Scenes from a Town Hall

We regret to inform you that Trump neither informs nor regrets.

A few quick hits from Trump’s townhall, culled from Aaron Rupar’s Twitter reporting.

Way back when, a lot of pundits and commentators thought that Trump was going to be in real trouble this election year because he only knows how to run as an outsider, a challenger, and he doesn’t know how to run as an incumbent.

I can’t even claim to have called the extent to which he has simply ignored that reality, but as usual the response from Trump to any claim of “But he can’t possibly actually do that!” is to simply do it anyway.

You say he can’t run as a change candidate against the current performance of a party that’s not actually in power?


And who’s going to stop him?

He and his proxies talk about Joe Biden’s America, blame current conditions on Biden, Senator Harris, and President Obama, and in every respect except one (that being the paradoxical fact that they’re using their control over the executive branch for campaigning) act as though he’s still an outsider running to unseat an incumbent.

It still remains to be seen how well this will work for him, but it’s indisputable that it is working to a degree.

“Trump claims no regrets” has been a “dog bites man” story from day one. This will always be his answer when asked about regrets. You can chalk it up into his belief in the power of positive thinking, but it’s got more to do with his all-encompassing fear of weakness, of looking or feeling week.

Regrets, like military service, are for losers. It’s why a man who made “You’re Fired!” the trademarked catchphrase of his TV persona has gone through more than one cycle of publicly belittling and feuding with one of his own hand-picked minions until they quit or someone else forced them out.

At the height of his petty passive-aggressive sniping at Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, when it was obvious to the entire world that he didn’t want Sessions to be AG any more and he openly wished for “a Roy Cohn”, he refused to say that he regretted appointing the man. When pushed, he said that he regretted that Sessions had recused himself.

Note the distinction: he didn’t regret having hired someone who did that. He regretted that Sessions did it. Trump didn’t make the mistake. Sessions did.

His signature power song, “My Way”, a song about facing the final curtain that he rather ominously and nihilistically used to ring in his term in office, contains the lyrics “Regrets, I've had a few… but then again, too few to mention.”

This has been the model for Trump’s life for as long as he’s been in the public eye. He might speak of regrets or sins or errors in the abstract, but will never admit to any. Back before they decided to stop pretending their alliance was anything more than a devil’s bargain, his evangelical allies had to make up stories about him confessing his sins in private because he publicly proclaimed he had nothing to ask God forgiveness for.

When he talks about the media and he mentions what he considers fairness to be, when he doesn’t outright say that a fair story is a positive one, he’ll say that he doesn’t mind negative stories when they’re true and fair, but if asked to name an example of such a story, he can’t and won’t. He’s said — at least at times when he believed them to be sufficiently reliable — that Fox News has hit him and it was fair, but then balked at giving an actual example.

And finally…

Note, for people who don’t want to listen to Trump’s voice, that the “Look for it in about two weeks!” is not a quote but a wry observation on Trump’s penchant of announcing the imminent announcement of things “in the very near future”, often said to be “next week” or “in two weeks”.

Like the joke sign in a dive bar that reads “Free Beer Tomorrow”, two weeks is always and will always remain two weeks away. One of Trump’s greatest tricks is to announce things. Announcements are cheap and easy, two of his favorite qualities.

Why go through the trouble of having an investigation (especially when it might not find out what you want it to find, or worse, it might find out what you don’t want it to) when you can just announce an investigation?

And then whether or not there was an investigation or whatever it found or didn’t find, you can just announce the results you want, loudly and often. It was determined that the Mueller probe was improper! It was determined that Russia was a hoax!

Talk is cheap, and in a lot of people’s minds, the combination of the office of the presidency plus the fact that they hear or read about it in the news lends his talk a lot of weight. Surely if all the things he was announcing were bunk then someone would stop him from doing it, right?

We should probably expect him to continue to announce imminent breakthroughs in everything from international diplomacy to immunology to immigration right up through the election.

I don’t usually do predictions, but I predict that the number of amazing and wonderful and important things that will be just two weeks away or coming in the very near future as of November 1st will be dizzying. Just overwhelming.

Big tip of a big hat to Aaron Rupar for watching and posting the highlights to Twitter. If you’d like to read/watch more, the thread begins here: