Deconstructing Donny, Part V: The Lincoln Day Press Conference

Without a doubt, it's no coincidence that the most articulate political rhetorician in the world today, Donald Trump, gave his first press conference on a day devoted to the second most articulate political rhetorician in America, Abraham Lincoln. There's no argument whatsoever that as good an orator as Lincoln was, he was clearly a distant second to Donald Trump and nothing more than Trump's eloquent Lincoln Day Press Conference could solidify his number one position.

Trump's opening comments:

"You have a very, very -- you have another party that has got some big problems. I just saw today coming over the e-mail situation for Hillary Clinton is a big, big problem. If this they judge it fairly, she's got a very big problem."

No one is as articulate in employing the power of the run-on sentence as Donald Trump. Not even Lincoln. By beginning his opening comments with the adverb "very" followed by the adverb "very" again to emphasize what will follow; namely, the Democrat part that has "big problems." His brilliant use of ambigua (usually a clause claiming "if" something happens, "then" a result will come of it) in which he lures his listener into believing that by stating "if" then something of significance may follow is actually undermined by his classical use of aposiopesis and a shift to whomever is going to judge whatever is going to be judged fairly, "then" she's got a problem.

QUESTION: In all candor, do you think during this campaign there have been some times where you feel you have gone over the top?

I don't think so at all. I look at the polls. I can only go by the poll. A new poll came out, 32 percent. That's the highest for anybody yet. So I can only go by the polls. The people that we're dealing with and whatever has happened, it is what it is. You just look at results. I guess Iowa just came out a little while ago, and leading in Iowa, leading in New Hampshire, leading in North Carolina, leading in South Carolina, leading in Nevada, leading everywhere. So that's all I can go by.

Yet another brilliant use of Trumpian discourse through the act of "rhetorical deflation." Trump does this by "inflating" his political rhetoric and then, when confronted with the possible act of rhetorical inflation, deflates the discourse by avoiding the question and redirecting the answer towards something altogether different. In essence, it is the use of reverse erotema (where a question is asked to which an answer is not expected) and could only be used as dramatically as it is by Trump. The question deals with Trump's alleged bomphiologia (also known as verborum bombus, wherein the speaker brags excessively) to which he cleverly avoids the question and compares the alleged bomphiologia with a completely different subject, polling which he repeats in some context, four times, associating his rise in the polls as proof his alleged bomphiologia is without merit. Genius.

On China:

I think you have to do something to rein in China. They devalued their currency today. They're making it absolutely impossible for the United States to compete, and nobody does anything. China has no respect for President Obama whatsoever, whatsoever. Well, you have to take strong action. How can we compete? They continuously cut their currency. They devalue their currency. And I have been saying this for years. They have been doing this for years. This isn't just starting. This was the largest devaluation they have had in two decades. They make it impossible for our businesses, our companies to compete. They think we're run by a bunch of idiots. And what's going on with China is unbelievable, the largest devaluation in two decades. It's honestly -- great question -- it's a disgrace.

Once again, Trump begins to engage the conversation in the most intellectual of ways as he draws extensively on the coursework he took while achieving his Bachelor's Degree in economics. He begins by addressing the need "to rein in China." That's emphasized by the fact he repeats that China "devalues" or "cuts" their currency six times. The repetition is not arbitrary. It ties in exactly with how he wants to "rein in China" because China has "no respect for Obama." If China had respect for Obama, then they would not have been devaluing their currency since 1995. One might think that's a slip on Trump's part since Obama wasn't President, but, in fact, China envisioned an Obama Presidency was inevitable and, therefore, they wanted to start devaluating their currency prior to his inauguration. As early as 1995, Trump knew what was going to happen and it has.

On Hispanics and women:

Well, I think so. I think we're going to do very well with a lot of votes. We're going to do very well with the Hispanic vote. We're going to do great with the women vote. If you look at -- in Nevada, they did the poll and I'm leading in the Hispanic vote, because I create jobs. And I'm going to go and do -- I will be creating tremendous numbers of jobs. So I think we're going to do great. And then the women's health issues, I'm for that. I will be great on women's health issues. I cherish women. And I will be great on women's health issues, believe me.

