Trumping on the bandwagon. Is Trump just an opportunist?

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TRUMP: I really liked and knew a little bit Reagan. And I really—
I always sort of have to laugh to myself when people try to criticize that level of intelligence.
UYGUR: Now, that was Donald Trump on Fox last week, praising Ronald Reagan. Funny. He had a different take on the president in his 1987 book “Art of the Deal.” There, he called Reagan an example of someone who could con people but couldn‘t deliver the goods.
He wrote back then, “Reagan is so smooth and effective a performer, that he completely won over the American people. Only now, nearly seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there‘s anything beneath that smile.”
Now, that‘s not going to sit well the conservative base. In fact, when you look at Trump‘s record, not very much of it will sit well the base at all. What he was saying at different times in his life depended completely on what suited his political needs at that time.
In 1999, Trump actually left the Republican Party when he knew that George W. Bush was a lock for the GOP nomination. And at that point, he became a downright liberal.
In 1999, he told “Fox News Sunday,” “I‘m totally pro-choice. I‘m pro-choice because I think we have no choice.”
In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” he pushes for huge taxes on the wealthy, saying, “By imposing a one-time 14.25 percent net worth tax on the richest individuals and trusts, we can put America on a sound financial footing for the next century.”
I‘m not even that liberal. That is a giant tax increase that he advocated for back then.
In the same book, he makes a case for a Canadian-style health care system. “We must have universal health care. The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans. We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan.”
OK. So, that was him in 2000.
But now that he can appeal to the anger over President Obama‘s universal health care plan, which, by the way, isn‘t even nearly universal enough, in my opinion, all of a sudden, Donald Trump, not so liberal.
TRUMP: I want great medical care for people, but I want—also want it to be affordable. Obamacare is a disaster. Number one, it‘s bad medical care, but almost as important —
TRUMP: Excuse me. It‘s a bad concept. But also, and very importantly, this country can‘t afford it.
UYGUR: So, but your plan was 10 times as liberal. What happened?
And how does he feel about raising taxes now that he is a born-again Republican?
GUTHRIE: Would you raise taxes to attack the deficit?
TRUMP: I don‘t think you have to—and let me just tell you, if we get this economy going again—and we can do it by getting jobs, by bringing our jobs back, bringing them back—let the other countries worry about themselves.
UYGUR: And how about abortion? Well, now he is pro-life. Of course he is. Not that he knows what that even means.
Now, watch this cringe-worthy moment in that same Savannah Guthrie interview.
GUTHRIE: Is there a right to privacy in the Constitution?
TRUMP: I guess there is. I guess there is.
GUTHRIE: So, how—
TRUMP: And why—just out of curiosity, why do you ask that question?
GUTHRIE: Well, I‘m just wondering how that squares with your pro-life views.
TRUMP: Well, that‘s a pretty strange way of getting to pro-life. I mean, it‘s a very unique way of asking about pro-life.
Why are you—what does that have to do with privacy? How are you equating pro-life with privacy?
GUTHRIE: Well, you know about the Roe v. Wade decision?
TRUMP: Yes. Right, sure. I‘m for pro—I am pro-life.
UYGUR: Oh. Oh, that was painful to watch.
Here‘s some help, Donald. The United States Supreme Court had earlier established the right to privacy and then applied that to the issue of abortion in Roe v. Wade. It is a central tenet that led to legalizing abortion. That‘s why they are connected.
The fact that Trump doesn‘t know that is, as usual, embarrassing. And it‘s only matched by how embarrassing his overall opportunism is.
How obvious is this guy? He has no principles or political beliefs at all. He is just trying to appeal to whichever crowd is in front of him. He is a classic carnival barker.
All right. Joining me now is political reporter for The Associated Press, Charles Babington. His new article is titled “GOP Voters in Early States Embrace Trump Bid.”
But Charles, it looks like, as you‘re reporting, the voters—or at least the Republican voters—are eating it up. What‘s going on at the state level, for example, in South Carolina, et cetera, in terms of reaction that Trump is getting?
CHARLES BABINGTON, ASSOCIATED PRESS: You know, I was calling Republican activists in South Carolina and Iowa and New Hampshire, the early voting states, and what I found was there is a tremendous hunger on their part for somebody, almost anybody, who will go out there, go on television, and really be forceful in attacking President Obama on health care and spending and the debt and all those things. And what I found is that there‘s a void right now. There seems to be a vacuum, and to many of them, Donald Trump is filling that vacuum, and they were happy to have him.
UYGUR: And is it about the birther issue, or is it something else that‘s driving them to Donald Trump?
BABINGTON: You know, for quite a few of these activists, I found that they didn‘t much care about the birther issue, that wasn‘t very important to them. For some it was. But for the others, it was more the fact that Trump would get out there and really forcefully take whacks at Obama and the congressional Democrats. That seemed to be the most important thing to them.
UYGUR: But Charles, you know, that‘s interesting, because, you know, all these Republicans, all they ever do is take really forceful whacks at the president. I don‘t see any of them really taking it easy on the president.
So, I‘m wondering, what is it? Is it just—is there an extra level with Trump, that he‘s just irrationally attacking the president at a whole new level? I can‘t figure it out. It seems like they all don‘t like him.
BABINGTON: Yes, that‘s a good question. I think Trump, you know, he is flamboyant, he really gets attention on television. So he has a celebrity.
He is very well known. And so, for example, even if a congressman like Paul Ryan who, as you know and your listeners know, is a very important member of Congress, the average American probably has not heard of him. So I think a lot of it is the celebrity factor. So, Donald Trump, with the big name recognition, goes on television and says these—and really takes these hits at the president, and that seems to be firing up these Republican activists who, again, are very hungry for that type of comment.
UYGUR: Charles, though based on your reporting of local leaders and the voters, et cetera, when the Republican leadership overall attacks them, as they have over the last couple of days, are they risking alienating their own voters?
BABINGTON: That‘s quite possible. I think these—this information about Trump‘s past that you have been going on—over very heavily in your show here is something that‘s really come to the surface, at least at this level, quite recently.
So, when I was talking with these activists just a few days ago, they did not talk about these things. And I‘m not even sure they were aware of them.
So, now, you know, I think a lot of this is reaction. A lot of people thought, well, we don‘t really need to take Trump seriously. You know, Karl Rove called him a joke. And if you do think he‘s joke, you don‘t take him seriously.
But now he‘s done well in some polls, he is getting this attention. And I think that‘s why you are starting to see this pushback, this backlash.
UYGUR: All right.
The Associated Press‘ Charles Babington.
Thank you for your time tonight.
BABINGTON: Thank you.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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