I often wonder what motivates Trump to say the things that he says.
My latest theory is that he is just lazy (and obsessively needs the spotlight).
He is unwilling to put in the work to deeply understand an issue. Instead he says the first thing that pops into his head and moves on. If that’s true, it’s terrifying that he considers this sufficient to qualify him for the most powerful elected position in the country.
The first evidence of this laziness are the challenges his campaign is having during a period of time when Republicans are going to naturally dominate the airwaves. Here are just a few examples.
- Opening night of the convention he scheduled a competitive lengthy prime time interview on the Golf Channel with David Feherty.
- Tuesday night his wife gave a speech that wasn’t properly vetted. The obvious plagiarism and the clumsy response by his campaign dominated the airwaves instead of the fact that he was formally nominated.
- Wednesday night Ted Cruz gets to speak and declines to endorse Trump and now all of the conversation is about dysfunction. How could that happen?
- Then today when Trump has the opportunity to speak to the convention, another careless interview with the NY Times comes out that embarrasses the Republican Party.
The NYT interview was a prime example of shallow lazy thinking.
- Trump suggests that the US may not honor its NATO commitments for the Balkan countries that border Russia unless they meet their financial commitments to the US. The first time he floated this idea four months ago, he got blasted. He had four months to come up with a better answer. He didn’t bother. The result is that members of both parties, NATO, and our European allies have all expressed their concern – AGAIN.
- Trump seems to confuse military alliances with trade agreements. He argues that our existing trade deficits undermine any argument on strategic deployment of our military. In other words, the world should be paying us to fill the role of the leader of the free world. The corollary of course is that our allegiances are for sale to the highest bidder.
- Trump’s NAFTA answer is similarly shallow. He has a friend who is building a lot of plants in Mexico, so that must be bad for the country. Trump could fill a room with policy experts on NAFTA, pick the one that he likes the best, and then reference his statistics. Instead he simply repeats the story that new plants are being built in Mexico when they should be getting built in the US.
- When asked about cyber warfare as an alternative to military force, Trump basically said that he was “a fan of the future, and cyber is the future.”
- Finally, the NY Times interviewer asked Trump a made up question about Obama considering and no-first-use pledge regarding nuclear weapons. Obama has no such plan. Rather than admit that he hadn’t heard about that, Trump made up an answer. This is where Trump is really scary. He is unwilling to admit what he doesn’t know, but he is running for a job where it is IMPOSSIBLE to know everything. Experienced politicians have a stock answer when asked something that they don’t know. They say that they don’t have an answer right now. They ask if they can get back with you. They defer to their staff. They ask where the reporter heard that rumor. They NEVER try to make up an answer on the spot on a subject that they haven’t been briefed on. This isn’t a hard skill to learn for most people, but apparently it is one the Trump is unwilling to acquire.
Finally word came out of the John Kasich camp regarding the VP offer he received. When asked what his duties would be, the interviewer said foreign and domestic policy. Trump’s intent, if the reports are to be believed, is to delegate the running of the government to his VP. Trump will fill the same role he does in his companies today, a figure head.
In other words, he is lazy.