Do Trump's Border Moves Reveal a Clever Machiavellian or a Bumbling Doofus?

The political advantages of the president's zigzagging on family separation and the "Muslim ban" are not obvious.


White House

The president announces a strict new border policy aimed at preventing foreigners from harming Americans. Although it is completely foreseeable that the policy will hurt many innocent people and provoke a bipartisan public outcry, the president does not seem to anticipate the objections that eventually lead him to retreat from the policy at the urging of his advisers. Afterward he expresses regret that he listened to his advisers, wishing that he had stuck with the tough policy he initially favored instead of the watered-down version he felt compelled to accept.

That scenario, which played out during Donald Trump's first year in office as he tried to impose restrictions on travelers from Muslim-majority countries, was repeated last week as he suddenly modified a "zero tolerance" policy that had separated thousands of children from parents accused of illegally crossing the southern border. This pattern might reflect a sophisticated political strategy that aims to satisfy Trump's base while first antagonizing and then mollifying more moderate allies and voters. If so, Trump and his underlings have done an impressive job of simulating ineptitude.

It seems more likely that Trump is trying to do what he believes is the right thing, only to be frustrated by legal and political realities. That explanation is more consistent with the chaotic implementation of these policies and with Trump's longstanding views on immigration and border control.

The travel restrictions embodied in the executive order that Trump issued a week after his inauguration grew out of what he had originally described as "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Presumably someone told him that an explicit religious test for granting admission to the United States was constitutionally problematic. Trump's order instead banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, initially including legal permanent residents of the United States as well as people legally working or attending school here. That policy caused much confusion and consternation at airports, provoked protests from Republicans as well as Democrats, and ran into immediate trouble in the courts. It was repeatedly revised, and the Supreme Court is about to rule on the latest version.

The Court probably will uphold that order. But Trump caused needless trouble for himself by recommending a comprehensive "Muslim ban" during his campaign and by rushing to issue a half-baked policy without consulting the people who would be charged with carrying it out or talking to advisers who could have suggested ways to make it more legally defensible (such as making it clear from the outset that the ban did not apply to green-card holders). The administration's lawyers initially seemed ill-prepared to defend the travel ban, and Trump undermined their efforts by complaining that the Justice Department had talked him into a "watered down, politically correct version" of his original order. On the face of it, Trump tripped over his own feet by recklessly following his instincts.

Likewise with the policy of criminally prosecuting virtually everyone who illegally enters the United States, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last month. Sessions knew that "zero tolerance" would break up families, since children could not legally be detained with their parents. Presumably Trump also knew that. Yet somehow he did not anticipate the uproar that would be caused by stories of crying children snatched from their parents and transported hundreds or thousands of miles away. Despite the public outcry, Trump steadfastly defended the policy before suddenly giving in last week by promising to keep families together from now on, although it remains unclear how that goal can be legally reconciled with his commitment to continue "zero tolerance."

Once again, Trump wishes he had stayed the course. "Privately," The New York Times reports, "the president has groused that he should not have signed the order undoing separations." Yesterday Trump tried to compensate for the reversal by declaring that people caught crossing the border without permission should be summarily sent back (an approach that is actually inconsistent with "zero tolerance," which calls for criminal prosecution and punishment prior to deportation). The political advantages of such zigzagging, which does not makes the president look tough or smart, are not obvious.

Trump is not just catering to the anti-immigrant sentiment of his supporters but following through on opinions he has publicly expressed since the 1990s. While it's true that Trump criticized Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, for advocating policies that would encourage illegal immigrants to "self-deport" (a stance that Trump described as "crazy," "maniacal," and "mean-spirited"), he has a long history of advocating not only crackdowns on illegal immigration but reductions in legal immigration. "I'm opposed to new people coming in," he said while seeking the Reform Party's presidential nomination in 1999. "We have to take care of the people who are here."

In The America We Deserve, the book Trump published the following year, his discussion of immigration sounds pretty similar to what he has been saying since he began his 2016 campaign. "America is experiencing serious social and economic difficulty with illegal immigrants who are flooding across our borders," he wrote. "We simply can't absorb them. It is a scandal when America cannot control its own borders….Our current laxness toward illegal immigration shows a recklessness and disregard for those who live here legally….It's irresponsible to give a helping hand to outsiders so long as there is one American deprived of a livelihood or basic services." He added that "legal immigrants do not and should not enter easily" and warned that the U.S. must be "extremely careful not to admit more people than we can absorb."

