I have always been fascinated by speech and what it can tell us about the speaker.
This is especially true for President Trump. One cannot find a better way to get inside the brain of POTUS than to hear him when he’s not using a teleprompter.
David Frum, a speechwriter for former President Bush, commenting on a teleprompter speech by Trump said that “he saw a president who wished he were somewhere else because he had been compelled to pretend something so radically false to his own nature.” In other words, when Trump uses the teleprompter, he appears to be rational, but when he adlibs, he can throw a tantrum, react to the audience’s chanting, use profanity, and simply be himself.
Not long ago, there was a natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The Washington Post quoted Trump as follows: “I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.” Trump’s self-congratulatory message was only exceeded by the infamous picture of him throwing paper towels to a throng of Puerto Ricans.
Turning to the Charlottesville demonstrations, Trump stated his infamous there were “good people on both sides” remarks putting forth the notion of moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and those who opposed them.
The next day, he addressed the same issue using a teleprompter and was far more coherent. As MSNBC put it: “Trump tends to cause the most trouble for himself when he says what’s actually on his mind.”
In previous letters I’ve called “45” is a narcissist, a racist, a xenophobe, a bully, and someone in need of constant praise. Given the opportunity, Trump loves to go off-script. This is one of the few things he is good at. He plays to his base and appeals to their fears. He often makes statements which the sycophants at Fox News love to quote and the MSNBC pundits mock.
It is interesting to note that Trump is fixated upon overturning almost everything that Obama achieved. This includes everything from the repeal of Obamacare to withdrawal from the Iranian accord, which led one wag to talk about “Obama envy.”
When describing Trump’s behavior, I have often thought of him as a “circular firing squad.” since his off the cuff remarks always end up hurting him.
Read any speech Trump makes. It is revelatory! He is a loose cannon. The Democrats have a shot at beating him in 2020, but the wily Trump can always go off script, rile up his audience, and make news.
He has been compared to Hitler in his ability to mesmerize a crowd. And herein lies the danger. Charismatic leaders (even dumb ones) are dangerous. Caveat emptor!
Dr. Hal Sobel