The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Problem With Every ‘Intellectual’ Defense of Trump I’ve Ever Read

So the anonymous guy who wrote the now-famous “Flight 93” essay — you know, the “intellectual” defense of Trump that’s been talked about endlessly for the last eight days — is now back with a “restatement,” where he responds to the multiple critiques of his first piece. I have the same problem with the restatement as I had with the first essay, and it’s the same problem I’ve had with every single allegedly intellectual defense of Trump I’ve ever read. 

Simply put, these folks don’t defend the real, live Donald Trump. They create someone else entirely — we’ll call him Fake Trump — and defend Fake Trump against all comers. Fake Trump, for example isn’t going to embroil us in foreign wars. But Real Trump supported both the Iraq invasion and the Libyan intervention (Flight 93 dude calls Libya “perhaps the worst security policy mistake in US history”), and during this campaign (just last week!) has supported indefinite foreign occupation for resource extraction. 

Fake Trump is going to put a stop social justice crusading and defend life. Real Trump at best doesn’t care about religious liberty or abortion and at worst not only declares that Planned Parenthood does “wonderful things,” he’s arguably one of the sexual revolution’s most ardent practitioners. 

Fake Trump, to quote Flight 93 dude again, is “mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation.” This is spit-out-your-coffee hilarious. Real Trump doesn’t know the slightest thing about the Constitution, but he’s more than happy to suppress your free speech rights if it means the media is more compliant, and he’s more than happy to take your home from you if he can replace it with a Trump casino. 

Fake Trump is finally going to implement a sensible immigration policy (indeed, I’ve written that the latest iteration of his policy has some very good elements), but Real Trump has been all over the map. His own business practices contradict his alleged immigration philosophy, he’s signaled that he’s for touchback amnesty, he’s gone after Republicans (namely, Mitt Romney) for being too hawkish on immigration, and even if he gets to build his wall, he’s talked about including a big, beautiful door. 

Fake Trump has an ideology. Real Trump has a will to power. We can only count on Trump to say what he needs to say and do what he needs to do to advance his own interests. He will pivot instantly and shamelessly to whatever position he needs to take in that moment to get what he wants. “I alone can solve this” is the core of his belief system — and he “solves” things not through the application of real ideas to real problems, but rather through the alleged awesome force of his wisdom, insight, strength, and personality. 

I’d vote for most of the Fake Trumps, but Real Trump is the only one on the ballot. In some ways even Real Trump would be preferable to Hillary (yes, she’s that bad), and in others, she has the edge (yes, he’s that bad.) Americans are faced with two unfit major-party nominees, but don’t tell that to the creators of Fake Trump. They can’t handle the truth.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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