Any day now, Donald Trump may walk back his Monday call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” If so, he won’t change his mind because he regrets insulting Muslim Americans — no small number of whom, unlike Trump, have served in the military -- or because his rhetoric threatens to isolate this country when it needs allies, especially in the Middle East. He’ll change his mind because he never really means anything he says.
Trump doesn’t even mean it when he gives his word in writing. Remember when The Donald signed a pledge in September not to run as an independent candidate if he fails to win the Republican nomination? The pledge did not equivocate. No worries. By November, the billionaire scion was inching away from that pledge and hinting that it would apply only if the party were to treat him “fairly.”
His followers think it’s just ducky that he will say anything and isn’t constrained by such hindrances as accuracy. It’s clear that Trump never saw thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrating when the World Trade Center towers fell on 9/11 as he claimed last month. They revel in his cheek. There’s some truth somewhere behind his lies — and that is good enough for them.
I know that my reward for writing this column will be emails from Trump groupies who will call me a RINO — a Republican in name only — while extolling Trump as the real deal. They either do not know or do not care that over the past two decades, Trump has been registered as a Democrat, as a Republican and with the Independence Party. In 2009, when he was in his 60s, Trump switched his registration from the Democratic Party to the GOP.
It won’t matter that unlike Trump, I never gave a dime to a Hillary Clinton campaign. I never gave a dime to the Clinton Foundation. Trump has given at least $100,000. In the 2006 election, Politico reported, Trump donated $5,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The National Republican Senatorial Committee got a modest $1,000. Only after The Washington Post did an analysis of Trump’s campaign contributions — and found that most of his donations had gone to Democrats — did Trump start giving more money to GOP campaigns.
In 2011, Trump gave $5,000 to the campaign of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who had been a fierce supporter of San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy. In 2013, he gave her another $1,000. In 2015, he says that he wants to build a wall across the Mexican border and that Mexico will pay for it.
The Islamic State group has triggered a diaspora from Iraq and Syria and ignited Islamic radicalism within the United States. Every minute that the news media focus on Trump’s latest episode of verbal diarrhea is a minute not spent reporting on Syria and the San Bernardino , terrorist attack — life-and-death stories.
GOP rivals have been slow to slam Trump for his scurrilous statements, lest they offend Trump’s cult-like followers. Clinton, who attended Trump’s 2005 wedding, will have no such qualms.