After Donald Trump gave an interview to WKBT-TV in Wisconsin, the national press focused on the candidate’s aversion to changing tactics to increase his appeal. “I am who I am. It’s me,” he said. “I don’t want to change.” He would not “pivot.”
Mostly ignored was an intriguing nugget deeper in the interview, one that made me reconsider my whole outlook on the Republican nominee and his frequent lies and untruths. For months, I’ve taken his mendacity about his wealth, his tax returns, President Obama’s place of birth, the behavior of Muslim Americans on 9/11, Ted Cruz’s father, the integrity of American elections, his support for the Iraq War, and scores of other matters that arise in the course of his rallies, interviews, and other doings as evidence of amoral opportunism and poor character.
While I never believed that he would “pivot” and refrain from spreading falsehoods of outrageous proportions, I held him personally responsible for his mendacity.
I thought that he was choosing to be dishonest.
But perhaps Trump has less of a choice than I imagined.
“I don't want to change,” he said later in the interview. “Everyone talks about 'Oh, are you gonna pivot?' I don't want to pivot. I mean you have to be you.” Then he delivered this line: “If you start pivoting,” he said, “you are not being honest with people."