Gun nut: Trump, the one with the "best words," is incoherent when talking about firearms — and everything else

Trump's only strategy is to be contrarian — even to his own positions on gun laws

By Bob Cesca
Published May 26, 2016 9:59AM (EDT)
  (Reuters/Brendan McDermid/AP/Rick Bowmer/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Brendan McDermid/AP/Rick Bowmer/Photo montage by Salon)

What's been made abundantly clear during the earliest days of the general election is that Donald Trump intends to seize the initiative against Hillary Clinton by continuing what he's always done, which is to blurt all varieties of nonsense and conspiracy theories. Specifically, in the last week or so, Trump has accused Hillary of being a rape enabler and a murderer.

The rape thing is the subject of a disgustingly twisted Trump campaign video in which Hillary is linked to her husband's infidelities as if she's somehow a co-conspirator. Therefore, Hillary, the first female presidential nominee, is being accused by a serially philandering GOP candidate with a 70 percent unfavorable rating with women, of engaging in an alleged war on her own gender. The attack on this front can be partially attributed to Trump's crackpot adviser Roger Stone who co-authored a 2015 book titled, "The Clintons' War on Women." Yes, that's a real thing.

Along the same lines, Trump dropped another egregiously specious bombshell this week about Hillary being allegedly involved with the suicide of Clinton White House staffer Vince Foster. Trump called Foster's death "very serious" and "very fishy." By the way, many of us have noticed how Trump repeatedly uses the word "very." A lot. Among his litany of cheap superlatives, "very" is way up there. Everything he says is "very, very" this or that.

It's clear evidence that Trump, by his own admission, "knows words" and "has the best words." I'm not making that up. The Republican nominee for president once boasted, "I know words. I have the best words." Good job, Mr. Trump. You've officially met the criteria for graduating from kindergarten to first grade. Because you "know words." Seriously, is this worthy of bragging? Knowing words? It's not unlike boasting, "I can count to six. I have the best numbers."

Likewise, over the weekend, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of "not having her own words."

Indulge me as I repeat: Trump really said all of this "words" crap, including the observation that Hillary doesn't know any of her own words, since she occasionally uses a teleprompter during speeches -- just like thousands of other politicians of both parties, including Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, have done since the device was invented. Trump, on the other hand, has convinced his people that bullshitting his way through a stump speech, blurting non-sequiturs about his poll numbers and his "big beautiful doors" (the best words!), is the same as making a speech. It's not. Hillary, meanwhile, can speak at length about substance on a litany of issues, as she's proved in countless interviews and debates during the primaries. But when she delivers a speech, discipline and preparation dictate the use of notes or a prompter. Again, just like everyone else.

Sadly, whenever Trump takes a desperate stab at discussing substance, he further beclowns himself because, sorry, he really doesn't have the best words, or even mediocre words, for that matter. For example, there's the recent news in which Trump said he'd negotiate with our creditors to reduce the national debt, not realizing that he'd defraud U.S. bond holders in the process, therefore crashing the world economy. Smart. Obviously, Trump could use some notes -- or some basic schooling on the issues beyond skimming the Wikipedia entries for each one. Better words, perhaps.

Getting down to it, Trump's observation about Hillary's words occurred during a phone interview with Trump on the weekend edition of Fox & Friends. The segment began with a clip of Hillary Clinton speaking at the Trayvon Martin Foundation and attacking Trump for vowing to "over turn President Obama's actions to strengthen background checks." She also hit Trump for pledging to allow guns in classrooms. This, of course, instigated Trump's remarks about, literally, Hillary's lack of words.

That's when Trump said, "She talked about guns in classrooms. I don't wanna have guns in classrooms."

Um. Good?

But wait. Back in January, Trump said:

"I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases," Trump said, to scattered cheers during a campaign rally on Thursday night. "My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There's no more gun-free zones."

Exactly as Hillary described. Then again, that was January. Now is now. So, what did Trump tell Fox & Friends after saying he doesn't want guns in classrooms?

Trump continued, "Although in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly. Because teachers are, you know, things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable." Again, he clearly has the best words. I mean, who can argue with "because teachers are, you know, things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable"? More importantly, he just flip-flopped on guns in schools in less than 10 seconds, which might be a new record. Indeed, in this moment, he makes notorious flip-flopper Mitt Romney look like a pillar of steadfast integrity.

No wonder the far-right is so filled with inchoate derangement. Their leaders in the conservative movement, now including Donald Trump, keep saying things like, "She talked about guns in classrooms. I don't wanna have guns in classrooms. Although in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly." The cognitive dissonance must be staggeringly confusing for rank-and-file conservatives following along at home.

It's the consequence of the Republican Party's strategy of simply taking the opposite position to the White House, even if the White House's position is pegged off a Republican idea like, say, Obamacare. Or what about being forced to defend the GOP's filibusters of things like the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act for too many years until its passage in 2010? There's also Obama's amnesty plan, which was originally proposed and supported by Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The list goes on and on. Incidentally, Reagan and Bush 41 both supported a ban on assault rifles. They also had policy czars in their respective administrations -- posts that conservatives eviscerated Obama for employing. Reagan also remained on vacation during various emergencies. Reagan and other Republican presidents also wore a tan suit. These are all forbidden now that there's an African-American president, and conservative trolls as well as talk radio and Fox News hosts will tell you the same thing.

Yet this week, Trump said there should and shouldn't be guns in schools.

Imagine trying to hold all these conflicting ideas in your head at the same time while remaining, you know, sane.

During a pivotal 2002 episode of The West Wing, "Posse Comitatus," the Republican nominee for president, Rob Ritchie, played by James Brolin, reacted to the shooting of a Secret Service agent by saying, "Guns, boy, I don't know." We all laughed at the time, especially when President Bartlet turned to Ritchie and said, "In case you were wondering, 'guns, boy, I don't know,' is when I decided to kick your ass." Likewise, and beyond his flip-flops, let's repeat: Trump highlighted our national gun massacre crisis by saying, "Because teachers are, you know, things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable."

I'm sure she's already decided to kick his ass, but this childishly ridiculous line should motivate Hillary, and anyone who's been impacted by this mass-shooting crisis, to utterly destroy Trump throughout the coming months. Even though he obviously has the best words.

Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Elections 2016 Gop Primary Guns Hillary Clinton Second Amendment