the same old same old.

    • #8
  9. Clare Day Member
    Clare Day
    @ClareDay

    I watched and listened carefully to both the Mexico and Phoenix speeches start to finish. I don’t see two Donalds at all. I see one strong, smart, capable Trump and I feel increasing confidence that he will be President and that will be a good thing – maybe even a great thing – for our country.

    • #9
  10. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    As Guido has it:

    Trump discussed the wall, though not who is getting the bill for it. The liberal US media has flipped out; accusing the Donald of selling out by not causing a row at his first meeting with the Mexican government and then flipped to accusing him of doubling down on his tough “no amnesty” stance in a speech immediately afterwards in Arizona.

    I think this is one of Jon’s lamest hot takes yet.

    • #10
  11. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    What do you call a person who avoids confrontation in front of his avowed adversary and then uses fighting words when he is back safely in his bunker? He didn’t have the guts to tell Nieto to his face that he will pay for the wall because he felt insecure on Nieto’s home turf.

    Stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs and arms makes sense but Trump is not the guy to do it. Just as Perot made a lot of sense about the deficit in 1992 but someone else reduced the deficit. Trump like Perot deserves credit for making it a central issue in any case.

    • #11
  12. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Marion Evans:What do you call a person who avoids confrontation in front of his avowed adversary and then uses fighting words when he is back safely in his bunker? He didn’t have the guts to tell Nieto to his face that he will pay for the wall because he felt insecure on Nieto’s home turf.

    Stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs and arms makes sense but Trump is not the guy to do it. Just as Perot made a lot of sense about the deficit in 1992 but someone else reduced the deficit. Trump like Perot deserves credit for making it a central issue in any case.

    Might be worth remembering that he’s not the president, yet.  He has no authority or basis to tell Nieto any such thing.  This was a meeting to establish cordiality, a quality some lack.

    • #12
  13. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    I rose early today, anticipating a lively although somewhat predictable flood of comments about Trump after his masterful performance yesterday.   I watched both of his speeches in their entirety, although I didn’t cruise the web to learn the “real” meaning of what he actually stated in clear language.

    The Mexico visit was a bit of a gamble for Trump, but considering that his only goal could be establishing cordial relations with our neighbor, it was not as important to our nation as the Arizona speech.  But, by appearing with a friendly Nieto, he did defuse the bombast and lies about his supposed “racism”.

    I’m stunned to encounter near silence among the Ricochetti!  Is this due to a dwindling number of NeverTrump stalwarts, or due to the difficulty of renouncing what in my view was a coherent, ordered and powerful speech in Arizona?

    • #13
  14. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Jamie Lockett:In 48 hours no one is going to remember the substance of either speech. All we’ll know is that Trump met with the President of Mexico and then delivered a “tough” speech on immigration.

    Trump wins this cycle.

    I’ll remember, and so will many others desperate to hear someone powerfully advocating for our nation for a change.

    He will likely win the whole 2016 cycle if he continues this type of speech.

    Why the scare quotes around “tough”, Mr. Lockett?  I’d characterize it as bold and correct in its proposals, from the POV of many average citizens.  Can you please explain?

    • #14
  15. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Trinity Waters:

    Jamie Lockett:In 48 hours no one is going to remember the substance of either speech. All we’ll know is that Trump met with the President of Mexico and then delivered a “tough” speech on immigration.

    Trump wins this cycle.

    I’ll remember, and so will many others desperate to hear someone powerfully advocating for our nation for a change.

    He will likely win the whole 2016 cycle if he continues this type of speech.

    Why the scare quotes around “tough”, Mr. Lockett? I’d characterize it as bold and correct in its proposals, from the POV of many average citizens. Can you please explain?

    You’ve already forgotten that he didn’t talk about America but rather our “hemisphere”. The scare quotes are because of the typical Trumpian tone of his Phoenix speech – he said ridiculous things about what will happen on day one, or about how his wall will absolutely get built asap. No understanding of the buzzsaw in Congress that all of his best laid plans are going to run into. It makes him sound tough while ignoring reality – typical Trump.

