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The ‘Two Trumps’ surface in president-elect’s transition

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President-elect Donald Trump raises his fist as he speaks during the first stop of his post-election tour, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cincinnati.

NEW YORK >> Donald Trump’s skeptics hope the presidency will reveal a serious side of the brash businessman. His supporters want him to keep the freewheeling style that rattled Washington.

In true Trump fashion, so far he’s doing both.

Trump has soothed some Republican establishment anxieties with many of his early Cabinet picks, including the respected retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s hinted that he’s open to shifting some of his most controversial policies, including his rejection of climate change and support for torture. He’s been full of praise for President Barack Obama and largely respectful of Hillary Clinton, his vanquished campaign rival.

But Trump is also refusing to abandon the raucous, stream-of-consciousness rallies and Twitter tirades that defined his presidential campaign. He’s continued to level false statements, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the election. And he’s infused the normally staid Cabinet selection process with reality television drama, inviting cameras into his dinner with Mitt Romney, a leading candidate for secretary of state, and announcing the secretary of defense pick in an arena, seemingly off the cuff.

“He was a very unconventional candidate,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “He’s going to be an unconventional president.”

Despite his tell-it-like-it-is reputation, Trump is fueled by a deep need to be liked, according to long-time associates. He often modulates his tone to his setting and frequently tries to curry favor with his audience by telling them what he thinks they want to hear. He often speaks in vague generalities, his policy plans short on details, and that allows supporters to read in what they wish.

And sometimes he seems to move in contradictions, as when he made simultaneous appointments of Reince Priebus — a nod to the Washington establishment — and Stephen Bannon — a shot across the establishment’s bow — to fill two key roles in his administration, giving opposing factions of his coalition something to cheer.

People who meet with the president-elect personally talk about there being “two Trumps” — the self-promoting celebrity that’s seen in public and the amiable and courteous grandfather who emerges in private.

“He’s charming in person,” said John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T, who recently met with Trump. “He absolutely has a lot of personal charisma.”

Indeed, Trump has appeared to win over some of his toughest Republican critics since defeating Clinton. GOP lawmakers have praised all of his Cabinet nominees, some of whom hold more traditionally conservative views than Trump himself. Romney, who was one of Trump’s fiercest critics during the campaign, emerged from their dinner this week with warm words for a man he’d only recently called a “phony.”

“He continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way,” Romney said in a stunning turnabout for the 2012 GOP nominee.

But Trump appears acutely aware that the enthusiastic supporters who propelled him to the White House are watching carefully to see if he’ll back away from his pledges to shake up the political system. Supporters shouted their opposition to Romney being in the Cabinet Thursday as Trump stood on stage in Cincinnati for the kickoff of a “thank you” tour for voters.

Trump gave them plenty else to cheer about, fully re-embracing his firebrand and raucous campaign persona.

He took the stage full of swagger and as focused on score-settling as he was during the campaign. He spent more than 10 minutes bashing the press, recounting how the media doubted his chances of winning.

“These are very, very dishonest people,” said Trump, one of several times during the night when he incited the crowd to jeer the press gathered in the pen at the back of the arena. “Ok, I love this stuff. Should I go on with this just a little bit longer? I love it.” Shifting to how he broke Clinton’s so-called Midwest firewall, he said, “We didn’t break it, we shattered that sucker. We shattered it, man. That poor wall is busted up.”

Trump did hit some of the right notes in terms of unifying the nation when he managed to stick to the script rolling down the teleprompter. He called for a “truly inclusive society, where we support each other, love each other, and look out for each other.”

But he also reminisced how “fun” it was “fighting Hillary.” He stunned even his own advisers by announcing his nomination of Mattis from the stage. And facing the pressures of the presidency, he seemed to still be reliving and relishing his victory.

“We had a lot of fun,” he said, adding: “The bottom line is, we won.”

An all-encompassing need to win seems to be one thing the “two Trumps” have in common.

“Nothing is presidential except victory,” Trump said in March. “Victory is presidential.”

