Donald Trump drives the conversation (News Analysis)

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Washington, May 10 (IANS) First he drove the economists into a tizzy by suggesting he would be open to renegotiating US public debt; then Donald Trump said the US would never default on its debt as it can “print” money. And as the pundits were shaking their heads over how the self-styled “king of debt’s” talk of US default could send the global economy spinning, he suggested the wealthiest Americans were likely to pay more taxes under his administration.

While the experts discussed how ‘The Donald’ was deviating from his past promise to slash taxes across the board, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee called his likely Democratic rival an ‘enabler’ of her husband Bill Clinton’s infidelities.

And lo and behold the long forgotten Monica Lewinsky affair between the then President Bill Clinton and a White House intern in 1995 and 1996 was back on centre stage with TV talking heads discussing was it fair for a thrice-married Trump to rake the private life of an opponent.

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Trump stuck to his guns saying his comments were a ‘retribution’ for Clinton playing “the woman’s card to the hilt” and suggested while he was focused on trade, immigration and veterans issues, the media had built up a “small amount” of his speech “like it’s the biggest thing in the world.”

“But it is a big thing,” Trump added in the same breath. “Hey, look, he was the biggest abuser of women, as a politician in the history of our country. He was impeached.”

Hillary Clinton herself declined to take the bait saying she would not comment on “how he’s running his campaign,” but “a lot of his rhetoric is dangerous.”

But Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren responded to Trump’s Twitter assaults taunting her as “goofy” by calling him a “bully”, fuelling speculation about her becoming a running mate for Clinton, who is said to be looking for someone who can act as an attack dog.

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And as the pundits were left yakking about whether this or that would help or hurt Trump, the master manipulator turned his attention to mending fences with the Republican Party establishment still smarting over his harsh rhetoric against it.

He distanced himself from 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s call to oust House speaker Paul D. Ryan over his refusal to endorse Trump’s candidacy ahead of a summit Thursday with him and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

On his part, Ryan, who will serve as chairman of the party’s convention in July to formally anoint its standard-bearer, was still not ready to support Trump but acknowledged “He’s the nominee. I’ll do whatever he wants with respect to the convention.”

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He also offered to step down as convention chairman if Trump so wanted even as the likes of former presidents George H W Bush and George Bush, his brother Jeb Bush and the Republicans’ last presidential nominee Mitt Romney, still refused to support Trump.

But the 2008 Republican nominee John McCain, whom Trump had once declined to call a war hero for being taken a prisoner during the Vietnam War, said it was “foolish” for the establishment to ignore the will of millions of Republican voters.

And as the pundits wondered whether the tactics that have brought the Republican nomination in Trump’s grasp would work with a more diverse electorate in the November presidential poll as well, the conversation once again revolved around The Donald.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])



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