Trump's sense that gains for immigrants come at the expense of U.S. citizens is of a piece with his zero-sum view of international trade, a perspective that also was influencing his thinking long before he sought the GOP's 2016 nomination. Unlike, say, his current stances on abortion and gun control, Trump's views on trade and immigration seem sincere as well as politically expedient. That history reinforces the impression that he is going with his gut on these issues, heedless of the practical and political consequences. Maybe that is the impression he is deliberately creating so his opponents will underestimate him, a plan that has been in the works for decades. He sure fooled me.

NEXT: After Gay Wedding Cake Ruling, Supreme Court Punts Floral Arrangements Case

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do…


    The facts are in the polls. Two weeks of this has significantly eroded the Democrats’ generic ballot advantage. The facts are what they are. This stuff works politically. Most of the country and especially the voters who are disposed to support Republicans do not support open borders.

    The facts are what they are. I don’t see why Reason feels the need to lie and pretend they are otherwise.

    1. The facts are in the polls. Two weeks of this has significantly eroded the Democrats’ generic ballot advantage.

      On the contrary, the Democrats have all the momentum right now. And there’s still plenty of time before November for the Drumpf regime to engage in even more Nazi behavior that convinces normal people to get on the right side of history by joining #TheResistance. I’m as confident as I’ve ever been in the #BlueWave that will produce a Democratic House majority.

      1. They have lots of momentum, that is why their lead is shrinking. You called it.

        1. I think they’re going to end up regretting all that big talk about a “blue wave”. If they gain seats but not total control it will be a victory that looks like a defeat.

          1. Kind of like Jutland, but with less shipping losses.

          2. They’re running on tax increases, open borders, and identity politics. The Dems will be lucky if they don’t lose 15 more seats in the House along with several Senate seats.

      2. What Nazi behavior? No one is forcing people to illegally cross the border like the Jews were forced into the concentration camps.

        1. More like the behavior of the Roosevelt administration who turned the Jewish refugees away. Then they were killed by the Nazis.

          Read about the St. Louis.

          1. Because South Americans are fleeing a Holocaust? Just how low are you willing to go to justify open borders I wonder. Their situation is nothing like the Jews.. who had no country of their own, fleeing genocide.

            1. Some of the asylum seekers are claiming that they are fleeing for their lives. I do not believe that they are all lying.

              At the time of the St. Louis the Jews were persecuted and encouraged to leave. There was not yet a Holocaust it was 1939.

              It is not really a fair comparison I agree. My point is we are talking about refusing immigrants and asylum seekers which is more analogous than comparing the detention camps to the Holocaust.

              1. If it is not a fair comparison then why did you make it?

          2. +1 Manzanar

      3. for the Drumpf regime

        I am going out on a limb and assuming you spell everyone’s name as that of their Old World ancestors, otherwise you’re just another fucking idiot who gets talking points from a fucking comedian.


        1. #Recognizeatroll.

          1. No, I just rarely post.

        2. Oh, for fuck’s sake, it’s a troll/ parody account.

          1. Is he new? He looks new.

            1. Don’t look him in the eyes. He hates that.

            2. No, not new, just quiet.

              Quick rundown: liberals are idiots, conservatives are idiots with bibles.

    2. You are totally right. Families being callously separated has had nothing to do with it. Government agents stealing children from their parents under false pretenses was just a leftist ruse, and never actually happened. It’s all propaganda. True Americans want families to be broken up, because that’s what it means to be Americans! Anyone who doesn’t like it is a red-diaper-doper-baby.

      1. Maybe it is the worst thing ever. That doesn’t change the fact that the public for the most part doesn’t see it that way.

        1. To most of the country it’s a shrug. They get reunited att some point in the deportation process.

      2. “Government agents stealing children from their parents under false pretenses was just a leftist ruse, and never actually happened.”

        Lacking in the past news stories on family separation was the admission the government cannot house families together. Now it is finally in every article I read on the BBC and, unsurprisingly, the “zero tolerance” policy is gone for prosecuting illegal aliens with kids because it is illegal to house kids with adults together.

        “The CBP chief said parents cannot be prosecuted if US officials no longer intend to separate them from their children, who are legally not allowed to be kept in adult detention facilities.

