What’s Going On
When will we learn?
Republicans, Democrats, members of the media, and many American citizens in general were shocked and appalled this week by Donald Trump’s press conference in which he supported a dictator and enemy of this country while discrediting his own intelligence officials.
In the ensuing aftermath, numerous questions have surfaced as to what motivated President Trump to seemingly throw his fellow countrymen under the proverbial bus. Do the Russians have dirt on him? Is he a secret agent? Is he losing his mind? Is he a traitor?
Frequently, the answer to the most complex questions is the simplest one, and this is no exception.
Simply stated, Donald Trump doesn’t recognize the importance of the words he uses.
Most people realize the words we choose to express our thoughts matter. Donald Trump is a lot of things; like most people isn’t one of them.
Donald Trump didn’t consider the impact of his words when he joked about grabbing women by the you know what. Or when he encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies. Or when he defended white supremacists at a rally in Charlotte. Or when he called third world countries sh*tholes. Or when he criticized John McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War. Or when he calls the media an enemy of the people.
Donald Trump never has, nor ever will, selectively choose the language he uses and how it might impact those around him. He either is oblivious or just doesn’t care. I’m betting more on the latter as he seems to relish in shocking people.
So when he stood in front of the world and defended Vladimir Putin while criticizing his own country, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. This is what he does. He makes an outlandish statement and lets his subordinates conduct damage control later.
And in the grand scheme, I’m not convinced what Donald Trump says really matters much. Initially, I too was appalled by his coddling of Putin and reluctance to publicly chastise him for his role in orchestrating attacks on the 2016 election. But when you consider Trump’s actions since he has taken office, you can’t help but concede his actions don’t match his words … which again, is typical for him.
He didn’t reverse sanctions Barack Obama instituted during the waning days of his presidency. In fact, he added to them. He ousted scores of Russian diplomats and amassed troops on the Poland/Russia border. And closed Russian diplomatic properties and consulates in several U.S. cities.
But most importantly, this won’t have any impact on Trump at the polls. Despite some mild wrist-slapping by members of the Republican party, voters don’t, or won’t care when it matters most. Between now and 2020, there will be hundreds of other controversies Trump creates and this too will be soon forgotten, much like the many that preceded it.
During the presidential primary campaign in 2016, Trump made what seemed at the time to be one of his more outlandish comments, stating:
“You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.”
Donald Trump has never spoken a more true statement and it’s as appropriate today as it ever was or ever will be.
Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.