First Trump walked back his immigration reversal from the debate (I discussed the original positions and the reversal here), without explanation or apology.
Yesterday he did the same with his statements during the debate on ordering the military to follow his illegal orders and having them obey because he’s a true leader (for example, to target the families of terrorists). This is another complete reversal within less than 24 hours, virtually unexplained. This is his specialty.
To get the flavor of the sort of mild excuse that Trump is offering for an error that was profoundly serious and from his own mouth, see this:
But in a statement Friday, Trump said that he understands “that the United States is bound by laws and treaties” and that he would “not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.”
He added, “I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”
…Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokeswoman, said the candidate had been misunderstood.
“He realized they took him literally, that’s why he put out the statement,” she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “What he’s saying is that he wants to go after them with the full force of everything we have.”
Neither the statement nor the campaign’s explanations were enough to quell the bipartisan uproar.
The lead Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said that while Trump “has now said he would obey the law, he has yet to specifically disavow torture or killing the families of our enemies.”
“Let’s be clear,” Schiff said in a statement Friday, “these are war crimes, no matter who is ordering them or carrying them out.”
“Misunderstand” my arse. “They took him literally” is now another way to say, “They listened to what he said and believed he meant it.” It is clear what is happening here. Trump said what he meant, got more negative response than he expected, and walked it back in order to soothe and placate.
It is also clear that his pattern indicates that everything he says is up for grabs, everything will be shamelessly adjusted and lied about, and most of his supporters will bend to whatever he says and to the revisions, just like the good little camp followers that they are. Two plus two equals five? Sure thing; no problem. Is it four today? Got it; spread the word.
I spent an hour or so this morning—an hour I’ll never get back—reading around on a bunch of blogs that have been taken over by Trump activists. I’ll save the question of who they are for another post, but suffice to say that it is repetitive, pile-driver stuff. They swarm, insult, and lie to and about anyone who disagrees, and they probably now account for at least 90% of the commenters on many blogs that used to feature a nice give and take of substantive comments on substantive issues. No more. Now it’s all invective, all the time, interspersed with cheerleading, excuses, and lies about both Trump and the candidates (and commenters) who oppose him.
As for Trump’s walkbacks from what he said during the primaries, the activist commenters aren’t even dealing with it for the most part; they’re just taking it in stride and mounting their usual attacks. But on other blogs where there are fewer of these activist and more of the less-activist (but still fervent) Trump supporters, the latter group of people are pretty much following these playbooks: “that’s what Trump meant in the first place” or “Trump corrected it, move on” or “there’s nothing wrong with either position of Trump’s.” It’s all nothing to them, and that’s because for most of them this isn’t really about Trump. It’s about getting even with the GOP.
As for me, as I’ve written many times before, I think that although nothing Trump says and no positions he takes are rock-solid and all should be regarded as mere poses, nevertheless the ones that mean the most of the ones that come straight from the unscripted horse’s mouth. Those represent his truest heart’s desire and his most basic intent, and they are consistently on the order of disregarding the Rule of Law and substituting the Rule of Trump.
[NOTE: Here’s an interesting piece by someone who’s known and worked with Trump over the years. It’s not directly related to the body of this post, but it seemed like as good as any a place to put it.)