        The border official’s decision paves the way for US immigration enforcement to revert largely to the approach under the Obama administration.

        It means US border agents who stop undocumented adult migrants accompanied by children will hand them a court summons and allow them to go on their way, rather than hold them in a detention facility. Adults unaccompanied by children will still be detained.”

        “Hey, illegal aliens, we know you intended to sneak into the country illegally but please show up to this court date. Pinky promise to come?”


      3. This true American 2nd generation immigrant is all for enforcing the laws that we currently have….. To bad you boy Chewy Chumer does not want to bother to even attempt to change the law

  3. Maybe it’s not about political advantage.

    1. Burnt or BBQ’d?

  4. We’ve gone from treating the immigration laws as mere guidelines to actually enforcing them.

    Now, the immigration laws may be wrong, which would mean amending them – and Congress are the ones to do that. I don’t know the current status of Trump’s negotiations with Congress, nor what his ultimate end game is.

    Does *he* know what his ultimate end game is? It’s possible he’s just winging it and seeing what happens. But that’s just a guess.

    1. Immigration laws are guidelines. Administrations have the authority and duty to put rational priorities for enforcement.

      Zero tolerance means less resources available to protect and investigate those who are trying to enter to do harm. Every toddler held in a tent camp is one more MS13 member who slips away because the agents are busy chasing families.

      1. So the number of MS13 members among illegals is equal to the number of children.
        That certainly is not a fact favoring open borders

        1. *equal or greater than

        2. 1) Hyperbole. Look it up.
          2) Not putting children into camps doesn’t mean open borders. Not charging misdemeanors doesn’t mean open borders.

          1. It’s one continued point of contention here on this forum. Open-Border is not often strictly defined, and so everyone just assumes many of the stances of the opposition. This goes until it’s approximately a gloss for pro-immigration in general.

            That’s a broad brush, but there’s a lot of truth to that statement.

            1. Look, it’s real simple BUCS, you either support The President’s immigration enforcement priorities or you’re an open borders CUCK-FAGGIT. There’s nothing in between.

      2. Happy Chandler is clearly a troll account.

      3. lol…. fer fook sake… The law is the law…. There is ZERO grey area about whether or not someone sneaks into our country.

        your bias amuses me.

  5. I think it’s even a simpler explanation:

    Trump repeats the opinions of whomever he last interacted with.

    So if he last talked with Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions, he goes all in on his zero tolerance policy.

    And then after Ivanka talks to him, he retreats and becomes a softie on immigration.

    He’s like your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving who frames his opinions around whatever the talking heads on Fox News are discussing at the moment.

    1. ^ Nailed it

    2. The one constant, across all politics, is that everyone is making big decisions, and no one has the information to do so.

      People view this as an insult, but it’s just a truism. It’s a core philosophical point in libertarianism.

      And so, he is not a bumbling doofus, he’s just a human being. His restrictions are the same as anyone else.

      1. That is a very good point.

        1. I think it’s important to reinforce it. Many, many arguments underlying still assume the issue is only who is in charge.

          1. That’s probably because one sides entire shtick is make the guy in charge the one who makes all big decisions whereas the other side doesn’t really know what it wants because it doesn’t really understand the question.

      2. And so, he is not a bumbling doofus…


        …he’s just a human being.


      3. That is a good description of all of them. They’re all bumbling doofusses – Trump is just bad at hiding it.

    3. You have no way of proving this or any information to even suggest it. This is like me trying to describe the surface of the far side of the moon to you with binoculars.

  6. There are elements in the White House who, for whatever reason, push for maximum disruption over effective policy. The first travel ban was announced with no planning laid ahead and enforced with little guidance to the people on the front lines to enforce it. If it was meant to be effective, it would not have been rolled out in a manner that guaranteed haphazard decisions on the front lines and immediate court challenges and injunctions.

    There could have been a political calculation that the people would take his side on the issue. I think this greatly overestimates the backing of the public.

    There could have been a calculation that the hubbub would overshadow other, less popular policies.

    Certainly, it was done in some sense to own the libs.

    One thing it’s obvious is that it was not done to be an effective policy or solve any actual problems.

    1. Mostly what is going on is the media losing its mind and pretending policies that would be no big deal had any other administration done them are somehow constitutional crisis.

