Thursday, June 04, 2015

Donald Trump Has A Unique Version Of Free Trade

To answer the most frequent questions up front:

1. He did NOT use the words "You're Fired" Once. so if you had that in the drinking game you're sober.

2. I got close enough that I could have reached out and touched The Famous Hair. I chose not to.

Yes, The Donald was in Coralville this afternoon. The official purpose of the visit was a charitable one - a fundraising kickoff for a Coralville Veterans Memorial, and 240 folks, a mix of Coralville civic leaders and curious Republicans, showed up for the midday event.

It was literally a country club event - with a big qualifier: in Coralville, the city owns the country club. People's Republic of Johnson County.

"Obamacare is gonna eat this country alive. Obamacare kicks in in 16 and Obama's gonna be out on the golf course," Trump said, with views of the back nine behind him.

"I own the greatest clubs in the world," he said, "but how cool is the White House? I want to straighten things out."

So of all the places Trump could have chosen for a veterans charity event, he chose Iowa. He has a Big Announcement planned for June 16 - followed, it was announced later today, by another Iowa visit.

So this may finally be the time that Trump, who has teased about presidential runs since at least 2000, finally takes the plunge.

If Trump does make the run, he plans to focus his leadership skills (of which he seems to think highly) to border controls and international trade. "Make America Great Again. It's simple. Our country is in serious trouble. If I run and if I win, I'll bring America back stronger than ever."

"We can no longer put people with no brain power in charge of negotiating with the smartest people in the world," Trump said.  "Mexico is not our friend. China is not our friend. China hates my guts."

Trump called for stronger border controls and offered to build a wall himself.  "Who can build a better wall than Trump? I build buildings, it's what I do."

"Criminals and rapists get in, and we have to take care of them. It's a disgrace. We have to stop."

Shifting to trade Trump rhetorically asked, "Why don't we give all the illegals cars, trucks, and parts? The United States has become a dumping ground."

To fight imports and keep jobs in the US, Trump called for tariffs on said cars, trucks, and parts. "Make plenty of cars, we'll make a lot of money. Get China and Mexico to pay for our Social Security. We'll have so much money it'll be coming out of our ears."

Despite this page from the Smoot-Hawley book, Trump said, "I'm a free trader. But with free trade you need smart leaders. Our leaders are clowns."

Trump took about four audience questions, and when asked about how best to beat Hillary Clinton, responded by chiding Clinton for not taking questions.  He also dropped a reference to Bernie Sanders at which point, my brain exploded at the idea of Donald Trump discussing Bernie Sanders.

I'd buy tickets to see that race - not only for the ideological contrast but for the contrast between most and least uses of personal pronouns in candidate remarks.

The only mention of social issues came with the very last audience question, about abortion. Trump assured the questioner, who had earlier sing the national anthem, that he was indeed pro life and would do "many things" to support that including judicial appointments.

Post speech, Trump worked the handshake line with the skill of a celebrity of 30 years standing, shaking a couple hands and posing for a half dozen pictures. Anyone who was determined enough could have gotten one. But it wasn't a crushing crowd, and I was also surprised that there wasn't a national media entourage.

In any case, the event was colorful, and if he makes the run and gets included, Trump will add a lot of his outsized personality to the debates. I might pay to see that, too.

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