Another Trump Appearance Without Any Policy Content – Will Trump Ever Come Up With A Positive Idea?
I’ve been on a quest for the serious side of Donald Trump – a journey through different media to try to find any place where Trump has explained specifically what policies he will put in place if he is elected President of the United States. I started Trump’s own web site, then went to at C-Span, a network that aims at more serious political content than is available on other TV channels, with Trump’s appearance near the border with Mexico in Laredo, Texas and with his interview with Frank Luntz at the Family Leadership Summit.
In none of those places did Trump offer any specific policy solutions to what he identifies as the problems America faces. He merely blustered, talking about what a great guy he is and how terrible other people are.
So, today, I thought I’d look at another kind of source of information about Trump: The Fox News channel. About a week ago, for 12 minutes and 35 seconds, Donald Trump appeared on a Fox News morning show, and had not just one person asking him questions, but three.
I thought that, at the media home for right wing politics in America, Trump would have felt comfortable explaining the specifics about what he intends to do with the power of the Oval Office. I should have known better.
The three interviewers from Fox News mostly asked Donald Trump horse race questions – asking for his opinions about the competitive aspects of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, rather than asking about policy. Donald Trump was happy to play along with that approach. He didn’t mention any specific ideas he has for making any aspect of the federal government better as its president.
The closest Trump got to making a policy proposal was to say that he thinks he can make VA hospitals better because he knows a lot of good managers. This was reminiscent of Ross Perot’s answer to every policy question he knew nothing about: That he would solve all the nation’s problems by getting a bunch of smart people together in a room and letting them figure it all out.
The rest of the 12 minutes and 35 seconds consisted of Donald Trump complaining about how terrible the United States has become, what other people are doing wrong, and what a great guy he himself is.
This is Donald Trump’s schtick. First, he makes vague complaints: “We have so many things wrong with our country. You look at what China is doing to us in trade. You look at what Mexico is doing to us with the border and in trade…”
Second, he calls other people names: “”You say, who are the people leading this country? We’ve got people, and they’re just incompetent.”
Then, he praises himself: “What I’ve done has been successful.”
Finally, if there’s an audience, he turns to them, asks a rhetorical question like, “You know what I’m talking about, right?” Someone in the audience makes a noise, and then Trump turns back to whoever is interviewing him and says, “There. You see?”
He does this over and over again, and so far, no journalists have called him out for it.
A few days ago, when I began to try to look more deeply at Donald Trump, I thought that his avoidance of policy substance would have to come to an end during this Thursday’s presidential debate. I don’t think so any longer. Trump seems to have the ability to simply swagger through any situation without going into detail about anything. If, during Thursday’s debate, Donald Trump manages to summon even one positive policy idea, I’ll be shocked.