Will the Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up?
Even this author, a staunch critic of Mr. Trump, must admit that the speech Trump read to “a rare gathering of leaders of about 50 Muslim nations at the Arab Islamic American Summit” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was ‘pretty good.’
My dilemma is that I don’t know which Trump to believe.
Do I believe the man who just a few minutes ago expressed love and “mutual respect” for Islam and Muslims, or the man who just a few months ago spewed hate and contempt towards both – even American Muslims – and who insisted that “Islam hates us.”
Do I believe the man who today promised that he is not there “to tell other people how to worship,” or the man who yesterday called for surveillance of mosques and “other places” in the United States of America and even floated the idea of compiling a national database of Muslims living in the U.S.
Do I believe the man who today pleaded that the Middle East “should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock,” or the man who blocks refugees and certain “newcomers” from entering the United States.
Do I believe the man who today proclaimed that “young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred,” or the man who yesterday instilled the ultimate fear in young boys and girls in his own country by threatening to tear families apart and deport millions of law-abiding, hardworking undocumented mothers and fathers who came here seeking nothing more than to “have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples” – as he motivated the gathered dignitaries.
Do I believe the man who today railed against “the oppression of women,” or the man who yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, treated women, spoke about women, in the most degrading ways.
Do I believe the man who today blasted “the online spread of hate,” or the man who daily tweets messages of rage, calumny and division.
Do I believe the man who told the assembled dignitaries that he is not there “to lecture,” but went ahead and lectured anyway – for 33 minutes.
Finally, how can I reconcile this man’s signing an incredibly generous $110 billion sophisticated weapons deal, slated to grow into an unimaginable $350 billion package with previous statements in which “Trump bluntly accused [Saudi Arabia] of masterminding 9/11, of loving to kill gays and enslaving women, the same country that Trump said, after his election, should be banned from exporting any oil to the United States” — the same country accused by some as “the country most responsible for spreading terrorism around the world.”
Such is my dilemma.
Lead photo:From White House photo
For the full transcript, click here