There are two kinds of Trump speeches. There’s the teleprompter, sort-of-on-message, actually-has-a-topic-line speech, and there’s the unscripted, off-topic, meandering, no-message-whatsoever, let-Trump-be-Trump speech.
If you watched — I’m out of town, so I had to watch the stream — you know that we got lucky.
Trump came to Colorado for the Western Conservative Summit in full-on Trump mode. If there had been a narcissism meter, it would have exploded. He said he wrote his speech on the plane ride into town. And so it began, with Trump complaining once again how the Colorado caucuses were rigged — by completely misstating how they worked. He came back to it — let’s just say it’s a sore point, even now — at least three more times. It was an exercise in the art of not knowing your crowd, many of whom surely participated in the Colorado caucuses.
And from there it went, well, where every other unscripted Trump speech goes, from the unreal to the surreal, concentrating less on the election ahead (since he can’t really talk about non-Rasmussen polls) and more on all the primaries he had won months before. He barely mentioned Clinton, who is, I’m pretty sure, his presumptive opponent.
Because it’s my job, I’ve seen many of Trump’s speeches in their entirety. But I’m guessing that most of the crowd at the Summit had not. The hall was not nearly full. The reception was, well, lukewarmish. This was no surprise: The Summit speaking roster includes a decent share of #NeverTrumpists like Ben Sasse and Erick Erickson.
Trump segued, in his style, from one topic to another, from (not necessarily in order; it was hard to keep up): getting jobbed in the Louisiana primary, to building the Mexican wall, to ISIS dreaming of a “weak” Hillary Clinton being president, to his secret plan to “knock the hell” out of ISIS, to ISIS laughing at us because they chop off heads and we won’t water-board them, to the trade deficit with China, to how the NRA is synonymous with Colorado, to promising a “tremendous victory” in Colorado, although admitting that the polls in Colorado were close but that we shouldn’t worry because Trump would be back campaigning in the state, a lot.
If you don’t count the protesters (who were outside) and the crazed Trumpistas (who apparently weren’t in the hall, either), it was a pretty normal Trump event.
Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t lucky enough to get a classic Trump ad-lib like the one Thursday in New Hampshire, where he suggested that a plane flying overhead was the Mexicans attacking. (Those Mexican planes, we should add, would never get over that wall, which will be a really, really high wall.)
Or someone asking from the crowd whether Trump would do something about those TSA employees wearing “heeby jobbies,” apparently referring to hijabs worn by some Muslim women working security at airports. Trump said it was something “we are looking at,” as if he’d get to it right after he finished banning Muslims from immigrating to America.
But the those looking for Trumpisms did get this: Someone — apparently a Turkish reporter sitting in the photographer’s gallery — interrupted a part of Trump’s speech where he was talking about America’s relation to other countries by asking him to say something about Turkey.
“Are you from Turkey, sir?” Trump asked. Trump then went on to say he has a “very nice job” working in Turkey because that is apparently the limit of what he knows about most countries.
Then Trump asked the reporter, “Friend or foe?” And to the crowd: “I think he’s friend.”
And so it goes.
Trump often asks the friend-or-foe line, and while asking someone from a majority-Muslim, strong-ally country is one thing, he certainly had to be wary of what he might find in Colorado, where Ted Cruz swept the “rigged” caucuses, and where some of the delegates are leading the fading anti-Trump fight at the convention.
All you had to do was check out the Republican candidates who weren’t there to greet Trump. Mike Coffman made news this week by releasing a spot in which people in the most-diverse crowd ever seen in a GOP campaign ad said things like “he’s one of us” and “not like other politicians,” and, more to the point, “not like other Republicans.”
Clearly, the Republican being referenced was Donald Trump, who’s definitely not like many of us.
Meanwhile, a national Fox News poll reported that more than half of Republicans wished they had a candidate other than Trump.
And in the latest in a longish series of Republican anti-Trump op-eds, Marc Racicot, former Montana governor and RNC chair, wrote in The Washington Post that he couldn’t support Trump and that he offered his “prayer for a second miracle in Cleveland.”
It’s getting late for miracles, but it wasn’t too late for Sarah Palin to out-Trump the man himself in her own rambling warm up speech for Trump. She called Republicans against Trump a “RAT” and averred that no one was calling Trump a racist before he decided to run for president (perhaps forgetting that whole birther thing), capping it off with a stone-cold Palinism. She was on a panel the week before and she told them, she said, “You know, it’s really funny to me to see the splodey heads keep sploding over this movement.”
Splodey heads keep sploding. And if you want to know why, you can watch the entire Trump speech on YouTube.