Things change, or at least the words do. Those who obsess over how President Donald Trump’s earlier patter compares with what he says or does now should remember that wiggling is what politicians do.
This is particularly true for politicians and salesmen who say they are not politicians or salesman for the simple reason that people don’t like those breeds.
This is also true whether the president or a surrogate does the talking.
Ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who like ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani seems to take extra license as a surrogate, stated one year ago Thursday: “Robert Mueller is a superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down.”
The rest is becoming history.
Let’s look back further, to another outdated remark from the Trump camp. Asked in February 2016 by then-friend Joe Scarborough who was to blame for the Israel-Palestine conflict, the president-to-be said: “Let me be sort of a neutral guy.
“A lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that [peace] deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault is it.”
From one coy comment alone, you couldn’t guess that the “neutral guy,” once elected, would signal unqualified wall-to-wall support for the Netanyahu administration in Israel — including the controversial move of our embassy to Jerusalem.
As for any real-life changes on the ground, well, the Gaza violence and killings this week echo those of the summer of 2014 when Barack Obama was president.
Two years ago this month, Trump boomed to rally-goers: “We cannot allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”
But this week, he made a big concession to those he called thieves and rapists — forgiving a Chinese telecommunications firm for violating trade sanctions before any substantial giveback.
Only last year, ex-aide Steve Bannon had Trump spouting a lot of populism about taking on the “Republican establishment,” the corrupt elite of Wall Street, and so forth.
In Bannon’s absence, the GOP seems less challenged from within.
And few would have expected North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un to change so quickly in Trump’s view from a fat little “Rocket Man” to being “very open and I think very honorable” based on plans for a meeting.
For the average politician, it seems, the spin of the moment take precedence over principle.
At least in this way, Trump appears to fit the type.