RUSH: Lord knows I’ve tried, and I guess I’m gonna have to give another stab at it today. I’ve tried to explain Trump to people. I’ve tried to explain Trump to the Never Trumpers. I’ve tried to explain Trump even to Trump voters who think they understand him. And I’ve tried to explain Trump to everybody here.
I mean, the Drive-Bys are going bonkers with all these Trump flip-flops. Trump lied. Trump didn’t mean it during the campaign. Trump misled everybody, his voters ought to be outraged, all of this stuff. I don’t know, folks. It’s kind of funny to watch because it’s evident to me that they still do not know who they’re dealing with here, and they do not know why he got elected. They still haven’t figured this out. Despite my best efforts, I have made such great efforts here to make it as simple as I can to people who simply refuse to understand or try to understand who and what Donald Trump is.
Let me try it this way. In the past, I have made a point of pointing out that Donald Trump is not ideological. Now, to me, that means more than he’s not just conservative or liberal. But I guess I’m gonna need to add to that. When I say he’s not ideological — and I’ll explain that again — he’s not a conservative, and he’s not a liberal. He knows what both things are. It’s just not how he looks at the world, and it’s not how he sees people. Now, to some people that’s refreshing and it’s good. To other people, it’s alarming.
Some people think that if he could be trained or reoriented toward seeing things and people ideologically, that things would be better off. But the man is 71 years old. He’s not gonna change the way he has always thought and believed. So let me try this. How about if I were to say to you that Donald Trump doesn’t really have a political philosophy? In other words, you can say “conservatism” and then bullet-point what it is. And you can say “liberalism,” and you can bullet-point what it is. It doesn’t take many to convey what liberalism is. But try bullet-pointing what Donald Trump is. And I defy anybody to be able to do it.
I mean, during the campaign, during the transition, and even now during the first 100 days, if you were given an assignment to bullet-point Donald Trump and to define, to say, for example, that there is a Trump philosophy that he is guided by inexorably, political philosophy, what would it be? I don’t think anybody would be able to come up with it. This is not a put-down, and it’s not a word game. It’s a sincere effort that I’m engaging in yet again to try to help as many people as possible understand who and what they’re dealing with in Donald Trump. There isn’t a particular political philosophy.
So the idea that one day he can be anti-NATO and then after certain things happen become pro-NATO, it doesn’t wash with people. “That doesn’t make sense. He is not being true to his principles.” Yes, he is, you just don’t know what they are. He lives and operates in a political world, but he’s not political. This is what people still don’t get. Now, he has to interact with political people. He’s gotta learn their language, he’s gotta be able to work with them and get things done within that, quote, unquote, business.
I mean, the Washington Post is beside itself today. They don’t know whether to be happy, sad, afraid, worried, in chronicling all these Trump flip-flops. Headline: “Trump Backs Off Fiscal Pledges and Adopts Centrist Policies That He Once Fought — President Trump is abandoning a number of his key campaign promises on economic policy, adopting instead many of the centrist positions he railed against while campaigning as a populist.”
Has Donald Trump ever called himself a populist? I don’t think Donald Trump’s ever called himself a populist. I think other people have called him a populist, and other people have called Steve Bannon a populist. But I don’t think Trump’s ever called himself that and he may not know what one is, within the political realm or definition. He’s not a political person, and that I think is leading to many people having just a devil of a time translating the guy, analyzing the guy, predicting the guy, projecting the guy.
So during the campaign, Trump labeled the ChiComs a bunch of currency manipulators. And he said this was gonna end. That these people are monkeying around with the currency and they’re doing horrible things to the trade deficit that we have and with the balance of payments. They’re doing horrible things for American jobs, and it’s because we’ve had dumb American leaders that haven’t known how to negotiate and haven’t known how to do things. And then yesterday Trump came around and said, “You know what? They’re not currency manipulating anymore.”
“Trump will not label China a ‘currency manipulator,’ he told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, despite a campaign pledge that he would apply the label on his first day in office. He also said he was open to reappointing Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen after saying last year that the central banker should be ‘ashamed’ of what she was doing to the country. And he embraced the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that he mocked last year and that has long been despised by conservatives who labeled it crony capitalism.”
I’m reading here from the Washington Post. And then they write, “The statements represent a move toward the economic policies of more centrist Republicans and even at times align with the approach of former president Barack Obama. Should he follow through on the newly articulated positions, it would suggest that the candidate who ran as the ultimate outsider is increasingly adopting a more moderate economic agenda. The reversals come amid a period of rapid evolution for Trump on both foreign and domestic issues.”
