Un­der cam­paign spot­light, Trump comes into light

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Jill Colvin

NEW YORK >> Don­ald Trump puts a pre­mium on loy­alty and has proven un­able to let a slight go by un­chal­lenged. He touts the facts that he likes — and casts doubts on the ones he doesn’t.

While he has a pen­chant for ex­ag­ger­a­tion and an of­ten ten­u­ous re­la­tion­ship with truth, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee has also shown him­self to be a fighter who rarely cedes ground, even in the face of enor­mous pres­sure to do so.

If the New York bil­lion­aire is elected to the White House on Tues­day, it’s rea­son­able to ex­pect the per­sona ex­posed by 18 months as a can­di­date for pres­i­dent will be the one he brings to the Oval Of­fice.

“Early on, Trump was seen as some­one who was go­ing to stick to his guns no matter what. He was go­ing to say what was on his mind. And you know he’s go­ing to take the con­se­quences of that no matter what,” said Ed Brookover, a for­mer se­nior cam­paign ad­viser.

That re­mains, Brookover said, the essence of who Trump is to­day.

Trump has of­ten said dur­ing the cam­paign he knows more than aca­demics, gen­er­als and other ex­perts, and he has largely for­gone the kind of in­tense study ses­sions fa­vored by other can­di­dates to learn about do­mes­tic and world af­fairs. He’s stuck by facts re­peat­edly de­bunked, the lat­est be­ing his in­cor­rect as­ser­tion that Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton wants to ad­mit 650 mil­lion im­mi­grants into the coun­try — tripling the U.S. pop­u­la­tion “in one week.”

While he’s re­ceived brief­ings from U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials, who have con­cluded Rus­sia is be­hind the hack­ing of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, Trump rou­tinely ex­presses doubt they were in­volved. “Our coun­try has no idea,” he said dur­ing the third pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

Yet Brookover re­jects the idea that Trump is a closed book un­will­ing to ac­cept new in­for­ma­tion. He de­scribed a meet­ing this spring in Washington, at which Trump met with mem­bers of Congress who sug­gested he re­lease a list of judges from which he’d se­lect a nom­i­nee to the Supreme Court. Trump did so shortly after.

“He lis­tens and takes in what peo­ple tell him a lot more than peo­ple give him credit for,” Brookover said.

Trump is also a can­di­date who ap­pears in­ca­pable of ig­nor­ing a slight and is all too will­ing to re­spond with dis­pro­por­tion­ate force.

The day after ac­cept­ing the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion at his party’s con­ven­tion, he taunted dis­patched ri­val Ted Cruz rather than fo­cus on the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign that had just be­gun. He’s put his stand­ing among women and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies at risk by dou­bling down on his replies to the crit­i­cisms levied by the par­ents of a slain Army of­fi­cer and a Latina beauty queen he shamed for gain­ing weight.

“I’ve been say­ing dur­ing this whole cam­paign that I’m a counter-puncher,” he once ex­plained to Fox News Chan­nel star Megyn Kelly, among those Trump has tan­gled with dur­ing the cam­paign. “I’m re­spond­ing. Now, I then re­spond times maybe 10. I don’t know. I mean I re­spond pretty strongly. But in just about all cases, I’ve been re­spond­ing to what they did to me.”

Eric Trump, one of Trump’s sons, cast his fa­ther in an in­ter­view as David tak­ing on Go­liath largely on his own.

“He’s had to take on the DNC, take on the cor­rup­tion, a very, very bi­ased me­dia in so many cases,” Eric Trump said of his fa­ther. “He’s done that all by him­self and me and quite frankly the Amer­i­can peo­ple . ... I give him tremen­dous, tremen­dous credit be­cause he shoul­dered so much weight on his own. He shoul­dered a move­ment to change this na­tion.”

While the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is un­doubt­edly in­tense, the pat­terns of be­hav­ior Trump has dis­played as the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee are likely to con­tinue, said Ari Fleis­cher, who served as press sec­re­tary to Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

“The cam­paign is a great in­di­ca­tion of what will hap­pen in a White House,” he said. While Trump has shown the abil­ity to mod­er­ate, Fleis­cher said his counter-punch­ing in­stinct could be “a dis­as­ter in the Oval Of­fice,” where calm and level-head­ed­ness are cru­cial when some­thing goes wrong.

“It would be even worse if he does it with majesty and the power of the pres­i­dency on his hands,” he said.

Don­ald Trump

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