Before people get too excited about Trump acting “presidential” for 60 minutes last night, let me remind you of the dishonest, crude, bigoted, con artist he has been for all his life and especially the past 624 days since he officially became a candidate for president.
The conservative attack on Trump’s character should tell you everything you need to know about him as a human being. His fellow Republicans have called him “a bully,” “a sniveling coward,” “utterly amoral,” “a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot,” “a toxic mixture of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness, and nonsense,” “a cancer,” “the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency,” “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,” “racist,” “a national disgrace,” “a phony, a fraud,” and a person characterized by “misogyny and absurd third grade theatrics.” You find similar assessments (in essence if not tone) by any number of “Never Trump” conservatives in the media.
If that’s not enough, consider the people with whom Trump associates. He has no less than five white nationalist sympathizers as key advisers: White House strategist Steve Bannon, senior advisor Stephen Miller, deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant Michael Anton, and special assistant Julia Hahn. White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway is such a shameless dissembler (i.e. liar) that there is growing support in the media to not interview her. His appointments include a full-on conspiracy theorist wing-nut (Michael Flynn), a Secretary of Education with no relevant educational experience but millions of dollars in donations (Betsy DeVos), and a Secretary of the Treasury who specialized in bogus foreclosures (Steven Mnuchin).
Let’s not forget that Trump still refuses to release his tax returns. Moreover, he falsely claimed (i.e. lied) that his audit by the IRS prevented him from making his tax returns public. And we still don’t know the full extent of his ties to Putin and Russia (and the Republican Congress is doing it damnedest to make sure we never know). One thing we do know, however, is that Trump is more than willing to use the office of the president to benefit his own businesses and those of his family.
The fact that people are surprised or encouraged by Trump’s ability to control his impulses for 60 minutes while reading a teleprompter shows how ridiculously low expectations are for his behavior. But he’s still the same old Trump. Can a 70 year-old self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, pathologically lying leopard change his spots? If you think so, then Trump has some real estate (lessons) to sell you.