    • #15
  16. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Trinity Waters:

    Marion Evans:What do you call a person who avoids confrontation in front of his avowed adversary and then uses fighting words when he is back safely in his bunker? He didn’t have the guts to tell Nieto to his face that he will pay for the wall because he felt insecure on Nieto’s home turf.

    Stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs and arms makes sense but Trump is not the guy to do it. Just as Perot made a lot of sense about the deficit in 1992 but someone else reduced the deficit. Trump like Perot deserves credit for making it a central issue in any case.

    Might be worth remembering that he’s not the president, yet. He has no authority or basis to tell Nieto any such thing. This was a meeting to establish cordiality, a quality some lack.

    Nice try. As president, he will have no authority to do a lot of things that he claims he will do. That is not holding him back in any way.

    • #16
  17. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    There are two Trumps because he is incredible.  Duh. Nobody else could have that kind of range.  Seriously. While that guy Exjon spends most days dribbling coffee down his beard while taking selfies, Trump has probably made another few million or otherwise done something terrific. Only a real loser could miss how incredible this performance is.

    • #17
  18. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:Once he was safely back in the US, Old Trump was back. Before taking the stage, his supporters tossed slab after slab of red meat to the yelling crowd. Sheriff Joe Arpaio bragged about the illegals he’s locked up. Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions spoke angrily of our broken border while sporting “Make Mexico Great Again Also” hats. A parade of moms shared one by one how illegal immigrants “slaughtered” their family members while a dad noted how an illegal “shot my son in the face.”

    By the time he took the stage, the crowd was hungry for an anti-Mexico stance and Trump delivered.

    You dare to trivialize the suffering of these parents as a mere “slab of red meat” meant simply to frenzy a crowd?  You dare to sneer at those who’ve lost children because of their government’s reckless disregard for their safety?

    What should parents call it besides “slaughtered”?  If the man’s son was shot in the face, why shouldn’t he describe it that way?  Because you are elevated and refined in your speech and manners, so then the hoi polloi must accommodate your exquisite linguistic sensibilities?

    That anyone would mock these parents is loathsome and despicable.  That Ricochet.com’s senior editor does so is both revolting and saddening for someone that’s long thought better of this community.

    • #18
  19. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jamie Lockett: You’ve already forgotten that he didn’t talk about America but rather our “hemisphere”.

    OK. You did not watch the press conference. Which is fine, you don’t have to watch it. But since you didn’t watch it, you should refrain from talking about it as if you know what you’re talking about.

    • #19
  20. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Max Ledoux:

    Jamie Lockett: You’ve already forgotten that he didn’t talk about America but rather our “hemisphere”.

    OK. You did not watch the press conference. Which is fine, you don’t have to watch it. But since you didn’t watch it, you should refrain from talking about it as if you know what you’re talking about.

    Actually I did and said as much in the Mexico thread. Do you deny that he shifted his rhetoric in Mexico? Do you deny that he spoke of keeping manufacturing jobs in our “hemisphere” instead of in the USA? You’re not entitled to your own facts, Max.

    • #20
  21. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Marion Evans: Stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs and arms makes sense but Trump is not the guy to do it.

    Who do you recommend instead?  Your choices are limited to 2016 Presidential candidates that are polling in double digits.

    This is the classic Washington dodge: it’s a good idea, but so-and-so isn’t the right person; it’s a good idea, but we don’t have a veto-proof majority; it’s a good idea, but we don’t have five votes at SCOTUS; it’s a good idea, but the President won’t sign it . . . and therefore we just have to accept the status quo and get on with it.

    Only the Left never accepts the status quo. They never wait.  They keep moving ahead while the center-right is busy finding the perfect person, getting the perfect majority, forming the perfect argument.

    So, yes, if Trump isn’t perfect we should wait until Perfect comes along.  Clinton heartily agrees with this brilliant strategy.

