David Brooks: Trump's Like a Pig, Hillary's Like a Small Poetry Magazine

On the Friday “Week in Politics” segment on NPR’s All Things Considered, liberal columnist E.J.  Dionne and “conservative” columnist David Brooks were as usual in agreement. Anchor Ari Shapiro asked about the FBI document-dump on their interview with Hillary about her private e-mail server. Dionne regurgitated the Hillary spin that these notes only underlined why FBI director James Comey recommended against indicting her. Then Brooks agreed, and compared her to a small poetry magazine.

ARI SHAPIRO: You know, today, the Clinton camp said this shows why the Justice Department chose not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. And, David, I wonder whether you think people will buy that argument.

DAVID BROOKS: I think so. I don't think there's anything in this report that alters our view particularly - at least from what we know so far. Though it is - it is striking to me that it underlines something that's going on because her popularity ratings continue to suffer and go way down. And that's why Donald Trump is somehow still within single digits of her. I think her campaign finds - faces an interesting dilemma. Should she campaign more or less? She's campaigning in a sort of a low-key manner, sort of in the manner of a small poetry magazine.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

BROOKS: But should she go even lower-profile? And that may be the right answer because her - the more attention she gives to the country, the less people seem to like her.

That’s not a completely positive metaphor, but Brooks was focusing on whether people like her, not on whether she’s corrupt. Suggesting that people like her less the more that she goes out in public is not as negative as suggesting she’s a pig.

Brooks saved that for Trump, that his semi-presidential visit to Mexico was like putting lipstick on a pig:

SHAPIRO: And then he went on to say maybe they'll deport Hillary Clinton. David, this seems like a lot of travel without a lot of movement on the subject of immigration.

BROOKS: You, no, it is the definition of putting lipstick on a pig. For a few hours, he did seem a little more moderate, and there was a lot of trial balloons. But when it comes time to utter a complicated thought, well - or at least a complicated sentence - he reverts to his core belief, which, I think, is a sincere belief - he's incapable of being phony - which is that America's besieged by a lot of dangerous immigrants. And that was the tone of the speech. The substance, even in that deportation task force, deporting dangerous criminals - that actually is our policy right now. And so in substance, I think we can see where - whoever's elected president, we can see where immigration policy is going. We're going to have more border enforcement. We're going to basically legalize the people who are here, and we're going to have a more skills-based system. So substantively you can see where immigration policy is headed. But in tone, he continues to hurt himself with anybody not in the core anti-immigrant groups.

Brooks suggested Trump was insane during his turn on the PBS NewsHour with this wisecrack: "I would point out he has had a sane month, but it’s been spread over 70 years."

Then the liberals scooped some more dirt on Trump:

SHAPIRO: E.J., I saw one journalist describe this as the meeting of the unpopular in Mexico City. President Pena Nieto has approval ratings close to 20 percent. Did anyone gain from this?

DIONNE: I don't think so. I think his approval ratings are going to go down further. You know, I just want to pause on something. Can you imagine Barack Obama making - saying, even in jest in 2008, that - let's deport John McCain or George W. Bush? And when - when Trump said that, it really struck me that he runs so many stop signs all the time that he doesn't even - even get all the tickets from the press in the commentary world that he probably should. This was a day of political whiplash, almost like we've never seen before. Here is Trump trying to look, in quotes, "presidential" down with the president in Mexico. And then he comes back and gives this absolutely vicious speech when he gets to the United States. And the Clinton campaign, I think, really called him out on something, which is he said again in the speech that Mexico would pay for the wall, but somehow didn't have the guts, or whatever it was, to bring that up with the president of Mexico.

SHAPIRO: They used the favorite Trump word - he choked.

DIONNE: Yes, and that is - I think that is something that people will actually remember out of this very strange day.

Tell the Truth 2016 Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NPR All Things Considered David Brooks E. J. Dionne Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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