      1. Fox had their turn for 8 years. It’s CNN and MSNBC’s turns now!

        1. What did Fox lose its mind over that Obama did that was really no big deal? I honestly don’t watch Fox News. Libertarians seem to be obsessed with it. So, please tell me what they did. I understand that all things must be equal between left and right. So, please enlighten me since I haven’t watched Fox news in 20 years.

          1. Why are you so interested into working yourself into a rage-induced aneurism? It was a joke!

            1. ?

  7. We’ll see in November if he gets his filibuster proof majority.

    Float like a butterfly, sting like a bumble bee.

    1. You realize that a bee’s sting is a suicide attack, yes?
      Wasps, now. Wasps are sewing machines. But of course ‘wasp’ is now a dog-whistle word. sigh

      1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a tarantula hawk”

        1. Know who else is a trarantula hawk?

  8. Maybe he’s a clever doofus?

      1. A Machiavellian doofus? A clever bumblebee?

        1. Bumblebees are clever. I once saw one change the tire on a car. Racoons are much faster though with their almost human hands.

          1. Raccoons are lazy, though, and they’re dicks. They’ll steal your car and joyride around on the flat tire until the rim hits asphalt and the wheel gets all fucked up.

            1. ^ Is it racist?

              1. Only against members of the procyonid family.

            2. That’s better than a DUI.

      2. That’s what I was thinking.

      3. Or a bunglecuntz and codswallowing shit weasel.

  9. I don’t think this effects thousands of children. Most of the kids we see pictures of are unaccompanied minors or used by criminals to game the system. Those kids are in the safest place they can be. Why don’t you care about the safety of children Sullum?
    Immigration also hurts those other countries. All the men leaving to work here contributes to the chaos there.

    1. That number came from the DHS spokesperson.

      It has always been legal to take children from those not their parents. If they are not accompanied by a legal guardian, they are unaccompanied minors.

  10. Idiocracy explained all this. Either Trump’s an idiot who believes his own nonsense or he’s smart enough to know his supporters believe this nonsense so he pretends to believe it too.

    Go back to the campaign when he talked about his “simple plan” to defeat ISIS – bomb the shit out of them and take their oil, waterboard “and a lot worse” captured terrorists, go after the terrorists’ families. When people explained that those last two are war crimes and the military would refuse to follow such orders, Trump insisted they’d do whatever he told them to do. And as far as the first one goes, does Trump seriously believe we have the capability to carpet-bomb half the Middle East, that we have thousands of long-range bombers and millions of bombs? Does he not grasp just how big the Middle East is and how small a bomb crater is in comparison? And nobody’s going to say anything about us killing tens of millions of innocent civilians? This is the sort of shit you say when you’re a drunk redneck sitting around having a few beers with your buddies, it’s not a serious proposal.

    1. And yet here we are, Trump talking about just catching illegals and throwing them back across the border like due process ain’t a thing. There’s a reason they refer to “alleged” criminals, you’re not actually an illegal immigrant until a court says you’re an illegal immigrant and there’s a *process* for making that determination. To the extent that some people will applaud Trump saying “fuck this shit, just throw them all out”, you’re taking it as an article of faith that your Messiah is infallible and you and your whole cult can go eat a big bag of dicks as far as I’m concerned. You’ve abandoned the idea of a republic and embraced a God-Emperor. We know where that’s gonna end.

      1. With everyone getting a gold-plated mansion staffed by immigrants?

          1. You’re all welcome. Bows.

      2. If I have to prove I’m a citizen at a checkpoint 100 miles inland we can throw them out.

  11. Look, we’re talking about a guy who, on his first venture into politics, beat the experienced candidates of one party to secure their nomination, and then won the general election despite being outspent by several to one, despite having most of the media as mortal enemies, and despite having the establishment of “his own” party covertly or even openly opposing him.

    And he’s a billionaire married to a supermodel, who shags porn stars. Never mind if that’s your gig, think it’s easy to accomplish?

    “Bumbling doofus” isn’t a rational evaluation, it’s trash talk. A bumbling doofus would never have gotten where he is. The smart move is to assume that whatever he’s doing is well thought out, and if you don’t understand it, he didn’t mean for you to understand it.

    He’s a Machavellian who finds it useful to be thought stupid by his enemies, and to have them too outraged to think straight. It’s amazing me how many people don’t pick up on that, and walk around in an outraged daze as a result.

    1. This is not his first venture into politics. He ran for president in 2000. He also switched from the Reform then Democratic parties in the succeeding years until landing on the GOP.

