Slowly he turns..Step by Step…

That old horror movie scene is beginning to play out in the “evolution” of Donald Trump. Headline in the Washington Post this morning: “Trump turns to general election and away from past positions.”

It’s the change in “role” his new advisor, Paul Manfort, told the Republican National Committee was coming. It has arrived, despite Trump’s claims that Manafort was wrong when he said it and he wasn’t changing who he is.

So we now are learning that Trump will raise money for his campaign and not be self-funding the general election. That was one of his claims to being a non-politician and a theme that played strongly with his millions of supporters — “he tells it like it is” and “isn’t a politician,” they tell reporters and pollsters.

He’s also put one of his dreaded hedge fund managers in charge of his fund raising. This guy also spent 17 years working for Goldman Sachs — the horrible people who gave Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few speeches. He has vilified “those” people for a year but now one of “those” people will be raising a billion dollars for him.

So much for self-funding. To self-fund, the man who claims to be worth $10 billion says, would mean having to sell “a couple of buildings” and it seems his greed for maintaining his family wealth is stronger than his desire to keep his promise to his supporters. Trump has railed against these big donors and bundlers, but that was the plot line for last week’s reality show. This week, the plot changes.

There also is a super PAC being set up for him and old GOP hand Ed Rollins is advising it. And, just like other candidates who say they have “nothing” to do with these PACs (It’s against the law for the campaigns to coordinate with the PACs) Trump is praising to the highest Rollins’ abilities. “I know that people maybe like me and they form a super PAC, but I have nothing to do with it,” he told NBC Nightly News — the same type of quote other politicians make when talking about Super PACs that they (wink, wink) have nothing to do with and no say in. Rollins is a very experienced strategist whose resume claims, among many other achievements, master-minding Ronald Reagan’s re-election landslide in 1984.

Trump also is backing away from the tax plan he proposed last fall with major tax cuts for the rich and is saying he’s open to raising the minimum wage, something he opposed not long again. This evolution in his positions all within just 72 hours of his becoming the presumptive GOP nominee. Pray tell what will next week bring?

He is gaining support among GOP officials and support is hardening against him by others, notably the former presidents’ Bush, his former primary opponent Sen. Lindsay Graham, several Congressmen and the very public hesitation to endorse him by the Speaker of the House.

He’s also started talking about restructuring the national debt in ways that likely would destroy several economies, including our own. That more than 200-year-old standard that the U.S. has to honor its debts would be blown up if Trumps handles the public money the way he handles his businesses’ money — meaning playing footsies with discount rates to make money as he has done with his real estate “deals.”

His “transition” to new positions is coming faster than I anticipated. But maybe he’s calculating that he needs to change early and often to spin his supporters into believing he’s still on their side. I don’t see how he backs off his Wall or his Muslim-barring policy or his comments about women, Jews, and others, but we’ll see. In the mind of Donald Trump, anything can be rationalized. Or lied about.

The question is will his millions of supporters buy it. Because if they leave him, what’s he got?

Written by

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store