Is Trump really that hard to understand?

Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) recently said "I don't understand" President Trump.  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the same thing, as has CNN's Don Lemon.  The New York Times even posted an op-ed this weekend about people who "don't understand Trump."

But writer Randall Lane contends that the president isn't that hard to understand. 

Based on an oval office interview, Lane says, "President Trump stays true to the same Citizen Trump form that Forbes has seen for 35 years," and that Trump's business tactics and his presidency demonstrate a "worldview" that "has been incredibly consistent."

Nearly a year after the most stunning Election Day in many decades, pundits still profess to find themselves continually shocked by President Trump. They shouldn't be: His worldview has been incredibly consistent. Rather than as an opportunity to turn ideology into policy, he views governing the way he does business – as an endless string of deals, to be won or lost, both at the negotiating table and in the court of public opinion. Look at his first year through this prism, and it makes sense. And it offers clues for the next three years – or seven.

Drawing on quotes and anecdotes from Trump's The Art of the Deal and from Trump's decades in the public eye, Lane describes a president with a "transactional mindset" who is always selling, always negotiating.

Trump shows the writer around the Oval Office as though he is "pitching a Trump Tower penthouse," par for the course for the "greatest-ever American salesman," who Lane says "leveraged" his business "efficiency" and his "formidable skills as a marketer and showman" to win the presidency while spending far less money than his opponent.

Trump's transactional mindset means asking for a 15-percent corporate tax rate "for the purpose of getting to 20," as well as seeking "multiple bidders," to get the best deal, says Lane, hence his recent overtures to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on immigration, health care, and taxes.

Trump loves to boast about big numbers, whether it's GDP, the stock market, or Twitter followers, which Lane says "explains the inexplicable," such as the "need to shoot the messenger any time a bad poll comes out."   

But Trump, for decades, has boasted about how he conducts his own research – largely anecdotal – and then buys or sells based on instinct. Numbers are then used to justify his gut. He governs exactly that way[.]

Describing Trump by turns as boasting; counter-punching; and, "above all," selling, Mr. Lane's excellent piece presents a balanced picture of a president who is true to himself, loves his job, and is determined to "do the right thing" for the American people. 

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton said, "I just don't understand" what Trump is doing as a candidate.  Hillary still doesn't understand what happened.  As former House speaker Newt Gingrich has said, Trump's opponents "remain baffled and predisposed to attack a president they don't understand." 

But President Trump is just not that hard to understand – unless you are a Democrat.  Or the media.  Or the Washington establishment.

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