      1. He defeated what was then considered the strongest group of GOP candidates in a very long time to win the nomination. He then beat Hillary who was, despite the claims after the election that she was a horrible candidate, was considered at the time to be unbeatable. This when the conventional wisdom was that Trump was so bad the Republicans would not even be able to hold the House. He won and the Republicans held both houses of Congress. He has managed to get the biggest tax reform in 30 years through Congress and was a single vote in the Senate away from repealing Obamacare.

        We will see what happens in the midterms. But the blue wave that everyone was so certain of as recently as a few months ago seems to have fizzled. The Democrats have at best a 50 50 chance at taking the House and very little chance at retaking the Senate.

        At what point do the results cause people to conclude Trump can play this game?

        1. At no point. They’ll go to their deaths thinking they got beat like a rug by a drooling moron.

          1. They probably will Brett. And that fact more than anything explains Trump’s success. He has their number and they are too arrogant to ever change so that he doesn’t anymore.

    2. There does seem to be a bit of Sun Tzu in him too, that bit about “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

      1. Yup. I’ve read some of his books, and he is not what one would describe as an intellectual. BUT he does have really good gut instincts with a lot of things.

        One of his skills is clearly being able to figure out how to throw his opponents off guard. As some have said he’s the greatest Troll of all time. He weaponizes this fact, because he knows that half +/- of the country agrees with him on most of his positions. He gets the other side to freak out and show their true hand (which they usually like to hide), which has often tilted those in the middle his direction, because most people REALLY don’t believe in the extreme leftist point of view.

        So at worst I think one could describe him as an idiot savant… But that’s still not an entirely bad thing to be. It’s better than being a plain old idiot like most of the current Democratic politicians.

        1. He gets the other side to freak out and show their true hand (which they usually like to hide)

          In the last six months, he’s gotten the left to admit that they actually want gun confiscation and open borders, and that their calls for “reasonable” laws are just a pose.

          Another year of this, maybe less, and he’ll have them admitting they want anyone voted for him to be executed.

          1. Exactly. That’s basically where they’re almost at now. They’re basically saying harassment and violence is totes okay against Trump voters! That’s going to go over AWESOME in swing states…

    3. I don’t know. I heard if he had taken his inheritance and put it all in a mutual fund he would be several billion dollars richer than he is now.

      1. No, that was completely fake news.

        “Donald Trump’s net worth has grown about 300% to an estimated $4 billion since 1987, according to a report by the Associated Press. But the real estate mogul would have made even more money if he had just invested in index funds. The AP says that, if Trump had invested in an index fund in 1988, his net worth would be as much as $13 billion.

        The S&P 500 has grown 1,336% since 1988.”

        However, Trump didn’t have anywhere close to 1 billion in 1987.

        “In 1982, after running his father’s firm for eight years, Forbes magazine estimated Trump’s worth at $200 million.”

        Additionally, Trump inherited a portion of his Father’s estate in 1999, an amount that has never been publicly disclosed but would probably be between $100-$200 million.…..0-million/

        And keep in mind that Trump managed to spend billions on his personal life style over the last 40 years.

      2. Yes, if he had spent the last several decades living in a trailer park on dog food, instead of living a lifestyle that costs more in a month than the average person’s lifetime earnings. Anybody can match the market if they just leave the money alone.

        You have to beat the market to match it AND take substantial profits all the while.

      3. Yeah, also he swung some serious deals on his own, with a loan (not given free and clear) from his father. He basically built himself up to being about as rich as his dad before he even “took over” the family business. This was all through bluster and getting himself in WAY over his head, but managing to pull it off. His dad was a slow and steady kinda guy. Donald basically said fuck it and skipped straight to the top.

        He did go broke in the early 90s, but that actually just makes his current net worth even more impressive since that was really when he had to start over, and when his “return” should be calculated from. He was 500 million in the hole at that point.

        Bottom line is TONS of people have been born to families as rich as Trump was, and almost none of them are anywhere near as loaded as he is. Also none of them are president of the most powerful country on earth sooo…

        I don’t like his style, but he’s not completely inept as many try to fool themselves into thinking.