Trump is absolutely brilliant in establishing the argument about "doing well" with votes especially the Hispanic and women vote. To prove that, he begins to talk about a poll taken in Nevada which has him leading in the Hispanic vote because of his "job creation." The allusion to job creation isn't serendipitous. Because of Trump's history of job creation one might be lured into thinking this form of discourse is mere deipnosophism (the art of dinner conversation), but one would be entirely wrong. Using his favorite rhetorical tool of aposiopesis, Trump links his massive polling numbers in Nevada with the fact he will be creating "tremendous numbers of jobs" and then smoothly transitions to women's health issues of which he is a major proponent and which he will "be great on women's health issues" primarily because he repeated it twice.


QUESTION: You have said right now you're going to be great on women, you're going to be great on China, you are going to be great on ISIS, you are going to be on jobs. When are you going to tell us what you will replace Obamacare with, how you will fix China, how you will bring jobs and what are the plans for ISIS?

OK. Well, first of all -- and ISIS. You didn't bring up ISIS. What happened? I think you're going to see lots of plans and you are going to see also -- and you have to understand, when you're coming up with a plan, in business, you have to be flexible. There's got to be flexibility. And I recently bought something -- not so recently -- but Doral in Miami. Everybody wanted it. If I would have sat down and said here's a 12-point plan in order to get Doral -- I didn't do that. I went in and punched and punched and beat the hell out of people, and I ended up getting it. Everybody wanted it. All of the smart money wanted it. The Old P.O., the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, everybody wanted it. I got it. In the Obama administration, I got it, which is pretty shocking, considering that Pritzker wanted it, which is Hyatt, and lots of other people. I got it. And I got because I know how to get things. I know how to get things done. You can't sit down and say, well, I'm going to come up with a 19-point plan to get the Old Post Office and create it into a great hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. The most-sought after property, I think, in the history of the General Services Administration, Trump got it. I'm not an Obama person. You probably heard that. You have to be able to have flexibility. You have to be able to do certain things.

It should be patently obvious to anyone that when Trump discusses something like ISIS it is within the context of a business plan and he is absolutely clear on that. So, in dealing with ISIS, one has to realize the entrepreneurial realities involved. In other words, one needs a business plan that would correspond to something like building a Hyatt Hotel. What Trump is referring to here is tantamount to Forbes' 23 Point Checklist For Success. To the novice business person, Trump's apparent use of battology (futile repetition in speech or writing) is just another way of getting the lay person to understand the intricacies of dealing with a militaristic organization such as ISIS through a kind of Forbes business model.

On The Wall:

OK. Let me tell you something. Ten years ago, everybody wanted the wall. The Democrats, the Republicans, they couldn't get it. You know one of the reasons they couldn't get it? Environmental impact statements. Did you know that? There were toads. There were the -- it's the most incredible thing. We're going to get the wall built and it is going to be built right. And Mexico's going the pay for the wall. Mexico is making a fortune off the United States. Mexico...Mexico is going to pay for the wall. And they're going to be happy about it. You know what? They're going to be happy about it, because the cost of the wall is peanuts compared to the kind of money they're making. Mexico is becoming the new China. I have a great love for Mexico. I have love for the Mexican people. I have so many -- I have thousands of Mexico people over the years. Mexicans have worked for me. And they are now, thousands. They're fantastic people, great spirit. But their politicians and their leaders are much smarter and sharper and more cunning. And I say the word cunning. They're more cunning than our leaders. They will pay for the wall. They will be happy about it. They will continue to do well, but not as well as they're doing right now. They're taking too many of our jobs.

This particular point is one of the most critical ones in the campaign and Trump is clearly at the forefront of the issue. Toads aside, the wall will be constructed and it will be right and no one could call Trump's discourse apostrophistic (a manner of speech in which the speaker continually interrupts his train of thought and continuity of subject by interjecting subordinate ideas and comments) since his ideas are based on a thorough analysis of the costs involved. Though Trump's plans for the construction of the wall are in their formative stages, sources close to Trump have indicated the minimum for building such a wall would cost in the area $69,696,000,000 without labor. By virtue of their 2015 GDP, Mexico ranks 13th in world economies at US$ 1.367 trillion and Trump believes that because Mexicans are "fantastic people" whose leaders are "sharper and more cunning" than American leaders "They will pay for the wall and they will be happy about it." There's absolutely no ambivalence here and his discourse is spot on about who, when and how the wall will be built with or without the consent of the toads.

Consensus is that Trump's Lincoln Day Press Conference was the single greatest rhetorical masterwork since Lincoln's Second Inaugural Speech. There is little doubt that as the Trump campaign proceeds, his articulations will not only resonate with all Americans, but with humanity as a whole in his quest to make American great again.