In “The Duplicity of Donald Trump” Mr. Blow says he is not only a bully, but also something of a coward, who lacks the force of his convictions — or who lacks basic convictions at all. Mr. Kristof, in “Pariahs for Donald Trump,” says ISIS jihadists, North Korea and the K.K.K. agree on a candidate. Here’s Mr. Blow:
Donald Trump is the internet troll of presidential politics. When he’s securely removed from the objects of his scorn, he’s tough as nails; when he’s in their presence, he quivers like a bowl of Jell-O.
Such is the way of a bully.
Furthermore, when he is surrounded by supporters who cheer his base nature, he amplifies the enmity. When the applause of hostility is out of earshot, he tones down his vitriol to a whimper.
He is not only a bully, it seems to me, but also something of a coward, who lacks the force of his convictions — or who lacks basic convictions at all. He seems to be simply playing to the audience, whatever that audience may be. He’s amenable to the mood of any particular room.
This is the most frightening type of man, whose basic character is vile but not inviolable, who springs from darkness and bends toward anything that casts light, even if that light is, as the internet loves to say, a dumpster fire.
Case in point: Trump has spent the whole of his campaign maligning Mexican immigrants, people of “Mexican heritage” and the country of Mexico itself.
The Hillary Clinton campaign was quick to remind voters of the horrid things Trump has tweeted about Mexico and Mexicans, and the list was a doozy.
They included calling the Mexican government “totally corrupt” and the Mexican court system “dishonest” and saying that “Mexico is not our friend” and ”I want nothing to do with Mexico other than to build an impenetrable WALL and stop them from ripping off U.S.”
Indeed, one of Trump’s main focuses has been the wall — which he has insisted from the beginning that he would make Mexico pay for — and a “deportation force” to round up and deport all of the approximately 11 million immigrants who are in this country illegally.
These are the Mexican immigrants who Trump initially described this way: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
And yet, when he made the quick decision to visit Mexico Wednesday and meet with that country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump was much more contrite in his comments. Indeed, for most of the subsequent news conference, Trump looked lost and confused.
As Trump put it:
“I happen to have a tremendous feeling for Mexican-Americans not only in terms of friendships, but in terms of the tremendous numbers that I employ in the United States and they are amazing people, amazing people. I have many friends, so many friends and so many friends coming to Mexico and in Mexico. I am proud to say how many people I employ. And the United States first, second and third generation Mexicans are just beyond reproach. Spectacular, spectacular hard-working people. I have such great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community.”
Huh? Who is this guy? Of course, this time he was reading a speech. This is no doubt some soft-pedal written by his aides to make him sound more human and less monstrous.
Kellyanne Conway, you are one of the best ventriloquists in politics, the way you put words in this man’s mouth. But I’m not buying it. You can repackage your bigot if you choose, but the basic contours of the man betray your efforts to remake him. And, your support and promotion of him makes you one of the most dangerous, though soft-spoken, people in America at this moment.
According to Trump, he didn’t even discuss with Peña Nieto that he would demand that Mexico pay for the Southern border wall. But Peña Nieto disputed that account, tweeting in Spanish: “At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.” If you believe Peña Nieto, Trump, the self-proclaimed tough negotiator, not only choked but openly lied about choking.
And this is the supposedly brassy billionaire people support because he’s tough and tells it like it is? Trump is a paper tiger if ever there was one.
And then, a few hours later in Arizona, at what was billed as a major policy speech on his now muddled stance on immigration, and before his jeering acolytes, he gave a speech full of fear, about murderous immigrants, and reiterated that he would build a southern border wall and, you guessed it, Mexico would pay for it.
Trump was back to his hate. He was back to his hyperbolic histrionics.
This is what every voter must remember: Trump has two faces and two sets of facts and too much latitude to spread his animus, anti-intellectualism and lies, and he must never see the inside of the Oval Office.
And now here’s Mr. Kristof:
To read newspapers like this one, you might think that almost nobody has endorsed Donald Trump. Ah, but maybe that’s because The Times is, as Trump puts it, “totally dishonest,” “failing” and “a disgusting fraud.”
In truth, Trump has actually attracted a broad range of endorsements that perhaps haven’t received adequate attention.
For example, from terrorists.
“I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump,” a supporter of the Islamic State declared recently in an Arabic-language posting. Foreign Affairs quotes jihadists explaining that Trump would say and do such crazy things that he would end up helping extremist groups.
“He must be smoking bad hashish to say such crazy things,” one jihadist added. Supporters of ISIS say they hope Trump would cause the United States to self-destruct, and that is why, as one put it, “Trump’s arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadists at any cost!”
Of course, Trump has been endorsed not only by terrorists, but also by nation states. “Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician,” a columnist wrote in a North Korean propaganda magazine, DPRK Today.
The magazine approved of Trump’s threats to withdraw U.S. military forces from South Korea and noted, “Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this?”
Then there’s Russia, which seems to be not only backing Trump but also perhaps releasing stolen emails to hurt the Democrats. There are also concerns that Russia will meddle with voting systems or leak other stolen materials — or fake ones — to try to influence the election.
Likewise, many Chinese leaders would like to see a Trump victory, according to Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution. The Chinese leaders apparently think Trump would manage allies and American foreign policy poorly, thus reducing American influence and creating space for China.
That’s quite a list of influential backers — ISIS supporters, North Korea, Russia and China. And it’s matched at home by an array of strong endorsements that also, perhaps, don’t receive adequate attention.
“Donald Trump would be best for the job,” said the imperial wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.”
Likewise, Trump has the backing not only of the Republican Party but also of the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist organization. “Donald Trump’s campaign may help remind Americans that all genocide, even against white people, is evil,” said Bob Whitaker, who until spring was the American Freedom Party’s presidential candidate, running with the campaign slogan, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.”
The American Nazi Party’s position is a bit more complicated. Rocky Suhayda, the party chairman, has predicted that Trump will win and that this will provide “a real opportunity for people like white nationalists.” But, apparently worried that Nazi support for Trump might be counterproductive, he denied reports that on his radio show he had actually endorsed Trump.
“Recently, the jews-media gave the Party international coverage over our last ANP radio show, where they ‘claimed’ that I ‘endorsed’ Donald Trump, in another effort to ‘SMEAR’ the man,” Suhayda wrote on the Nazi Party website. “It was a typical kosher BIG LIE, as exposed and explained in Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf — whereas they ‘CLAIM’ that Mr. Evil Nazi (me) has embraced Donald Trump for President, hence Mr. Trump and myself are joined at the hip, being clones of Little Hitlerites.”
So maybe Trump doesn’t have the Nazi endorsement sewn up after all.
He does have the backing of other prominent figures. Among them: Martin Shkreli, who as C.E.O. of Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 5,000 percent; Milo Yiannopoulos, recently banned from Twitter for leading internet trolls on a misogynist and racist campaign against Leslie Jones, the comedian and actress; and Alex Jones, the talk show host who has said that the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked and that no children were actually injured in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
The Washington Post published an early non-endorsement editorial, stating that Trump constitutes a “unique and present danger” to America, but Trump has won some publication endorsements — such as one from The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website, and one from The National Enquirer.
O.K., O.K., it’s also true that Trump has support of tens of millions of Americans, including (sometimes grudgingly) leading Republicans, like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain. Yet one element that makes this election stunning is how many prominent Republicans have refused to endorse their nominee, while some have denounced him as a “madman” and “bigot” who has no more “core principles than a Kardashian marriage.”
But perhaps what’s even more illuminating is the crowd that is endorsing Trump.