        1. Sorry, but he is completely inept. Incompetent is to nice a term…A downright ratfukin shit weazel and traitor to freedom loving peoples is more his speed. coupled with complete and total ignorance of all things. Devoid of any humanity. He is not a leader for democracy he is more aligned with being a Pricktator. He showers praise on his new friends like North Koreas dick-tator..The Philippines dick-tator and the Russian and Chinese Dick-tators.These are his idols. And his supporters are behind him cheering on these villains.

          1. LOL

            Okay, if you say so. I mean he definitely is used to being THE BOSS, but that’s how the business world works. If we’re all being honest I’m pretty sure everybody would prefer to be the dictator if they could. I’d love to rule the world, I’d get this place fixed up right quick! But I’m quite sure Trump is not planning to actually act on that and try to actually become a dictator, sooo…

    4. Yes yes. 99th Dimensional Chess. He’s so smart that no mere mortal can possibly comprehend it.

      Scott Adams, is that you?

      1. Adams called the election correctly. did you? His track record is a lot better than yours. Sorry but “I believe whatever I want to be true” isn’t very convincing.

        1. I think what Adams is missing is that Trump’s epic combover is covering an equally epic pointy head.

    5. +1 “Nth Dimensional Chess Master”

    6. And he’s a billionaire married to a supermodel, who shags porn stars. Never mind if that’s your gig, think it’s easy to accomplish?

      Outside Bumfuck, Idaho, many people recognize that inheriting money is not particularly admirable.

      Outside Bumfuck, Idaho, people recognized Melania Trump (if they recognized her at all) not as a supermodel but as a former downscale nude model who snagged one commercial and built on a sketchy immigration record by agreeing to marry a flabby old rich guy.

      Outside Bumfuck, Idaho, most people recognize that raw-dogging porn stars not only is relatively easy (if you have the standards for it) but also is little to be proud of while your wife is home with the infant.

      Trump is the no-count goober’s idea of what a successful, educated, wealthy person must be like.

      1. You are a complete loser who has likely never made more than minimum wage in your life. You are the definition of ignorant bumfuck. Stop projecting.

        1. Well, at least it wasn’t just the same copy-pasted insult again. The guy writing the Rev Kirkland account is getting better, at least.

      2. Haters gon hate.

      3. As someone that loves mountain biking and hiking, Idaho is a beautiful place. I’ve found places there and in Montana that look like European landscape minus all the people and windmills.

        1. Beautiful place . . . unless you’re looking for a strong school, a bet-your-life hospital, culture, or a decent economy.

          Maybe nice to visit, though.

          1. LOL

            Why don’t you look up test scores by state again idiot. Idaho does just fine… Better than shitholes like California!

            1. statesrankedstudenttestscores/ statesrankedstudenttestscores

              Couldn’t help myself! Basically the list is almost like a list of Whitest States Evar, with all these HORRIBLE conservative states somehow actually coming out ahead in their test scores… How could those EVIL RIGHT WINGERS do it???

              Also, Idahos unemployment rate has always been below the national average. The Great Recession might as well have not even happened there. It’s so funny how people get caught up in their silly little bubbles, imagining things to be completely different from how they actually are.

          2. Beautiful place . . . unless you’re looking for a strong school, a bet-your-life hospital, culture, or a decent economy.

            So all those left-wing Californians are migrating to Idaho and Montana because they DON’T want those things?

      4. So much love in this comment for Americans. Oh yeah love is definitely trumping hate.

    7. He’s a Machavellian who finds it useful to be thought stupid by his enemies, and to have them too outraged to think straight. It’s amazing me how many people don’t pick up on that, and walk around in an outraged daze as a result.

      It worked for Bush 2, it can work for Trump 1.

      1. One of the creepiest things I ever saw with Bush was a speech he gave while he was governor of Texas. He WAS KILLER. Like a totally different person. At that moment I realized there were only 2 possibilities. He was either acting dopey on purpose, OR perhaps the pressure of being Pres was too much for him, so he was nervous all the time. I personally think he was nervous, having been pushed into it by poppy Bush. But he was definitely not as big a dope as he seemed while in office.

    8. To listen to Trump talk or give a speech is like fingernails on a chalkboard. The man does not even have command of the English language. His stupidity and bullish like behavior is so obvious and in your face outrageous and yet people cant see it…Boggles the mind. Its hard seeing this man as president but what really gets me is how many stupid people we have in this country that have empowered this imbecilic moron ..Thats scary. America has sucked itself down the shithole.

