The Corner

National Security & Defense

Contemplating President Sybil

Today Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and no one knows just what to expect. One could picture Trump emerging from the meeting slapping backs and declaring that, as the ultimate dealmaker, he’s found common ground with the Mexican president and looks forward to working with him more. Or he could come out telling the American public that he stood up to the bully and told Pena Nieto how it’s going to be once Trump is running the show.

Also today, he’s going to give a major policy speech on immigration, and apparently try to clear up exactly where he stands on deporting illegal immigrants who aren’t gang members, drug dealers, violent offenders, etcetera. No one knows whether we’ll get him mentioning a “deportation force” like he did back in November, or whether he’ll sound more like he did in the town hall with Sean Hannity, declaring, “there’s no amnesty, but we work with them” and signal a willingness to accept a path to legal status.

Think about it: It’s the end of August, Trump is doing two events about the issue that was central to his campaign, and no one knows what he’s going to say or do.

Trump, on his third campaign manager in four months, is legendarily unpredictable. Like Forrest Gump said of life, “you never know what you’re going to get.” To his fans, this represents brilliant strategy, nine-level chess, Machiavellian plans within other plans and wheels spinning within other wheels. To those not so enamored, he looks erratic, easily swayed, indecisive. (He reportedly asked aides if he could reverse his decision to select Pence as his running mate after he had offered Pence the job.)

Even now, the case made to skeptical conservatives is based upon his unpredictability: you know Hillary Clinton will do everything wrong, so why not roll the dice on Trump? He might get it right!

If Donald Trump wins the presidency, he would be an unparalleled figure in the sense that no one would know how he would react to anything. As a candidate, Trump can be outlandish and incendiary one day, soft-spoken the next; he can pose as the ultimate deal-maker one day or the furious bull in the china shop the next. There’s no reason to think he would stick to one persona or approach in the Oval Office; it’s like electing President Sybil.  

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