Are there really two Trumps?

Trump took to social media to “address” the country about the priorities of his coming administration yesterday. This was in the form of a short Youtube video, in which he talked about how he was going to create “many millions” of jobs (by lifting restrictions on the coal industry), revoke and “renegotiate” trade agreements, and impose lobbying bans

In terms of content, it was just a rehash of some of his campaign blather, though he did manage to steer clear of the more incendiary provocations of the campaign, i.e. the building of a wall, deportation of millions, and revocation of the ACA.

In terms of form, there were a couple noteworthy elements. The first is the choice of Youtube, rather than a TV address or press conference, of which there have been none since the election. In the past, the use of social media for such messages has been thought to be too like simple propaganda, though Obama has done some of it. For the coming administration, it is now clear that this will be the norm.

The main “new” element in this communication was Trump speaking in a more moderate way, staying on script, using a teleprompter, and being “presidential”. There was no Trumpian bombast, no fight-picking, no singling out of critics for retaliation.

This was taken by many, including the New York Times, as evidence that there are really two Trumps, that Trump is very “self-aware”, and that he chooses carefully which Trump to present based on his objective. He has said he is capable of being “very boring” when he needs to be, meaning go five seconds without calling someone a name, and this video “proves” that.

If only.

In fact, there are not two Trumps. There is only one Trump and one Conway. What we see here is the momentary triumph of his handlers in their ongoing effort to reign in their impulsive man-baby. They wrote out a not-too-long message which he was able to deliver, selfie-style, into an iPhone camera without any tantrums before returning to the more pressing business of flipping channels, looking for his name on the internet, and grabbing the occasional stranger by the pussy.

Trump is going to show us how to be president in the internet age. He will do it from home using only his cell phone. No need to come to Washington, no need to meet with congressman, no need to deal with the press, no need to modify his family life or business interests in any way.

He can do it part-time without changing any of his real priorities. There may not be two Trumps, but perhaps this isn’t a bad thing. One is enough.

 

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