We’re all semioticians now, trying to decode the meaning of Donald Trump’s doublespeak.
The other day I briefly caught sight of—who else?— Donald Trump, on—what else?—“The O’Reilly Factor,” talking about the Middle East. The presumptive Republican nominee was airing his opinion that we “should have never gone into Iraq, but when we got out we should have kept the oil.”
Kept the oil? Like, slipped it in our pocket on the way out?
This wasn’t the first time Mr. Trump has expounded on this theme, and frequent repetition has not made his views any more coherent. Mr. Trump says we ought to steer clear of the Middle East’s imbroglios—but then says we should seize its oil fields. He lambastes our allies as freeloaders and military nincompoops who throw down their arms at the first sign of danger—but then says he would expect these same allies to provide perimeter defense for the oil fields we’ve stolen from them.
Point out these contradictions to the candidate, and he’s likely to rejoin that you’re a loser who’s been wrong about everything and doesn’t understand the art of leadership. Point them out to his admirers and apologists, and they’ll say you’re missing the deeper point, which is that Mr. Trump is reflecting the anger of everyday Americans who want a pragmatist in the White House whose instinct is to put America first and negotiate the details later.Read the rest of Bret Stephens' op-ed HERE.
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