Three rules for understanding all Donald Trump says or does

On Sunday night, some of the women who have long accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting them sat in the audience for the second presidential debate as guests of Donald Trump, who beforehand held a press conference so they could repeat their claims. It was, if nothing else, a dramatic bit of political theater that had many of Trump’s supporters arguing Hillary Clinton had helped cover up her husband’s misdeeds and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House.

Trump South Carolina

By Thursday, the script had completely flipped. A number of women had stepped forward to accuse Trump of assaulting them — not just with “words,” as Trump had tried to explain away his lewd comments about women from a hot-mic moment in 2005, but with actual “actions,” as he’d accused Bill Clinton of committing. The response from Trump, who days earlier had urged Americans to believe Bill’s accusers? That they were “horrible liars” who had invented “pure fiction” to smear him.

How does a man pull such a 180-degree turn in such a short time? If you’ve been paying attention to this long and, mercifully, almost finished presidential campaign, you know it’s not the first time. Trump has changed his position dozens of times on almost two dozen issues, according to this tally from NBC News (which probably needs updating, since it’s nearly three months old). If you think you know what Trump would actually do as president, you must be a psychic.

GOP 2016 Debate

Nor is it possible to know what Trump will say or do next. But I have found a way to understand what Trump says or does by viewing it through a series of three lenses. And now I’ll share them with you:

  1. First, last and always, Trump is about himself and only himself. Not his wife, his kids, his employees, his shareholders, his bondholders, the Republican Party, the United States of America — and certainly, dear voter, not you. He is in this, like everything else, for his own benefit and/or amusement.
  2. Trump wakes up every day asking himself, what do I need to say or do to make sure everyone is talking about me by the end of the day? If you’ve ever wondered why Trump goes out of his way to make news even when it hurts his candidacy by overshadowing bad news about Hillary — and even gone as far as to wonder whether he does it because he’s secretly trying to get her elected — there’s a simple answer. He’s a narcissist (see above) whose self-absorption and insecurities make him crave the spotlight. There’s no conspiracy, and certainly no strategy here. Trump just wants the attention.
  3. Trump doesn’t actually believe anything. This is why he can say one day that he’ll build a wall on the southern border and deport all illegal immigrants, say months later that he’ll do nothing different than past presidents, and say five days after that that he’ll begin deportations within an hour of being sworn in. There’s no consistency because he doesn’t believe any of it. He’s just saying whatever strikes him in the moment as the thing he ought to say.

Once you view everything he says and does through those lenses, there’s a certain logic to it. Which is not to say his words and actions become agreeable, just that they’re less bewildering to behold.

This is why I still won’t support or vote for him, even in the face of questions about Supreme Court appointments, Hillary’s awful tax-and-spend plans, and the rest. I have zero reason to think I know what he would do as president, or to believe he would do anything I actually agree with. But I have plenty of reasons to believe his obviously bad instincts and inability to take heed of others’ advice for sustained periods of time would lead us down a different, but equally bad, path.

Reader Comments 0

451 comments
EvanT
EvanT

So you vote for a criminal over a narcissist.

Malone BJ
Malone BJ

Nothing complicated about understanding a Con Man...

carterjoseph1950
carterjoseph1950

He would do to the country what he did to the Republican Party, then claim it is our fault. And should he be elected, he will crash the economy.

PJ25
PJ25

Don't blame trump, blame the RINOs who led to Trump becoming the nominee. 

JD Thompson
JD Thompson

Yes the three rules of crooked conman pervert fascist fraud cheating trump are lie....lie...and lie.

Chales Wayne
Chales Wayne

No Trump would not be running if that were the case. On the other hand, Hillary only cares about one person, Hillary. Hillary enabled Slick Wiley's sexual abuse and viscously attacked and defamed all his victims because she loves power more than anything else.

Trish Moore
Trish Moore

He's made a mockery of the Republican Party. It's sad....and sickening.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Shrub head Aka Colin Kaepernick and the Niners got blown out by the Bills. Couldn't have happened to a better guy than this sorry puke. Go Falcons.

Susan Woods
Susan Woods

If Trump was all about himself he would be with his family living it up not putting up with a bunch of bull,

Johnny Rebb
Johnny Rebb

I see that the mentally challenged are still defending her !

Doug Blair
Doug Blair

Whatever, Trump is a billionaire, he has spent a lot of money running against someone who shouldn't get any votes. She is very crooked

Teresa Cauthren Mintz
Teresa Cauthren Mintz

So true. But for everyone that counters "so does Hillary!" Consider this...Trump has made so many enemies, he will be unable to accomplish anything once in office. Do we really want 4 years of no accomplishments at all with the exceptions of appearing foolish to our allies and giving Trump the platform to help his own business endeavors

Frank Dancy
Frank Dancy

AJC carries the water for Hillary and the democrats, without a ounce of intellectual honesty

EvanT
EvanT

AND the AJC throws purported conservatives like Kyle out there to sell papers in the suburbs!

