Donald Trump is known for his spontaneous speechifying, for his spewing of populist rhetoric in boundless stream of consciousness. He’s also known for his loose pontifications, meandering demagoguery filled with insolence, ridicule and accusation, rife with malediction, derision and disparagement, bristling with hubris, racism and slander, festering with anger, intolerance and turmoil. For a year now the whole world has borne witness to it.
Suddenly, though, at a Trump rally in North Carolina on 8/18, hours after a dramatic change in Trump campaign leadership, the candidate gave a more disciplined, more cohesive and more presidential speech than he ever has before.
Can this speech, a drastic, opportune departure from the rabble-rousing tirades of his sordid past reflect a sudden transformation in Trump’s personal makeup? Has Donald Trump changed? Can a superficial reference to contrition by an erstwhile vicious and impenitent bully as atonement for a solid year of unbridled impudence, untoward antics and unspeakable slurs signal newfound grace, prove earnest if belated circumspection and remorse? I don’t see how.
Trump’s taken no late shocks to the system quite seismic enough to make the leopard change his spots. The old boar behind the more refined public speaking thrives unchanged, unrepentant, uninspired, untouched. I think Donald Trump has merely gone underground. He’s opted for the optics, nothing more. He’s chosen to conceal the ugly spots for just a moment. He’s decided to appear better groomed, let his questionable image (keyword image) be artificially spun into something better fit for broad consumption under the auspices of a new and ruthless force at the helm.
A quick image overhaul is not character evolution. A turn to diplomatic means is not a change of heart. Giving one professional speech all of a sudden does little to erase a whole year of ignoble sentiment. Tailoring a speech out of the blue to the druthers of true conservative voters can’t conceal the speaker’s proven identity. No amount of damage control can mend the tarnished image of a visible, now well-studied Donald Trump.
Steve Bannon can’t mask sufficiently the haughty, devious, overweening cad whom Trump remains and who, even if he doesn’t host personally the contagions of ethnic, religious and sexual bias, does to a large extent court, indulge, dispense and fan the flames of all these grievous wrongs.
Trump fuels that prejudicial anger and intolerance which is tantamount to hatred and violence. He does so quite consistently and effectively, not so much through open hate mongery as through more subtle weaponry like racist rhetoric, divisive solicitation, clear, emboldening innuendo and that omnipresent, inspirational, swaggering ascendancy of the outright, dyed-in-the wool supremist.
Donald Trump remains the very miscreant he was before his latest speech, the same vicious, vacuous, vituperative vipor, the same panderer to bigots and misogynists, elitists and xenophobes, the identical purveyor of doom, fear and slander that Donald Trump has always been. Guaranteed.
Unfortunately, narcissism, arrogance, ignorance, autocracy, recklessness, profanity and bigotry, vile traits, all traits intrinsic to this one specific rich, spoiled, dyed-in-the-wool, uniquely insular septuagenarian, won’t likely vanish overnight. Of course Trump has been admonished for them all and there’s a sage old adage that applies to this awkward circumstance, to wit: If three people say you’re sick, lie down. Trump never does lie down however. Instead he seems impervious to criticism of any kind or quantity.
Then again, the presidential hopeful neither sees nor acknowledges his own fatal flaws, lauding even negative commentary positive publicity. He’s out of touch and obstinate too. Indeed, the numb-nutted needler seems to sense little outside pressure to lie down, whatever staggering number of provident and well-meaning observers bid him kindly do so. Perhaps this unwavering obstinacy derives from Trump’s stubborn self image or a die-hard element of his obvious narcissism.
In any case, there’s wisdom in the adage and I sense that while he’s loath to lie down of his own volition, reckless Donald Trump will likely fall down instead and very soon, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. In the end it’s simple anyway, despite how tickled pink pundits are to harp on mere public image and the consequential need for phony speeches to promote it. It’s not just the speech but the man behind the speech who must prove presidential. Good luck with that one, Donny.
–♦©M. D. Phillips–awincingglare.com