So here you have a political analysis of what they consider — I guess in the world of politics these would be considered flip-flops. Trump doesn’t think he’s flip-flopping on anything. He thinks he’s having success. Trump thinks he’s moving the goal posts in our direction.
RUSH: Let me just ask you a question, you Trumpsters out there, Trump voters. How many of you today are feeling betrayed? I ask this with no prejudice. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t feel it. I’m just asking. We got a bunch of Trumpists here, people who voted Trump. I’ve asked today, do you feel betrayed by this Import-Export Bank stuff? Do you feel betrayed by Janet Yellen? Do you feel betrayed by Trump supposedly flip-flopping? Nope.
I said, “Why not?”
“See what Jeff Sessions is doing?”
“Yeah. You mean immigration?”
“Damn straight. Trump is doing everything he promised. Have you seen what the job situation is?”
“Have you seen what the economic forecasts in the future are?”
“Why would we be unhappy, Mr. Limbaugh? Immigration, illegal immigration, was the number one domestic threat threatening to upend the very culture and political makeup of this country, and we had to get a handle on it, and whatever else Trump is doing, he is going full speed ahead on enforcing the border. I mean, Jeff Sessions goes down there and makes a speech and basically says, “This border is closed. You are not welcome here if you are coming illegally. You are not welcome. This border is closed. Don’t even try it.”
People are standing up and cheering. Export-Import Bank what? NATO? Nobody ever thought NATO was gonna be dwindling away and dissolving away into nothing. Anyway, the key to understanding Trump again — grab audio sound bite number 1 — December 8th, 2015, a year and a half ago, me on this program.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Right here in The Art of the Deal Trump says, if you’re serious in a negotiation about wanting something — and, by the way, being serious is the only time to enter into it — and if there’s something dead certain you’ve gotta have, you have got to start out with the most outrageous position. The opener has got to be so outrageous that the compromise is exactly what you want. The opener is the most outrageous demand that you can make. … Trump isn’t really gonna deport every Muslim, and he really isn’t gonna keep every Muslim outta here. … Trump does have some pretty serious ideas, and to get there, he’s gotta start out with one of these outrageous things. So that when Trump backs off of it is when he appears reasonable, which is when you can finally make the deal with him. It’s a strategy. Trump is bringing his business acumen to politics. That’s something that politicians don’t have: business acumen, many of them. And so they don’t recognize it, and they don’t understand it.
RUSH: So you might say then — that’s pretty brilliant, wasn’t it? For something that didn’t take longer than a minute. If you just heard that and nothing more, you could pretty much explain everything you think Trump’s flip-flopped on now. Because to him everything’s a negotiation. And so at that moment when I said, “So when Trump backs off, it’s when he appears reasonable,” what are they saying? He’s moderating, he’s moving to the center, oh, it’s good, it’s good, Trump is finally coming to our side!
And it may be that he’s finally gotten what he wants in all of these various things. It’s gotta be real hard, you know, when you stop and think, it’s gotta be real hard for career, lifetime, immersed in every aspect of politics, it’s gotta be hard for people like that to try to understand somebody who’s not, who is nevertheless in their world. And I think this is one of the great obstacles that Never Trumpers have, that some Trumpists, media types are having just the damnedest time analyzing this guy and trying to understand him.
It really isn’t hard, but the toughest thing for them to accept, I think, is that there isn’t a specific Trump philosophy. That’s why you’re never gonna be able to pin Trump down on. He doesn’t have a political philosophy like conservatism or liberalism or moderatism. He’s just day-to-day whatever he wants and needs, he’s got a behavior pattern and a process to get there, pure and simple.
RUSH: You know, it actually is kind of comical to me to watch — even we’re approaching now, what, two and a half months, and still the same daily mistakes are made, analyzing Trump as somebody he’s not. I understand the human nature of it. The establishment is of, by, and for politics, and everybody in it is of, by, and for politics and comports to the code of behavior of in, by and for political. Trump doesn’t because he doesn’t have a political system.
Like I said, you can’t bullet-point Trump’s political beliefs because he doesn’t have them. He’s got various things he wants, needs, wants to accomplish, based on circumstances at the moment, not based on a philosophy. Now, there’s a foundation. The foundation for Donald Trump is “Make America Great Again.” It’s the greatest place on earth and we’re gonna build it back up and it’s gonna be the greatest no matter what, compared to whoever, it’s gonna be the greatest. So, I mean, you can say that. But that’s not a political philosophy. That’s an objective or a series of goals.
