Brandon Martinez / Non-Aligned Media
So now that Donald Trump has secured the presidency, the populist facade that won him the election is melting away. The real Trump – one very different from the carefully crafted “anti-establishment” persona he built up during the election – has come out to play.
In a recent speech on his “Thank You” appreciation tour, Trump brazenly told a crowd of supporters that most of his most memorable campaign promises, such as “draining the swamp” of corrupt Washington bureaucrats and lobbyists and putting “crooked Hillary” Clinton in jail, were little more than empty political slogans that, in his own words, “played well” to rile up crowds before the vote.
“You’ve been hearing me say that it’s a rigged system, but now I don’t say it anymore because I won… now I don’t care,” Trump said.
As Trump mused about his campaign battles with Clinton, a spectator began chanting ‘lock her up!’, a popular slogan at Trump rallies. “That plays great before the election, now we don’t care,” Trump said of the chant, laughing. During the campaign Trump repeatedly called for Clinton to be prosecuted and jailed for her well-publicized misconduct as secretary of state, culminating in a direct Trump threat to “appoint a special prosecutor” to look into her situation if he was elected. Under a Trump presidency Clinton “would be in jail,” he said. But since victory, Trump has backed off that pledge, telling the New York Times that it’s “just not something that I feel very strongly about” and that he wouldn’t want to “hurt” the Clintons, who he has in the past praised as “terrific, talented people” and “close friends.”
Then Trump confessed that his much-touted “drain the swamp” call was just another strategic ploy to manipulate voters. “I hated it,” Trump said of the slogan, musing how he reluctantly spoke it at rallies on the wisdom of his campaign advisors. “It’s so hoaky. That is so terrible.” After it became popular with crowds “I started saying it like I meant it,” Trump said.
None of this should come as a shock to seasoned watchers of politics. When George W. Bush ran for office in 2000, he told crowds that America should not be involved in “nation building” and foreign adventurism. Once in office, he schemed from day one to invade Iraq, demanding his foreign policy team “find” a pretext to go to war. During his 2008 election run Obama railed against the excesses of Bush’s wars and imperial overreach, only to expand drone strikes, increase the troop presence in Afghanistan, start a new war in Libya, and initiate the covert proxy war in Syria by supplying arms to rebels.
The only thing consistent about American politicians is how boldly they lie and deceive the public to get elected, and then pursue polar opposite policies to what they campaigned on.