“Watching the video, it’s hard not to get the impression that Trump almost certainly hasn’t read the Bible; he probably doesn’t have a favorite verse; and the GOP White House hopeful has no idea what the differences are between the Old and New Testaments.”
Uh … ya think?
The thing is that Donald Trump is clearly pulling a really simple sales bit; indeed, as annoying as we might find the man, we might also sympathize with the part of him that wrestles with the question of whether or not he believes they’re really gobbling it up like this.
That is to say, Mr. Trump is performing approximately a thumbnail sketch of how to pitch an important deal, and so far that has been sufficient to build a strong lead in the polling. Still, though, Benen’s narrative reminds of the credibility Trump supporters give their man. Consider Michael Daly’s account of a labor lawsuit involving Donald Trump and undocumented immigrants:
Trump took the stand, even back in those days sporting a red “power” tie, blue pinstriped suit, and that hair. He told the court that he almost certainly did not speak to the laborers, in part because he was fearful of venturing into so dangerous a workplace.
“I tend not to walk into buildings under demolition,” Trump said. “You have to be very brave to be in a building under demolition. I’m not sure I’m that brave.”
He added that he had no need to visit the site because “You can see it from a block away.”
He further testified that in any event he could not remember ever speaking to any of the workers or even being aware there were Polish workers on the site.
“When did you learn Polish workers were on the job?” he was asked by his lawyer, Milton Gould.
“Probably sometime after the demolition,” Trump replied.
“Did it ever occur to you that they were illegal?” Gould inquired.
“It was never proven to me that they were illegal,” said the developer, adding that he only heard that they might not be in the country legally “sometime after the demolition work.”
At one point, he allowed that he had become aware that there were undocumented workers there, but only late in the project.
“Probably after the demolition,” he said.
He apparently was referring to having retained the contractor who hired the Polish Brigade when he said, “I can make mistakes. This was a mistake.”
Notice that Mr. Trump never says anything definitive; this is part of his perpetual sales pitch. And that device, in turn, is also in play as he works the evangelical crowd. For his part, Steve Benen notes:
I’ve seen some suggestions this week that the questions might have been inappropriate, since it’s arguably unfair to press candidates for public office on personal matters of faith. But in this case, Trump has personally boasted, several times, about his great affection for the Bible. Given his posturing, there’s nothing wrong with an interviewer probing the details of an issue the candidate himself has repeatedly emphasized.
Indeed, after talking about scripture in recent weeks, shouldn’t Trump have realized that someone would eventually ask a question or two about this? The best answer he could come up with is that the Bible is deeply private for him, except for all the times he brags about his love for the book in public?
And one possible answer is to wonder why Mr. Trump would prepare for the question, since thumbnailing his way through it seems to be working, anyway.
This is the art of the Trump.
Benen, Steve. “This Week in God, 8.29.15”. msnbc. 29 August 2015.
Daly, Michael. “Trump Tower Was Built on Undocumented Immigrants’ Backs”. The Daily Beast. 8 July 2015.