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The Contradictions of Donald Trump

The man formerly known as The Donald is entwined in a ball of contradiction.

He was a registered Republican until 2001 when he became a Democrat, and then eight years later switched back to the Republican party. He says he believes in democracy, but also says if he loses Pennsylvania in the November general election it will be because the election is rigged.

He campaigns on a platform that boldly proclaims him to be an outsider to politics and a great business executive who will “Make America Great Again!” But Trump is not an outsider—he has the presence to command legislators, lobbyists, and business executives from the highest levels. Although he claims to be worth about $10 billion, companies under his control have filed for bankruptcy four times—Trump says it’s just good business practice; if he becomes president, he won’t have that option to reduce the nation’s debt. He believes the U.S. is the best place to live, but uses an empty campaign slogan to rally his hard-core ultra-right base of voters.

He says he’s a “nice guy,” but this “nice guy” committed adultery with several women, constantly uses profane language, opposes unions and minimum wage, has refused to pay the full bill to dozens of contactors, and mocked a New York Times reporter who has a disability.

He demanded seeing 10 years of tax returns of all finalists to be his vice-president, but has refused to release his own income tax filings.

He once supported the ban on assault weapons and believed there should be “a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” But, in his run to the presidency he now says, “Government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own,” and basks in the glow of an NRA endorsement and NRA-sponsored TV ads. He erroneously claims Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to “take your guns away.” Early this year, while campaigning in New Hampshire during the primaries, had said, “The Second Amendment is so important, they’re not going to take your guns away.” In a campaign speech, he said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

He was pro-choice until he began his run for the presidency when he became pro-life. He says he would block funding for Planned Parenthood because it supports abortion, although federal law currently bans public funds being used for abortion; only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget goes to abortion expenses and only 10 percent of client services are abortion related.

He said in 2011 he opposed same-sex marriage, but less than four years later said gay marriage is a reality, but each state should determine if it condones or condemns same-sex marriage.

Trump never objected to the support he received from Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, but faced by a reality that a Washington Post poll determined fewer than 6 percent of Blacks say they would feel comfortable with him as president, now says, “No group in America has been more harmed by Hillary Clinton’s policies than African-Americans.” Using a racial stereotype, he asks Blacks, “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

He pompously claims his IQ “is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” But, he disregards the voice of scientists and environmentalists, and planted himself in the corner with the ultra-conservative wing of the party when he tweeted in 2012 that global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

China is also where most of his clothing line, and all of former wife Ivanka’s clothing line are manufactured. Clothes not produced in China are produced in a dozen other countries. But, he invokes patriotism when he tells thousands of cheering supporters at his campaign rallies, “We need to bring manufacturing jobs back home where they belong.”

He says he opposed the invasion of Iraq, but after George W. Bush ordered troops into Iraq, he supported the invasion. He says for several years he opposed invading Iraq, but now says it is sensible for the U.S. to send ground troops into Iraq to destroy ISIS, although Russia will find itself in a quagmire for its campaign in Syria to destroy ISIS. He says he is “a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military.” Somewhere in his logic, Trump, who believes in reducing the national debt, says the U.S. should take $1.5 trillion from Iraqi Oil and give $1 million to every family who lost someone in that war. He doesn’t say how the U.S. will be able to get $1.5 trillion in oil sales.

In 2008, Trump had praised Bill and Hillary Clinton, declaring, “Hillary is smart, tough and a very nice person, and so is her husband. Bill Clinton was a great President. They are fine people. Hillary was roughed up by the media, and it was a tough campaign for her, but she’s a great trooper. Her history is far from being over.”

But in 2016, Trump calls the Democrats’ nominee for president “Crooked Hillary” and “Lyin’ Hillary,” and claims that “without the woman card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to even run for a city council position.” He says she is unfit to be president. Apparently, he overlooked her six years as a U.S. senator and four years as secretary of state, and the fact he and the Clintons were bosom buddies just two years earlier. Trump has never been elected to any office nor has he ever served in government.

Trump once declared, “The world is excited about Barack Obama and the new United States. Let’s keep it that way!” A year after Obama’s inauguration, Trump was equally enthusiastic: “What he [Obama] has done is amazing. The fact that he accomplished what he has in one year is truly phenomenal.” But, he has also been an attack dog, tenaciously holding onto a bone called “birther,” calling on President Obama to release his birth certificate to prove he wasn’t born in Kenya and constitutionally ineligible to be president. When the President released his birth certificate, proving he was born in Hawaii to a mother who was a U.S. citizen, Trump and the ultra right-wing challenged its legitimacy.

Trump supported Sen. John McCain in his 2008 campaign for the presidency, but never challenged his citizenship; McCain was born in Panama.

Trump struts, puffs out his chest, and says he supports the military, but took four deferments from service and managed to party, enjoy the life of being a millionaire’s son, and rise up in his father’s company during the Vietnam War. He said of Sen. McCain, who was confined to a North Vietnamese prison camp and tortured for five years and walks with a limp, “He is a war hero because he was captured [but] I like people who were weren’t captured.”

Danish foreign minister Kristian Jensen says Trump “changes opinions like the rest of us change underwear.” Trump’s underwear may be clean, but his opinions are definitely soiled.

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

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