Calculated buffoonery or eccentricity in politics can be a clever tactic, if employed by clever people (example, London Mayor Boris Johnson). Trouble is, Donald Trump ain’t smart. He’s only rich – “really” rich, as he told us loudly Wednesday while announcing his candidacy for president of the United States.
Because he’s very rich, Trump believes his scatterbrained opinions carry more weight than those of most educated people. And because he’s so much richer than everyone else, he gets a public stage to spout bigotry barely disguised as political rhetoric.
Trump’s verbal assault on Mexico this week was only a small part of a performance that had nothing to do with ending up in the Oval Office. The aims: to perpetuate the mythology of brand Donald, ruffle Republican feathers and, of course, carry on enriching his bottom line (just a coincidence that he’s about to open a hotel in Washington D.C.?)
Like fellow demagogue Ann Coulter, Trump loves to act the provocateur. But unlike the calculated Coulter, who is intelligent enough to understand the absurdity of many of her outbursts, Trump is blissfully unaware how ill-thought out his ideas actually are. It’s the invincibility syndrome of the mega-wealthy. Not hard to see how a lifetime spent making one successful business decision after another can turn you into an egomaniac.
Trump claims to be the champion of the working American. Among foreign countries conspiring to bring the United States to its knees is Mexico. Their citizens who cross the Rio Grande are “the wrong kind,” he declared Wednesday. But I wonder if Trump has ever asked how many Mexican “drug addicts, criminals and rapists” helped build his hotels, or how many tend his golf courses or wash dishes in his casinos?
Does he really believe closing U.S. plants in Mexico and building a giant wall along the border will make the United States “great” again? And how does he intend to “make Mexico pay for the wall?”
Trump cannot get the Republican nomination and likely won’t be on the ballot in New Hampshire. His goal is to earn a place on the debate stage with the other Republican candidates. If that’s the case, expect a lot more Mexico bashing and, probably, a much less restrained reaction to his bizarre, prejudicial utterances than we saw this week from officials south of the border.