One of the defining characteristics of Donald Trump – the man and the President – is how he seems to remake his policies (and those of his administration) on a daily basis. Taking directly contradictory positions – either from things he has said previously or from the official line of his administration – seems as natural to Trump as breathing.
This past week provides us with two sterling examples of Trump’s many contradictions.
1) In the wake of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, Trump was asked his view of the effort to expose government secrets that Assange spearheaded. “I know nothing about WikiLeaks,” the President replied. “It’s not my thing and I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange.”
Which is utterly contradicted by a series of plaudits Trump gave WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, when the organization was releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee illegally obtained by Russians. “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,” Trump said in October 2016.
2) On Thursday night, The Washington Post and other outlets reported that President Trump had pressured Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to bus undocumented immigrants arrested at the border to sanctuary cities in the congressional districts of Democratic members of Congress.
By Friday morning, the administration was dismissing the whole thing. “The idea was briefly and informally raised and quickly rejected,” a White House official told CNN.
Enter Trump. “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” he tweeted. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”
What to take from all of these contradictions? In short: Nothing matters. In slightly longer: Trump is the only person whose opinion really matters in this administration. And he changes that opinion as often as a European soccer star changes hairstyles. (Which, for you non-soccer buffs, is A LOT.)
The Point: What Trump said yesterday is no predictor of what he will say today. And what he says today has no real bearing on what he says tomorrow. This is a day-by-day presidency.
Below, the week in 27 headlines.
- Trump designates elite Iranian military force as a terrorist organization
- Nielsen says she shares Trump’s “goal of securing the border”
- Trump naming career Secret Service member to take over agency
- Trump pushed to close El Paso border, told admin officials to resume family separations and agents not to admit migrants
- Trump’s Fed picks still undergoing White House vetting, top adviser says
- Judge blocks policy forcing some asylum seekers to remain in Mexico
- Trump overseeing ‘near-systematic purge’ at Department of Homeland Security
- HHS official says administration doesn’t have capacity to resume family separations
- Barr says redacted version of Mueller report to be released within a week
- Trump says Egyptian President doing a ‘great job’ despite human rights abuse claims
- Trump denies reports he will reinstate family separation border policy
- Mnuchin defends consultation between White House and Treasury on Trump tax returns
- Barr says spying on Trump campaign ‘did occur,’ but provides no evidence
- Barr: Mueller did not ask for conclusion on obstruction of justice
- Politico: Trump criticizes George Washington for not better naming Mt. Vernon
- Trump repeats claim he won’t release his taxes while he’s under audit
- Wall Street Journal: Investigators in New York ‘gathered more evidence than previously known’ in Trump hush money probe
- Mnuchin says Treasury unable to comply with deadline for Trump’s tax returns
- Trump signs measures easing energy regulation while in Texas
- Trump claims he might ‘call up more military’ to the US-Mexico border
- Trump pleased by Barr’s claim that there was spying on 2016 campaign
- Trump in 2016: ‘I love WikiLeaks,’ Trump now: ‘I know nothing about WikiLeaks’
- Senate votes to confirm Bernhardt to be interior secretary
- Trump says sanctions on North Korea are at a ‘fair level’
- Trump pressured Nielsen to release detained immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities
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