The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump Has a Message That Could Work. He’s Just Not Interested in Making It.

President Trump no doubt believes that he followed his instincts throughout the 2016 campaign and won, and he believes his instincts will not fail him in 2020. He believes that his tweets help him more than they hurt his bid for reelection. (During the last days of the 2016 campaign, the New York Times reported, “aides to Mr. Trump have finally wrested away the Twitter account that he used to colorfully — and often counter-productively — savage his rivals,” but Kellyanne Conway insisted that wasn’t true.)

Many Republicans probably believe that Trump’s ideal message between now and November would be something like . . .

I know I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. I am a fighter by instinct, and my combativeness rubs a lot of people the wrong way. But you saw what the country was like at the beginning of the year — record low unemployment, a booming stock market, wages rising, enacting of the most sweeping criminal- justice reform legislation in a generation, Right to Try giving new hope to the sick, reliable judges who protect the Constitution instead of trying to rewrite it, renegotiated trade deals, America advancing as a global energy leader, border security being built . . . and then the coronavirus came along and kicked us in the teeth. We didn’t handle everything right; no government on earth did. We did the best we could, and we have “bent the curve” and we’re seeing the first signs of economic recovery, with 2.5 million jobs returning in just one month. Consider my flaws, and then consider the alternative: Joe Biden has no appetite for standing up to the Left Wing of his party. He wants to unite his party, and if elected, he will make concessions to the Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party. Biden has always been a cheerleader for closer ties with China. The Democratic Party wants to raise taxes through the roof, killing the goose that’s laying the golden eggs. They want to ban fracking. They want to end immigration enforcement. They want to confiscate guns. They want to make you pay for abortions, regardless of your personal views. They say I’m dividing the country, but their agenda would turn even more Americans against other Americans. And make no mistake, if I am defeated, the angry woke mob will see it as open season on anyone who dares cross them.

But there is no indication that President Trump has the ability or the desire to focus like this. Corey Lewandowski reportedly asked at a recent Trump campaign strategy meeting, What’s our message?” The message of the president for the rest of the campaign will continue to be whatever pops into his head as he watches cable news that day.

Think about it, Democrats just gift-wrapped him the controversial proposal of “defunding or abolishing the police” and this morning, Trump chose to instead focus upon his belief that the 75-year-old protester shoved to the ground had it coming, his contention that his former Secretary of Defense James Mattis “was our country’s most overrated general,” as well as a “lap dog” and an “embarrassment to America.” The president is incapable of prioritizing any message that is important to his reelection campaign over whatever irritates him at any given moment.

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