Mark Herendeen
Mark Herendeen

show me a politician that isn't lol fools! AJC one sided liberal news outlet!

Dateline 2016
Dateline 2016

Trump has ruined his own reputation and brand. That will be what remains after the election.

AhmirHaddad
AhmirHaddad

That lying Hillary Clinton scum was a very beatable candidate this year, despite the heavy demographic advantage that the Democratic Party currently has.  She disgusts and repels most of the middle-of-the-road independents (who are a very important group of voters), and we are now learning that her "victories" in most of the closest primaries were practically stolen thanks to the DNC's back door shenanigans at the polls.  And along comes Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination, and handing her the election.  Hell of a shame...

Alex Gross
Alex Gross

That's what I call unbiased reporting \U0001f616

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

As evidenced by some of these early mourning posts, the libs are getting worried that the coordinated attack by the Clinton campaign and the media might be backfiring. Polutico, horrified by the latest ABC/WaPo poll showing the race neck and neck with Trump regaining support, none the less reported the poll result this morning. With the race now within the margin of error showing Trump, recovering from what appeared to be the abyss of defeat what can we read into it. Maybe, voters barring any creditable evidence that Trump, did sexually assault women could be overlooking his peccadillo's and are preparing to cast protest votes. The public doesn't need to own Trumps, personality flaws and behaviors to vote in protest against a biased media, a corrupt political establishment and a deeply flawed Hillary Clinton whose incompetence wilful or otherwise has damaged the country and indirectly led to the murder of our foreign diplomats.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit A person would have to overlook much more than sexual assaults on women to support the BS artist Trump.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

Okay, I'm sorry,
I had to remind myself. I forgot that you're vocabulary is very limited. I should have posted something just for you using words that you could better understand.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV Of all your derogatory comments about me, this one is probably among the funniest. Actually, your misunderstanding of words is probably your least problem. It is your sentences that more often do not make any sense. But even that is down on the list, which starts with the absence of any rational thought that those sentences should convey.

So go ahead and continue doing what you do best – making a fool of yourself. Keep on parroting all those accusations against Hillary Clinton; it may be fun to show how silly they are, but not really worth the trouble, because they are not products of any knowledge or thinking on your part. You are still only a poor imitator of Donald Trump, so who cares if you spread the same BS? 

Wayne Pittman Jr.
Wayne Pittman Jr.

First rule for me........ Ignore him! Continue this rules for 2 and 3.

lvg
lvg

Nice to see the Deplorable that are flocking to Facebook to remind us what kind of people are attracted to the Orange Clown.

These are the Americans who will click their heels and say Seig Heil if Trump is elected. They will believe any nonsense and trash that comes out of  his mouth.

jamesatl
jamesatl

@lvg What "kind" of people? You mean Americans, right? I think the "kind" of people we all need to be worried about is your kind.

Mike Harris
Mike Harris

#2. The AJC is all about Hillary Clinton and will print anything to degrade, diminish or demean Donald Trump.

Roswellteacher
Roswellteacher

Agreed.  In light of #1, Trump's treasonous cozying up to our adversary, Russia, and gleefully publicizing data hacked by Russia, who is trying influence our election, makes total sense.  He wants to maintain his many business interests with Russian oligarchs in order to benefit his family while he's in office and for the benefit of himself after he leaves office (he refuses to put his business interests in a blind trust to avoid conflict of interest, as all previous presidents have).


It also makes complete sense that Trump treasonously incites the blind anger of his base by claiming, with zero evidence, that elections are rigged and that the Justice Department is corrupt.  This erodes the very foundation of our democracy, namely the confidence of the people in the integrity of our democratic institutions.  It gives the armed alt-right zanies their excuse to start their "revolution."  


He couldn't give a d*** about this country, and is willing to create havoc and destruction in his wake to get to the presidency.  And once there, nobody should believe that he will actually do anything he has promised, unless it happens to increase his own wealth, power and fame.

Jay Barton
Jay Barton

Total embarrassed by Mayor Reed on CNN.Makes Atlanta look backwards as hell. Hey Mayor, how about cleaning up the black crime in Atlanta before you go on CNN and make us look stupid as hell. The Russians are coming

Sunday Marie
Sunday Marie

Don't forget to listen to your leader Trumpeteers and get out and vote on Nov 28th. #HisOwnWords \U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

Mike Dills
Mike Dills

The election will be over soon and businesses who lose business because of their crooked ways shouldn't say a word .

Mandy Smith Taylor
Mandy Smith Taylor

Have you even covered just ONE of the email hacks that Wikileaks has released??.?

332-206
332-206

Maybe when there's something meaningful...