Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

There is no Trump but this Trump

Here's all you need to know about Donald Trump's "major policy speech" on immigration last night in Arizona:

A speech that would send the likes of Coulter into spasms of ecstasy was not a pivot or softening. It showed no sign of a more humane, moderate and realistic approach that Trump himself had suggested was coming. In the end, he didn't have the guts to pull it off. Instead, what he delivered last night to a cheering, chanting crowd of thousands of Trump fans was a repeat, at times cruder and more harsh, of the same basic message that he has been delivering for more than a year now.

Build the wall, deport 'em all, and make Mexico pay for it. There was no ambiguity, no cause to hope for something better.

As Politico reports:

"Immediately following the Arizona speech, Jacob Monty, a member of Trump’s newly formed National Hispanic Advisory Council, resigned, and Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said in an interview that he is “inclined” to pull his support.

“I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump when I believed he was going to address the immigration problem realistically and compassionately,” said Monty, a Houston attorney who has aggressively made the case for Trump. “What I heard today was not realistic and not compassionate.

“It’s so disappointing because we feel we took a chance, a very risky chance,” Aguilar said. “We decided to make a big U-turn to see if we could make him change. We thought we were moving in the right direction…we’re disappointed. We feel misled.”

Earlier in the day, in his appearance with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump had seemed sullen and out of character, like an overgrown boy who was dressed up in a suit reading somebody else's words, but who would much prefer to be somewhere else, doing something else. That somewhere else proved to be in front of an adoring crowd, where the real Trump comes fully to life, where he could say the things that he apparently did not dare to say to Peña Nieto when he had the chance.

"We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don't know it yet, but they're going pay for the wall," he said last night, and his people roared their approval, and he smiled back in approval of their approval.

The first debate will be Sept. 26, a little more than three weeks away. It promises to be interesting.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.