  12. Honestly, I don’t know. My first impression was Doofus. After all, it seems fairly obvious that if you’re going to have any sort of law enforcement crackdown you’re going to need someplace to put all the people you arrest. Given that kids are among the border crossers (whether legitimately or otherwise) the result–outrage–seems pretty predictable.

    But sometimes too when I see how the Democrats and the media have reacted I wonder if Trump set them up. I mean, they act like they’ve completely lost their minds. The way they’re behaving seems like the perfect way to get Trump’s base to the polls in November.

    Still, if it was a deliberate plan it was certainly a risky one.

    1. Trump’s genius is in baiting his opponents into taking unpopular or indefensible positions. His tactic is to occupy the field by saying something he knows is going to set his opponents off and then moderating as they lose their mind essentially ceding the field to him on a popular issue. The way to beat Trump is to kill him with kindness and reasonableness. Don’t take the bait and let him be the one who looks unreasonable. But doing that requires a level of maturity and calculation beyond that of the Democrats and their operatives in the media.

      1. Yeah, whether it’s deliberate planning or dumb luck on Trump’s part doesn’t matter since the Democrats could beat it either way but they won’t. Their emotions and their king-sized egos are in the way.

        Perhaps the plan (if it is one) is not so risky after all.

        1. Trump spent his whole life in New York politics and Hollywood. I think it is pretty fair to say he understood both Democrats and the major media in a way no other Republican ever has.

      2. He seems to be the Ali G of the news cycle.

      3. When it comes to Trump and his Trumpanzee brigade there is no being nice…The things they support are beyond any comprehension of common sense…Everything the republican party stands for is anti-consumer and anti-worker the very things they (Trumpy Toads)themselves have needed and used….To vote against helping Americans and giving everything to the corporations and their 1%rs is downright stupid and stupid does describe the Trumpanzees. Trump and his GOP goons do not support the interests of working Americans…Show me one law they have supported that has or will help regular working Americans….Give me one and dont say tax cuts thats BS…That was purely for the rich.

    2. “Still, if it was a deliberate plan it was certainly a risky one.”

      Trump’s actions always seem like crazy antic. And this isn’t new. It’s not like it started a couple of years ago. It’s been that way for decades.

      So, crazy like a fox.

    3. I see it as he gets to Bebe proactive by controlling the new cycle 95% of the time. 5% of the time he has to be reactive, situations like this. I can see that distractions such as “covfefe” make perfect sense, because all he has to do is generate a new story.
      This time he acted to diffuse the story, once again taking the proactive approach. Bush never did this.. so the negative news was able to grip his coattails and never let go.

      1. Bush was also a giant piece of shit who invaded Iraq based on lies and half truths and may have single handedly fucked over America with his bullshit economic and military fiascoes. Seeing the media trot out that scumbag and his wife as some sort of moral paragons compared to Trump disgusts me deeply.

  13. In a way I like Bumbling Doofus.

    As in Hillary Clinton couldn’t beat a bumbling doofus for president.

    1. And Hillary was as Machiavellian as it gets.

  14. That scenario, which played out during Donald Trump’s first year in office as he tried to impose restrictions on travelers from Muslim-majority countries

    Jesus fucking Christ, this again.

    If it was a ‘Muslim ban’ why the fuck were only these specific ‘Muslim-majority’ nations chosen and not other, vastly larger, Muslim-majority nations?

    The very phrasing of the statement reveals much.

  15. Donald is large. He contains asses.

    1. He is a svelte 239 pounds. His fingers are huge, though.

  16. Well, he has some competent advisors and some wierdos, too. Just like the last administration.

    1. He should hire Reagan’s astrologer.

  17. You know, just when you think you’ve seen all the angles in American politics that there are to see, you realize that you should have concluded that some 10 to 20 years ago.

  18. President Grant said “I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.” Trump? Even a broke clock’s right twice a day.

  19. “The political advantages of the president’s zigzagging on family separation and the “Muslim ban” are not obvious.”

    Hear ye, one and all, the proclamation on “political advantages” by the Progressitarians of Reason!

  20. As I said in an earlier post, he is not an intellectual guy… But he has good gut instincts. He uses this to throw his opponents off guard constantly. It is a chaotic method, but it has worked for him thus far. He’s forced the left to show their true cards on a lot of issues, which most Americans don’t agree with. Making the Dems come out for “There should be NO immigration enforcement” compared to “We should just be nice and let these DACA kids stay” which was their lie, has probably turned a lot of Americans off. I think he’s going to continue this strategy the whole time through.

