Saturday, July 9, 2016

I'll let you know after it happens

Donald Drumpf the Pancake Führer. Painting by Dan Lacey.
Did you hear how Trump refuses to commit to serving as president should he get elected?

Presented in a recent interview with a scenario, floating around the political ether, in which the presumptive Republican nominee proves all the naysayers wrong, beats Hillary Clinton and wins the presidency, only to forgo the office as the ultimate walk-off winner, Mr. Trump flashed a mischievous smile.
“I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,” he said minutes before leaving his Trump Tower office to fly to a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
I don't see anybody taking this seriously (BooMan gives it a try, but not very hard), but I have the strangest sense he really means it, however trollish his smile may be.

This is because of something else that came out Thursday, not from him but from Paul Manafort, speaking with Howard Fineman at HuffPost about the importance of the vice-presidential selection. I like the way Cristiano Lima put it for Politico:
Trump isn't interested in playing a hands-on role in the White House, Manafort said — that's the job of the vice president.

“He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO," Manafort said. “There is a long list of who that person could be ... and every one of them has major problems.”
He might be willing to be the Head of State—like the president of Germany or the queen of England—but not the Head of Government. He'll fly around from photo op to photo op, taking meetings and looking at things, and perhaps relaxing at the local golf course, though it may be he doesn't like playing at courses he doesn't own. I don't see him making a lot of speeches—what would he have to say, once he's elected, other than that everything is fine now?—or phone calls with his fellow leaders at home and abroad. He doesn't like the constraints of doing these things properly, reading from the TelePrompTer or submitting to direction. He doesn't have the obedience training of a Ronald Reagan. He'll spend a lot of time on the Twitter denouncing his critics, of course.

It doesn't make the prospect of a Trump presidency any less dangerous. As Steve M keeps telling us, he'd sign every piece-of-shit legislation a Republican Congress handed him; and you can imagine how much he'd enjoy announcing that it's the best, classiest legislation that's ever been seen, completely unlike the loser legislation you get from most administrations. He'd also give plenty of opportunity for the development of court cabals, kitchen cabinets, secret government in the hands of a chief of staff Manafort or vice president Gingrich or acting first lady Ivanka.

What he won't do is make any focused attempt to keep any of those "promises". No nukes for Saudi Arabia and Japan, no torture, no renegotiated NAFTA, no replacement of Obamacare, no deportations, no Wall. That's not why he says those things. He can't even be sure he's going to take that oath. Like Ben and Lauren might never get married. What he wants to do is to be acclaimed the winner in this most magnificent of all semi-scripted TV shows. He has no further plans.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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