Well, yeah, sure - now. Which Trump makes the mistake of saying here:
During [his daily slobberfest] on Fox and Friends on Friday morning, Trump clarified: “Look, anything I say right now — I’m not the president. Everything is a suggestion. No matter what you say, it is a suggestion.”…
True, Trump isn't POTUS, and he can't - yet - impose any of his bogus, loony-tunes "suggestions" on the country. But he's trying to become POTUS, and policy platforms are part of that process whereby vigilant voters can judge what he would do as POTUS. Or could if they could believe anything he says any further than they could throw him. Which circles us back around to that pesky tax return blockade again. The Trump "trust deficit," in other words, is YUUUUUUGE and it is debilitating.
But Allahpundit raises a very good question in this regard: Does a man whose candidacy is defined by bold, decisive, Green Lantern-esque authoritarian strongman-ism get to beg off of that schtick at the first sign of media pushback and challenge?:
[S]trongmen don’t get to make this argument. If some traditional politician stood up and said, “On my first day in office, I’ll propose a 10% across-the-board tax cut,” we’d all murmur “fine, fine” and move on. If Trump stood up and said, “On my first day in office, I’ll propose a border wall,” it’d sound ridiculous. You don’t back a heroic nationalist like Trump because you’re keen on his “proposals” being negotiated with Congress, you back him because you think he’s some sort of national savior who’s going to harness the people’s strength and force Congress to build that wall whether they want to or not. Can you imagine President Trump telling Chuck Schumer that it’s time for a wall, Schumer replying “nope,” and Trump turning to his base and saying, “I tried, I proposed it”? Either you’re an authoritarian or you’re a poseur. There’s no such thing as an authoritarian “proposal.”
That is the logic of Trumpism, folks. And Trumplicans don't get to have it both ways just because their memories are shorter than their hero's fingers. He can't be the avenging colossus they insist he is one moment and then be allowed to get away with lamely suggesting that even TrumpWall is just a "suggestion" the next. Nor do they get to dismiss it with the standard, "THAT's BS!!!" as though it never happened. Either Trump is Benito Mussolini or he's Bob Dole. Which is it?
The answer, of course, is both: He'd abuse power like Mussolini but for Dole-ish policy ends - if we were lucky.
Back to the WaPo story:
When it comes to the proposed ban on Muslims, Trump said on Fox News that he feels “very strongly that we have to find out what the problem is”....
We do? Isn't it kind of obvious? And isn't the Muslim ban supposed to be a response to it, not a canary in the coal mine fact-finding junket?
....and has tasked former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani with heading a small committee of “really stellar people” to study immigration issues and the proposed ban.
Why does TrumpWall now need a "committee" to "study" whether there's actually a need for it? Isn't shunting controversial issues off to "committees" and "commissions" a classic Washington insider means for ducking and burying them?
“No, I am not softening my stance at all, but I am always flexible on issues,” Trump said in the interview with Today. “I am totally flexible on very, very many issues, and I think you have to be that way. But I’m not softening my stance.” [emphasis added]
No, I am not softening my stance at all, but I am softening my stance on every issue, just like the "D.C. establishment" that I have just joined. Is there any other way to interpret that sentence?
Actually, there is: He never meant a word of any of the raving BS he force-fed his Kool Aid-swillers throughout the GOP primaries, and now that he has the GOP nomination in his grasp, he's coming right out and saying it. Just as I said he would.
The fog-pumping and smoke-blowing is wall-to-wall in TrumpWorld these days. Take his tax plan "flexibility", which has now reached a new level of calculated confusion:
After days of confusion over Donald J. Trump’s hints that he would change his tax plan to reduce its budget-busting "cost" and make it less generous to the "rich", his spokeswoman on Thursday sought to clear things up: He plans no changes, Hope Hicks said, and advisers who say otherwise do not speak for him.
One of those advisers, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, had his own response: “I’m a little bummed out if his spokeswoman says they’re not going to make any changes to the plan.”
Mr. Trump set off the speculation a week ago, shortly after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president, when he told the business cable network CNBC that his months-old tax plan was just a starting point for a final deal. As for his plan’s tilt toward the "rich" and "corporations", Trump said, “I am not necessarily a huge fan of that,” adding, “I am so much more into the middle class, who have just been absolutely forgotten in our country.”
Since then, he has vacillated on his intentions — repeatedly saying "wealthy" individuals and businesses would pay more taxes if he were president, and then clarifying that he means the "richest" taxpayers would pay more than under his original tax-cuts plan, but less than under current law.
