Thursday, May 05, 2016

The 'Whatever' Candidate

Politico notes that Donald Trump has named as his national finance chairman Steve Munchin who, after 17 years at Goldman Sachs

became founder, president and CEO of OneWest Bank Group LLC from 2009 to 2015, a bank backed by Soros and several other hedge fund managers and billionaires. The group sold the bank to CIT Group for $3.4 billion in a merger that was completed last August.

During his tenure at Goldman Sachs and beyond, Mnuchin contributed more than $7,000 to Clinton's New York Senate bids in 2000 and 2006 as well as her run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, according to federal contribution data on OpenSecrets. Mnuchin also donated $1,000 to Republican candidate Steve Forbes in June 1999, along with several other presidential and congressional candidates in both parties. Mnuchin contributed $2,000 to Barack Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and $2,300 for his presidential bid in 2007.

This is the guy who really wants to shake up the Establishment and smash politics as usual, just as he slammed Ted Cruz with "I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton."   Or as one of the fellows at Red State remarked, Mnuchin is "an interesting guy. Big Hollywood connections, big Wall Street resume, big money friends. You know, all the stuff that was bad bad bad but is now good good good because Trump says so."

We were warned it is an act.  On April 21, the AP reported that in a private briefing  "Donald Trump's chief lieutenants told skeptical Republican leaders Thursday that the GOP front-runner has been 'projecting an image' so far in the 2016 primary season and 'the part that he's been playing is now evolving' in a way that will improve his standing among general election voters."

He was putting us on as early as February 13 when he argued in debate in South Carolina "I'm the only one on this stage that said, "Do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq. Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong."  Or when one week earlier he had stated in a debate in North Carolina "And remember this, I’m the only one up here, when the war of Iraq — in Iraq, I was the one that said, “Don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East.' Nor on September 16, when he had claimed "I am the only person on this dais- the only person- that fought very, very hard against us (ph) and I wasn't a sitting politician going into Iraq, because I said going into Iraq- that was in 2003, you can check it out, check it out. I'll give you 25 different stories."

He, and his supporters, have given us zero (0)..  According to BuzzFeed, Trump was asked by Howard Stern on September 11, 2002 if he supported invading Iraq and replied "Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly."   In January, 2003 he decisively old Neil Cavuto the President "has either got to do something or not do something,"

On balance, the record indicates Trump appeared ambivalent about the war, a far cry from the guy who claims he foresaw "exactly what happened."

It's impossible to now for sure what Trump believes even about immigration, despite his radical and harsh rhetoric. In early January, he discussed immigration off-the-record with members of The New York Times editorial board and later refused to release the transcript. Gail Collins- in what is believed to have reflected contents of the chat- concluded "The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn’t believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you’re making a deal." On September 6, I had written

Clear, unambiguous, and definitive- or maybe not. Javier Palomerez, president and CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, appeared on Tuesday's All In With Chris Hayes.   When Palomerez stated "The Donald Trump that I met today and that I sat with today was very different from the Donald Trump that I saw in the media," Hayes asked "what do you mean by that?" and Palomerez responded

The Donald Trump I sat with today was hospitable, he was a gentleman. He listened much more than he spoke. He asked questions.

We continue to disagree, particularly on the wall. We agreed on this notion of mass deportation of 11 million people. And we continued to agree on the fact that we will not use Trump properties.

We agreed on this notion of mass deportation of 11 million people.  (Javier Palomerez doesn't want 11 people, let alone 11 million people, deported.)  If we don't know what Donald Trump's views are about immigration, we probably don't know what they are about anything- except himself. “He referred to my hands," Trump once boasted, "and said, ‘If they’re small, something else must be small,’ and I guarantee you there’s no problem. There’s no problem.”

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