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An arrogant blowhard

A presidential candidate’s promise and pretense reach a new level


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“I’m rich. I’m incredibly rich. And I can use my money to make people do what I want them to do. I know that because I’ve done it—lots of times. That’s the way the system works.”

You know, of course, who said that. And this: “I’m smarter than any of them—and I can prove it. They’re all just as stupid as the stupid people running the government right now.”

You don’t have to listen to Donald Trump for more than a few minutes to determine that you’re tuned in not to a statesman leader but to an arrogant blowhard. If he were your father or uncle, you’d be embarrassed to have him appear in public—or maybe even at the family dinner table. Certainly, you’d hope he was never appointed as an officer in your church. Is it imaginable to think of his ever being quoted in a history book?

With all the blarney and bluster that emerges almost every time Trump opens his mouth, you can’t help marveling that millions of Americans have apparently bought into his legitimacy. “I like his honesty,” a friend (and WORLD reader) told me last week. “He doesn’t promise and pretend the way the other politicians do.”

What commitments, except his own personal wealth, are suggested by his lifetime record? What causes has he championed?

I agree. Instead of promising and pretending the way the others do, he carries it to a new level. Most of us have developed a certain immunity to the bluff of typical politicians. Discerning the mystery of Trump the cult leader is something else again.

So I don’t know. Trump’s glib promises about exporting 11 million illegal immigrants, along with his slick guarantees about building an impenetrable wall along the U.S.-Mexico border—they’re all just as oily as his smooth promise that the Bible is his favorite book. That detail would be a bit more believable if just once in his talkative career we’d ever heard Trump quote from that favorite source, much less thoughtfully root one of his public policy positions in a biblical truth. “The Bible means a lot to me,” Trump told a Washington Post reporter who asked him what his favorite verse was, “but I don’t want to get into specifics.”

The refusal to “get into specifics” is a warning bell. Here is a man who still has barely suggested what issues he thinks are important to his fellow citizens—except to blast frivolously away on the immigration theme. And when he focuses on that topic, he comes across as empty-headed about the cost of carrying out his goals, empty-headed about the impact on America’s labor force, and empty-headed about the process. “Trust me,” he says. “I know how to manage big projects.”

And beyond that, what? What commitments, except his own personal wealth, are suggested by his lifetime record? What causes has he championed?

What about his record of leading four of his companies into bankruptcy? “It was all legal,” he says lamely. Google the internet, if you will. For all that omniscient power, you’ll find it tricky to find Donald Trump in a thoughtful discussion on any ethical theme. When he disagrees with a reporter or a challenger on any subject, Trump inevitably moves the discussion toward a physical altercation—often literally lunging toward the person he’s conversing with.

Do you look at Trump and see a unifier? It’s hard to imagine anyone moving into the White House and doing a worse job at unifying his nation than Barack Obama has done. But Trump would go, if elected, owning a huge head start as the new Divider-in-Chief. A smirk and a snarl are his trademarks.

With more than 20 men and women from the two major political parties now vying to be nominated to a try for the presidency in the 2016 general election, it’s admittedly a little tricky to sort out better from best. But in this unique lineup, it shouldn’t be so hard to identify the fraudulent worst.

Email jbelz@wng.org


Joel Belz

Joel Belz (1941–2024) was WORLD’s founder and a regular contributor of commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. He served as editor, publisher, and CEO for more than three decades at WORLD and was the author of Consider These Things.

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