Compounding the confusion, Politico reported on Wednesday that two informal advisers — Larry Kudlow, a CNBC host, and Mr. Moore, an economic commentator — said they were helping Trump at his request and had proposed changes to slash the plan’s 'cost" from $10 trillion in its first decade to $3.8 trillion. They attributed the estimate to the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. [emphases added]
Then for what in the blue hell did he enlist Kudlow and Moore in this masturbatory exercise? An anthropological experiment? The fiscal/economic equivalent of putting two chimpanzees in a room with two large, colorful buttons, one of which will get them a large, delicious banana and the other that will get each other's feces hurled at them, to see what would happen? Is this that already infamous "flexibility" he keeps touting?
Let me ask Trumplicans and #NeverHillary-ers again: Why is that a good thing? Donald Trump is seeking the presidency of the United States. Shouldn't voters know what he actually stands for across the issue board if he's demanding their votes? If y'all want to believe what you believe about him - which was not originally predicated on "suggestions" or "flexibility," but on bold, Green Lantern-esque, authoritarian declarations - don't you need more than just blind faith in and empty, wink-wink "trust me" assurances coming from somebody who has over the course of over three decades of public life proven himself uniquely and manifestly unworthy of such trust?
Trump is an ongoing, unending tsunami of bullshit, as his senior shoveler Barry Bennett went out of his way to helpfully confirm to CNN yesterday:
Donald Trump senior adviser Barry Bennett said the notion that the presumptive Republican nominee’s “words matter” was “ridiculous” in a combative exchange with Dan Senor Thursday on CNN.
Senor, a former adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, grinned when Barry Bennett uttered those words, calling that his favorite line of the 2016 campaign so far.
In an appearance on Erin Burnett’s Out Front, Bennett called Trump’s controversial proposals no different than “a suggestion to Congress.” Senor hit Bennett for Trump’s varying stances on numerous issues and wondered if any of his campaign promises, like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. or building a southern border wall, would ever come to fruition.
“Can be build it without Congress’ approval? No,” Bennett said. “So he has to persuade Congress to do it.”
“So we can now caveat every policy proposal as it’s just a suggestion,” Senor said.
“Dan, you’ve been around Washington long enough that it takes Congress to go along,” Bennett said. “All he can do is try to persuade Congress to go along with him. You know that as well as I do.”
“I do, but typically words matter when political leaders—” Senor said.
“Oh please, this ‘words matter’ stuff, I mean, this is ridiculous,” Bennett said. “You are looking desperately for a reason not to vote for him. I don’t care. Don’t vote for him.” [emphasis added]
Given the avalanche of reasons that Trump has been giving and continues to give us #NoneOfTheAbovers not to vote for him, I'd hardly call it a "desperate" search, Barry. But even if it was, you'd have just made it a lot easier.
But there you have it from Trump's Boss Hogg himself: The Donald's words do not matter. So precisely why should anybody listen to, much less vote for, him? After all, isn't the same thing pretty much true of Hillary Clinton?
Other than comic relief, that is:
WOLF BLITZER: Everyone knows by now he’s not a traditional political candidate, but he is seemingly softening his positions right now, now that he no longer has to worry about getting the Republican presidential nomination. Now he has to worry about a general election. He seems to be softening his position on some sensitive issues like the temporary ban on Muslims coming into the United States, he now says that’s a suggestion. He seems to be softening his position on tax policy. Is he now moving away from the right, shall we say, towards the center as he worries about the general election? Because that’s what regular politicians, as you know, do.
KATRINA PIERSON: No, not at all. What Trump is saying is that yes, all of his policies are suggestions, like any other candidate. We all recall that time when if you liked your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Guess what, that didn’t stay the policy. Trump is just being very honest with voters and he has not backpedaled, let me repeat this, he has not backpedaled on his Muslim ban. He said he would back off on it in an instant if things have taken place to where we could properly vet individuals. So this media outcry of how Trump has somehow backed off of his Muslim ban, I find quite absurd because that is just simply not the case. [emphases added]
Except, of course, that "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" was never a policy of ObamaCare, it was a total, blatant, horseshit lie. Which Miss Pierson seems to be quite transparently telling us here would continue to be the case with every pronouncement that would come out of a Trump White House.
You know how Trump keeps guaranteeing us that he will only hire "the best people"? If by "best" he means "drooling idiots," I'd say he's right on track.