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        • The AP is the mouthpiece for the Democraps. C’mon kaka, you of all people should know that. Oh yea, you another puppet like Boots and klastri and Vector and Monkey(Monkey, of all names).

        • keaukaha only gets his info from the MSM so to her/him this SA article, reports only the truth.

        • Someone who calls her/himself “meat” critiques “Monkey, of all names”?

          Keonigan worships Trump and repeatedly dismisses any fact-based coverage of his hero’s words and deeds as “a hit piece”.

          Pathetic.

        • He might be right cause he didn’t actually say anything, the truth might be inside his head but he didn’t say anything. We cant shut his reasoning down if we didn’t hear his reasoning.

        • Eh kaka, 8 years of Odummy fu-k ups, and I never seen a word out of you. Guess was time to come out of the closet for you then.

        • @ keaukaha
          I’ll let you know I am the reason your Crooked Corrupt Nasty hiLIARy LOST BIG LEAGUE! Your lame duck quack, O, blamed FOX for the LANDSLIDE LOSS which is where I get most of my FACTS. Ok ok me, my fellow “Deplorables” & the Electoral College Voters.
          PE Trump’s WHOPPING LANDSLIDE VICTORY was a repudiation of your O. O is too narcissistic to realize that fact.
          Tip for you: Work on your party which is in denial & complete total DISARRAY….you guys are in a pharked up mess. Mahalo O, you made your ppl into baaaahhhh baaaahhhh

  • The Green Party wants a recount because there could be ballot tampering. No evidence, just a bunch of “smart” people saying it could happen. Well there is also a lot of “smart” people saying that there could have been illegal voting. Actually there is proof from previous elections that there were illegal voting. Here is one ref that is not from Fox: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/17/cincinnati-illegal-voting/2530119/

    So I believe Trump statement that there was illegal voting more than ballot machines being tampered with.

  • “including his rejection of climate change”

    No one denies climate change, it changes all the time.
    In addition, no one denies the possible increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
    Also, it is likely that burning of all the fossil fuels produces at least some small degree of warming.

    The question is how much, and will the effects be a uniform disaster.
    This is Trump’s real position.
    Freeman Dyson (who is a real scientist of great respect) is of the opinion that it will be relatively minor, and could well be a boon. We have seen a greening of the earth in the past 50 years, including higher crop yields, and so on. Plant growth is directly linked to CO2.

    Calling someone a “climate denier” because they do not agree with the conclusion that we are about to have extreme climate changes, and that these are primarily due to fossil fuel burning, is a very common form of bad logic today.

    As for the “97 % of the world’s scientists”, and statements like “the science is in” and “it is settled science” – these are practically the most unscientific statements you could make. Science is not settled with a vote (and by the way these statistics were originally obtained with tailored, secondary data, not some kind of universal poll).

  • it was hillary clinton that declared she uses both a private position, that allows her reveal her real thoughts and plans to rich donors, and a public position which she uses to deceive voters at large.

    for the media to use clinton’s flawed private vs public positions against trump is further proof that the media is still biased and rigged against trump.

    • IRT st1d: That would be naïve to think that it didn’t go both ways for both Trump and Clinton It’s all a game, on both sides of the coin. Trump and his handlers, as well as Trump supporters here have stated that his campaign rhetoric was exactly that just CAMPAIGN RHETORIC. His thoughts and actions aren’t 100% what he said during the campaign. In no way is he different from Clinton in stating a public and private position.

      If you support Trump then this is good news in that many of the divisive things that everyone was so appalled and offended about that he said during the campaign were probably for show and it would show that you weren’t standing behind a lunatic.

      If you are an anti-Trump supporter then you should also be happy that he might not have really meant EVERYTHING that he said during the campaign and might have actually said those things to “persuade” some of the people that you laugh at into voting for him.

      Don’t believe or trust the people that want you to be ALL Trump or ALL anti-Trump, the truth lies somewhere in-between

      “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Maya Angelou
      #MAGA

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