RUSH: Now, look at this. Goes along with what we have been discussing. It’s a story at the Fox Business Network. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, Secretary General Stoltenberg, quote, “European NATO allies have really started to move in the right direction on meeting their spending goals.” Okay. So Trump on the campaign trail says: NATO’s worthless, it’s gotta go. The members aren’t paying their fair share, to hell with it, why should we defend all them? They don’t spend any of their money on defense. It’s about time they shared the burden.
“You can’t do that! You can’t attack NATO! NATO is sacrosanct!”
“Well, to hell with it, I’m doing it and I’m gonna keep doing it.” Then he becomes president and continues to attack NATO and goes to a meeting and he tells the world how NATO is funded. How many of you knew before Trump became president that there are no dues paid to NATO? You know how member nations continue their membership? They promise to spend minimum 2% of their GDP on defense. And if they don’t do that, then they are said to be in arrears, and this is what Trump was talking about.
Now all of a sudden Trump has raised holy hell, he’s called them out, and now the secretary general said, “You know what? A bunch of these European NATO allies have really started to move in the right direction on meeting spending goals.” Meaning they’re now making adjustments in their budgets, and they’re spending the required 2% on their own defense, as required for membership. And so Trump then said, “You know what, I like NATO.” Why not? It’s a success story. It’s not a flip-flop. Everything’s a negotiation. He starts out by threatening, you know, take the most outrageous position, “I’m getting rid of it. It’s a waste. It doesn’t help us at all.”
“You can’t do that! You can’t do that!”
“You watch me.” Everything’s a negotiation. Some of it based in common sense, some of it politically oriented, of course.
RUSH: You know, I say it, and it happens. So Spicer just made the point I just made about NATO. He’s in the press briefing now. The jackals in the media are trying to get him to say something else about Hitler today, but he hasn’t gone there yet. Instead he said (paraphrasing), “Well, the president is very happy with what’s happening at NATO. Remember, he called them out for not spending their fair share on defense, the GDP, and now that they’re moving in the right direction, the president thinks that’s progress.”
It’s exactly right. You have to listen to Trump in a nonpolitical way. When Trump starts talking on the campaign trail, “NATO’s pointless, it’s worthless. We’re paying the lion’s share and these people aren’t contributing, and that’s gonna end. This make America great, put America first.” People think, “Wow! We’re gonna get out of NATO, finally. He’s gonna close up NATO!” No. If you listen very carefully, he was complaining that the other members were not doing their part. Now they are moving in that direction. NATO fixed. Never said he was gonna get rid of it. And if he did, it was part of the style that Trump uses here.
And I’ll guarantee you that — folks, this is one of the ways that it matters. You know, the Obama administration didn’t have one person who had ever worked in business. Not one Obama cabinet member had ever seriously had a job, run a company, met a payroll in the American economy. And, as such, no way of understanding how business is done, from negotiations to any other aspect of it. In fact, people in Obama’s cabinet were arrogant and condescending and looking down on those people as a bunch of shysters and a bunch of cheats and people that kill their customers and they’re destroying the planet.
They have, again, no commonality. The Obama administration was filled with people that had deep resentment for people successful in the private sector, in business or what have you, with no way of understanding them or relating to them at all, and no desire to. Much of the Washington establishment, particularly the Democrat side of it, has the same view of American business and the private sector. And here comes Mr. Quintessential businessman entering their world, and they are not equipped to understand how he operates or what he’s doing. They’re plugging him and his business techniques into their political models, and it doesn’t work.
I have tried since Trump got into this race to tell people — if you’ve been listening for the duration, you know I have done everything humanly possible to try to explain Donald Trump to them. It’s not that hard. But these people have to be able to get themselves out of the closed cocoon, the closed caucus in which they live and operate. And they haven’t done that. They’ve tried to find ways to plug him into how and what they do, and in that case, he’s always going to look like a failure to them. ‘Cause they will never understand how somebody like him — and he’s not alone. His cabinet’s got people like him — they’ll never understand how these people operate. How they have to operate, what’s necessary for business success.