  21. Trump is such whiny twit…He constantly fans the flames of hate about all them evil immigrants (The same people he wants to work in his restaurants for a bit of irony) Trump needs to create this image of enemies out to get us and steal our food stamps and jobs and the usual hum drum of rhetorical BS to appease his evil racist religious zealots of the Trumpanzee brigade. You know the types the ignorant ranting white trash, The usual hate mongers..Notice how he always drags the immigrant problem in his daily minutia of hate, hate, hate and of course the media is enemy number one. and the FBI are witch hunters …Trumps presidency is one of total incompetency and childlike vindictiveness, vile,evil beyond anything we have seen in a while. This man is a blemish on democracy and supported by all the corporate bought and paid for Republicans. To listen to a Trumpyturd tell me what a great president he is makes want to scream out loud. MAGA=Moronic Arrogant Greedy Arseholes. A red made in china hat is their logo.The sign of stupid.

    1. Save that rant for the campus coffeehouse with the rest of the wannabe Trotskyists, shitlib.

      1. Truth hurts don’t it assbag…lol hehehehe …..Trying to put liberal in the same category as a communist makes you look like the simpleton you are…dummy lol…MAGA- Heres your sign lol.

    2. LOLOLOL

      I’m just wondering if this is a new sock puppet troll account, or if you’re an actual legit crazy leftist.

      As far as things go you’re doing a solid, if not amazing, job if you’re trolling. It’s all pretty standard stuff, but the bad formatting adds a sense of authenticity to it all.


  22. Trump has accomplished one historic achievement, unlike any of the Western Hemisphere tyrannical governments, we do have child internment camps.

  23. The president announces a strict new border policy aimed at preventing foreigners from harming Americans. Although it is completely foreseeable that the policy will hurt many innocent people

    So far, his policies have only hurt guilty people: people who entered the US in violation of US law.

  24. Trump’s sense that gains for immigrants come at the expense of U.S. citizens is of a piece with his zero-sum view of international trade

    Letting in large numbers of low-skilled aliens is objectively harmful and costly to American citizens. And running a massive trade deficit with a corrupt communist state bent on destroying the US is extremely dangerous. The fact that Trump understands something that obvious is not a testament to Trump’s intelligence, it is a testament to a fundamental ideological blind spot and irrationality among Reason staff.

  25. Do Trump’s Border Moves Reveal a Clever Machiavellian or a Bumbling Doofus?
    The political advantages of the president’s zigzagging on family separation and the “Muslim ban” are not obvious.

    False dichotomy. Trump is doing what he described in “The Art of the Deal”: he’s a brash business negotiator.

  26. modified a “zero tolerance” policy……. he decided to not look the other way…. hardly seems to me like something that we should condemn an officer of the law for let alone the supreme law enforcement officer of our land….. But I guess if it furthers your agenda have at it.

    The sane among us will just continue laughing.

  27. since we all can assume the idea that trump is clever anything is preposterous, it’s apparent from the history of his statements from the beginning of his campaign to today that his white-hot hatred of illegal aliens from hispanic countries has nothing to do with his supporters or politics. it seems to go beyond even simple racism. somebody out there knows the answer to why trump’s toxic obsession with this issue consumes him.

    1. It probably has something to do with the fact that low skilled illegal Hispanic immigrants are a net drain on native born tax payers, that they (NOT legal immigrants) have higher crime rates than native born (especially if you exclude black and native born Hispanic crime rates from the “national average”), suppress wages of the working class, and vote for shitty big government. Those are all the reason I am against mass scale illegal Hispanic immigration… And I am part beaner myself, and grew up in California!

  28. “Do Trump’s Border Moves Reveal a Clever Machiavellian or a Bumbling Doofus?”

    The Bumbling Doofus who defeated all the powers that be. And keeps on winning.

    It’s back to the Reagan years. Defeats Dems, defeats the Soviet Union, huge economic growth for the country.

    But the Left tells themselves “he’s a moron”.

  29. We can solve the separation problem simply by apprehending the ILLEGAL ALIENS as soon as they get into the US. Put them ALL on a boat of some sort wait 2 weeks and take every one of them to the port city nearest the country they came from and dump em. That way the US won’t have to bend over backwards to provide for ILLEGAL ALIENS.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.