Seduced into watching what was billed as a major statement by Donald Trump on the birther issue, I soon realized this was a photo op for Trump’s new hotel in Washington, the site of the event. Also, it was a presidential promo provided by testimony from various former military – medal of honor winners, generals and admirals – in support of the Donald’s presidential candidacy. There should have been a “Paid Advertisement” notice at the bottom of the screen. Except the advertising was free.
And the big announcement? That was Trump providing one more example of how easily he manipulates our media into promoting himself. I felt like I was watching a matador trifling with a bull before skewering it. (The media is the bull, just to be clear).
I realize how crazy it sounds that I would be drawn to what turns out to be a free political advertisement for Trump by the question of Obama’s birthplace, but in recent days the issue has been reborn because of statements by spokesmen in his campaign that Trump finally does accept Obama’s American birth. However, when asked Donald Trump had refused to confirm that belief. So, I admit it, I was curious.
And the major statement? After puffing himself up for a half hour as a great builder and a great patriot, implying such a combination would make a great president, he finally got to the issue of Obama’s birth. And this was the statement viewers had been waiting for: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
That was it, though he prefaced it with blaming Hillary Clinton for initiating the birther issue in her primary race with Obama (actually, it appears some of her supporters did that, but her campaign never embraced it) and then Trump ended with something about let’s get back to making America great again.
The media having made such a big issue of this announcement will act as if it still has great importance and peck away with more questions regarding Trump’s (supposed) change of mind (I never believed he believed it, just a marvelously effective manipulative tool for him).
But Trump will ignore them, as frankly he should. It was always a ridiculous issue that was allowed to flourish because the media failed to pin him down on any facts he purportedly had found, while the Republican party was happy to remain mum on the issue figuring that anything that was anti-Obama was O.K. with them.
The birther issue has been a miraculous triumph of B. S. over reality. Trump has ridden that horse a long way… to death so to speak. This was an opportune time to change horses, and so he did. The press should stop beating the dead horse by dwelling on silly things like whether Trump should apologize to whomever, and move on to one of the many issues that actually merit consideration. They lost their chance to be relevant on this issue many months ago.
Frankly, the skill in which Trump has handled this birther vehicle of self-promotion is enough for me to fantasize what he might do as president, but then I remind myself that self-promotion is his genius. It is unclear to me what else he is really good at. That genius has served him well in the real estate game and the presidential race, but the role of president is not primarily based on self-promotion.
As president one must actually do things as opposed to promising to do things. Trump’s promises are endless, but the only thing I am convinced he can do is promote himself, like the little wizzard hiding behind the big screen pretending to be the Great Oz.