Business success is not determined by government policy. It’s not determined by regulation. The people succeed in business have to overcome all the obstacles put in their way by people like Democrats and Obama. That’s what Trump knows, how to overcome these guys, how to get the things they put in his way out of the way, while they don’t even know it’s happening. And that would go for much of the political commentariat, too, folks, that are totally immersed in politics and know nothing else, other than they swear allegiance to free markets, but that’s about it.
RUSH: We go to Houston. This is Ron. Great to have you with us. How you doing, sir?
CALLER: I’m doing good, Rush. Dittos from Houston.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I wanted to comment, if I could, on your opening statement about the ideology or lack thereof of President Trump. I think a lot of us who supported him, you know, throughout this campaign and now through his presidency, we realize that he understands basically all classes of Americans, unlike many of the politicians that ran the country before. He doesn’t think right or left. He sees the difference between what is right and what is wrong. And we know that he’s well grounded, he’s a very successful businessman, and if we sincerely believe — and this is why we support him — that he does want to make America great.
I think that we can sum up what his ideology is in one word, and that’s basically “winning.” He’s all about winning, and he gets things done. I mean, everyone remembers from the campaign trail where he was commenting over and over that America doesn’t win anymore. We don’t have any victories. And just hitting on the point that you mentioned at the outset about using his business acumen, he’s able to achieve extraordinary results in all of these negotiations which in fact are negotiations, most of the time is just strategy, always getting things done. And he’s doing everything that he can to make America great. I mean, the man doesn’t settle for second best. All you have to do is looks at life, look at his family. He’s not about being second best —
RUSH: Okay, let me ask you some questions, then, just to sort of nail this down. You do not consider Trump to have flip-flopped by launching the Tomahawks into Syria. You do not consider Trump to have flip-flopped to now say, “You know what? I don’t mind the Export-Import Bank.” you don’t consider Trump to have flip-flopped by now praising NATO?
CALLER: No, absolutely not, Rush. In fact, going back to the point about his business acumen, you have to be opportunistic, and when he sees opportunities present themselves, he’s going to seize those moments to get an advantage because of the situation. And it’s all designed to achieve what needs to be achieved. And he’s not gonna be sidetracked by what people think or say based on what his actions are. He remains laser focused on what the goals are.
RUSH: Let me tell you why I brought this up, folks. Thanks, Ron, very much for the call. Starting sometime last night — you know, I’m immersed in, well, show prep never ends. So I’m running across a number of different columns and blog posts that are across the spectrum — left wing, right wing — and there were quite a few of them that were very, very convinced that this was gonna blow up Trump’s coalition. That this constituted Trump lying to the people that elected him.
That all these flip-flops: now all of a sudden NATO’s fine, dropping bombs on Syria, Export-Import Bank. All these things that Trump had rejected that now look like flip-flops, and these people were convinced that this is who Trump’s always been, that he lied to his base. His base stupidly believed the lies, dumbly believed the lies. But now that Trump has exposed himself, that Trump’s base is going to abandon him or start questioning everything. And it is such a sad thing that it’s not taken very long for Trump to totally betray the people that voted for him.
And I read these — honestly, I’m not exaggerating. I read those with amusement, is why I opened the program today the way I did, by focusing on, again, how amazing it is that so many people who are considered to be political experts haven’t the slightest idea even yet why Trump got elected, what his base of supporters think about him. They have no idea. They have no clue understanding the connection that Trump’s base voters have for him. And that’s why I opened the program today.
I often have said that Trump has no ideology, and that I wish he did. I wish he had a conservative tendency. But he doesn’t. But I went further today in a never-ending quest to help the confused understand it, and
that’s what Ron was responding to here. I said, “Trump essentially doesn’t even have” — you know, we’ve got communism. We have Bushism. We have Clintonism. But there isn’t a Trumpism. Bullet-point for me what the Trump political philosophy is and you can’t do it, because he’s not a political guy.
Now, Ron said there’s one thing, there’s one bullet point: winning. There’s some things you have to understand about Trump. He loves America. He wants it to be the greatest place on earth. He thinks political people have made it the mess that it is. And he’s been very open and up front about how he goes about accomplishing things, and that’s totally ignored.
I think the arrogance of people who think or actually are in the establishment, think they’re part of it or actually are, they cannot help themselves, apparently. They take this guy, Trump, who is not a politician, in the career sense, and they plug him into their system and analyze what he does and what he says the way they analyze professional politicians and what they say and do, and they miss it. Which is not news. The news is they’re not even getting close to understanding it yet. Despite the never-ending efforts on the part of people like me to help them figure it out.