Saturday, May 14, 2016

Neither a flip, nor a flop...

Robert Spencer on Jihad Watch makes a fairly big deal out of a supposed "wilt[ing] under pressure" and "backing off" on Trump's part with the now infamous "it was only a suggestion" remark Trump made on Wednesday.

The CNN report Spencer adduces says that “the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade Wednesday.”

Their official website has the full transcript.

Given the rampant media distortions of Trump’s words that have been going on for months (and distortion can mean twisting words out of context, even subtly so, with Western versions of kitman and tawriya), one should not rely on a truncated CNN report.

Here’s Trump’s full statement (from the afore-linked FOX site, which provides the transcript and the audio), which is the context from which that “gotcha” moment -- which everybody is making hay out of (including Robert Spencer) -- was pulled.


FOX: Trump‘s response to newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying his views on Islam are ignorant

(TRUMP) Well I assume he denies there is Islamic terrorism. There is Islamic radical terrorism all over the world right now. It’s a disaster what’s going on. I assume he is denying that. I assume he is like our President that’s denying its taking place. We have a serious problem, it’s a temporary ban, it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on. We have radical Islamic terrorism all over the world, you can go to Paris, you can go to San Bernardino, all over the world, if they want to deny it, they can deny it, I don’t choose to deny it.


First, it’s not necessarily a contradiction to say “I am calling for X” and later to say “My calling for X was just a suggestion”.  Nor is it necessarily a contradiction to call the December moratorium a "statement" and later to refer to it as "just a suggestion".

Robert Spencer opines that Trump’s December press release “was quite clearly and definitely a policy proposal when he made it” -- but that’s a subjective opinion, not a fact. The act of “calling for” something is, technically speaking, a “suggestion.”  But not all “suggestions” need be casual, off-the-cuff remarks that hold zero weight.  The seeming contradiction comes in, I think, not so much from a misapprehension of the December “statement” that “called for” the moratorium, but rather of this week’s “just a suggestion”. When a major contender to be the leader of the nerve center of Planet Earth makes even just a suggestion, that by itself is momentous (even huge).

Also, if the recent term “suggestion” were a flip-flopping shift in position, the official Trump website wouldn’t retain the original December statement, now would it?

Secondly, look at that context in which Trump said it: the full paragraph reproduced above.  That context makes him, warts and all, “quite clearly and definitely” better than any other candidate was or is.

There is one factor that trumps any Negative Nellies like Spencer that flutter about harping & carping every time Trump opens his mouth seemingly the wrong way: He’s not perfect, but he’s a hell of a lot better than anyone else.

Further Reading:

Trump savvy about the right people

Freedom of speech -- up to a point

Things that are supposed to trump Trump

The Counter-Jihad Mainstream polarized by Trump?

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