    • #21
  22. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    He talked about our hemisphere, which I thought was good. It was in the context of him saying that he loves America and Pena Nieta loves Mexico. He said NAFTA has been better for Mexico than for America and that he wants a better deal for America. He talked a lot about America. You said he “didn’t talk about America” and that is why I said you had not watched the conference.

    Here are some excerpts from the transcript of the press conference of Trump:

    “I was straight forward in presenting my views about the impacts of current trade and immigration policies on the United States.”

    “As you know, I love the United States very much and we want to make sure that the people of the United States are very well protected. You equally expressed your feelings and your love for Mexico.”

    “I shared my strong view that NAFTA has been a far greater benefit to Mexico than it has been to the United States and that it must be improved upon to make sure that workers, and so important, in both countries benefit from fair and reciprocal trade.”

    “Number five, keep manufacturing wealth in our hemisphere. When jobs leave Mexico, the U.S. or Central America and go over seas, it increases poverty and pressure on social services as well as pressures on cross border migration. Tremendous pressure. The bond between our two countries is deep and sincere. And both our nations benefit from a close and honest relationship between our two governments.”

    “Look, we want what’s good for the United States. And the President wants what’s best for Mexico and in sitting down and in talking, we both realized that we, realized this from the beginning, that it’s good for both of us. ”

    For you to claim that he “didn’t talk about America” is just false. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt and assumed you hadn’t watched the speech. If you say you did watch the speech, then I of course take you at your word. Your interpretation of the meaning of the phrase “talk about America” is clearly different than mine.

    • #22
  23. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Okay so I was glib and apologize, but the shift on his nationalism re: manufacturing was pronounced and absolutely stood out. Do you deny this?

    • #23
  24. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Let me put it this way: Trump has made a lot of noise about Carrier moving its manufacturing to Mexico – based on his speech yesterday I assume he no longer has a problem with that.

    • #24
  25. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jamie Lockett:Let me put it this way: Trump has made a lot of noise about Carrier moving its manufacturing to Mexico – based on his speech yesterday I assume he no longer has a problem with that.

    Why would you assume that?

    • #25
  26. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Max Ledoux:

    Jamie Lockett:Let me put it this way: Trump has made a lot of noise about Carrier moving its manufacturing to Mexico – based on his speech yesterday I assume he no longer has a problem with that.

    Why would you assume that?

    “In our hemisphere “

    • #26
  27. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Jamie Lockett:Let me put it this way: Trump has made a lot of noise about Carrier moving its manufacturing to Mexico – based on his speech yesterday I assume he no longer has a problem with that.

    Because if you don’t mention every issue in every speech, you’re a flip-flopper?  The speech was billed as about immigration and border security as opposed to the movement of jobs overseas due to poor trade deals and uncompetitive fiscal policies . . . suggests Carrier wasn’t the most likely topic to emerge.

    • #27
  28. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    HVTs:

    Jamie Lockett:Let me put it this way: Trump has made a lot of noise about Carrier moving its manufacturing to Mexico – based on his speech yesterday I assume he no longer has a problem with that.

    Because if you don’t mention every issue in every speech, you’re flip-flopper? The speech was billed as about immigration and border security as opposed to the movement of jobs overseas due to poor trade deals and uncompetitive fiscal policies . . . suggests Carrier wasn’t the most likely topic to emerge.

    Oh my dear sweet lord, some of you leave Chinese gymnasts to shame. Carrier has been the cornerstone of his discussions of American manufacturing fleeing to Mexico. He has shifted his rhetoric on this. An honest person admits when things change rather than twist themselves into Gordion Knots.

    • #28
  29. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jamie Lockett: An honest person admits when things change rather than twist themselves into Gordion Knots.

    And what does an honest man do when things don’t change?

    • #29
  30. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    It’s very clear that Trump prioritizes #1 America #2 our hemisphere.

    • #30

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