Is there anyone in history who has erroneously believed that people were his friends more frequently than Donald Trump? Donald Trump has a lengthy list of enemies at this point, almost each one of whom he once publicly called a friend or an ally. Conversely, almost everyone who Trump now believes might be on his side has been, in the not-too-recent past, a public enemy. The extent to which prominent people snicker behind Trump's back would be funny, if we weren't contemplating sending this man out to handle United States foreign policy.
The most recent jaw-dropping exhibition of Trump's gullibility about the good will and friendliness of people who will inevitably stab him in the back came yesterday on Morning Joe. By now you have probably seen this clip because everyone yesterday was passing it around as proof that Trump is yet again admitting that he has been lying to his supporters all along. That's true, but it doesn't matter to his supporters, so I don't know why it should matter to me.
Watch it again, and instead of focusing on how different this statement was from everything Trump was saying as recently as three weeks ago, focus on what an unbelievable naïf Donald Trump is, and how he truly and hilariously believes that if he's elected, Pelosi and Schumer will be nice to him and get along great with him:
Mike Barnacle: Who would you be willing to work with to cut a deal, any kind of a deal, what's your instinct on that?
Trump: Well, I think that I'm going to be able to get along with Nancy Pelosi, I've always had a good relationship with Nancy Pelosi, I don't think that's going to be a problem. Reid's going to be gone, I've always had a decent relationship with Reid, although obviously lately I haven't been dealing with him so he'll actually use my name as the ultimate of the billionaires in terms of people that you don't want, but I've always had a great relationship with Harry Reid and frankly, if if weren't running for office, I'd be able to deal with her, I'd be able to deal with Reid, I'd be able to deal with anybody. But, I think I'd be able to get along very will with Nancy Pelosi, and just about everybody. Hey look, I think I'll be able to get along with Schumer, Chuck Schumer. I was always very good with Schumer. I was close with Schumer in many ways.
Of course, this is just the latest in a long string of incidents in which Trump has praised people as his friends, or people that he can work with, only to find out unexpectedly that they were only there to stab him in the back. Bizarrely, every time this happens, he claims that he knew people were out to get him all along.
The other most recent example, of course, is Ted Cruz, who Trump has recently discovered is a "nasty, nasty guy" who "nobody likes" and "nobody can work with." Just four months ago, Donald Trump said about Ted Cruz:
"Well, it is a little bit of a romance," Trump acknowledged during a recent interview. "I like him. He likes me."
The senator, Trump said, backed him 100% when he condemned illegal immigration. "I always respected that," he added. "I thought that was very nice."
After the two men appeared together on stage at the Iran rally, in a subsequent debate Trump specifically said of Cruz that he liked and respected Cruz, and that he could work with him. In a December debate, Trump further said that Cruz has a "wonderful temperament." After the debate, Trump told CNN, "I thought he was very respectful and nice, and I have a lot of respect for Ted."
Now, of course, Trump says that Ted Cruz is a nasty guy who no one likes and no one can work with - how could he not see this as recently as December 15th? And what changed, other than Ted Cruz defending himself from ridiculous allegations brought forth by Trump that he's not eligible to run for President?
Before Cruz, there was Joseph McQuaid, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union-Leader. By Trump's own admission, what infuriated him and caused him to have the Union-Leader removed from the upcoming ABC New Hampshire debate is that McQuaid asked him to tweet in support of Christie being on the main debate stage, which Trump apparently did.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2015
McQuaid then (according to Trump) stabbed him in the back by allowing his paper to endorse Christie - a frank admission that McQuaid played him for a sucker. Watch Trump admit this with his own mouth:
Ah, he said, a strange one, you know, @realdonaldtrump, so I have millions and millions of followers, especially when you add Facebook. It's like 5 and a half, 5.6 million for Twitter, over five million for Facebook, Instagram, it's like 11 million people, and I said, what is it? He (McQuaid) said, would you do me a favor? This is a few weeks ago. Chris Christie did not make the main stage. I would like you to tweet that Chris Christie SHOULD be on the main debate stage. I said, but Joe, he didn't make it because he didn't make it. You know, you have to go through, you have to get a certain number of points in the polls. Well, he didn't make it but he should be there and it's not fair, would you tweet. So I said I'll tweet. I figured, what are you gonna do, I'm gonna be nice. But I knew immediately he was going to endorse Chris Christie. But can you imagine a guy calling me up, knowing he's going to endorse a guy, asking me to use my twitter to put him in? And other than that, I mean, the guy's bad news, okay. He's not a talented guy.
If Trump knew immediately that McQuaid was going to endorse Christie, then why did he do this gigantic favor for McQuaid in the first place? It makes zero logical sense. What does make logical sense is that Trump was played for a complete sucker by McQuaid, by his own admission, and his success at getting the Union-Leader removed from the debate was his petty revenge.
The list goes on. The public statements Trump has made to the effect that the Clintons are great people, that Hillary would be a great choice to negotiate a deal with Iran, that Hillary would make a great President - are by now so well known that they hardly bear repeating. Trump's discovery, at this late stage of the game, that Bill Clinton is a probable serial rapist and Hillary his enabler is obvious cover for the embarrassing fact that he has publicly embraced and trusted the Clintons for decades, and is embarrassed that they stabbed him in the back.
And of course, who can forget Trump's equally naive assertion, expressed less than two years ago, that Al Sharpton "loves" him - presumably, we are only days away from hearing that Trump always knew Sharpton was a snake, as well.
Trump seems possessed of the erroneous belief that everyone who shows him basic civility is his friend (and political ally) forever, as evidenced by his embarrassing claim that 100 black pastors were assembling to endorse him when literally only one had agreed to do so, and the rest had agreed just to meet with him (mostly to air grievances). What could possibly go wrong with putting a person this habitually clueless about people in charge of the United States military?
The number of Republicans who have believed that Democrats were their friends, only to be betrayed and backstabbed by them when it came time to negotiate actual legislative deals is longer than my arm. And that's what's troubling about Trump's statement that he will try to cut deals with Pelosi and Schumer - it's not just that he'll try, it's that he seems to believe that they will actually negotiate with him in good faith. To say nothing of the fact that Trump probably actually believes that Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch are his buddies right now, and not just people who want him to keep the gravy train rolling.
And given his lengthy track record of being suckered by Democrats and Republicans alike, the one thing you can expect from a Trump presidency is more of what we got during the Bush administration, only worse.