Trump 2016: Deconstructing Donny; or The Rhetoric of Nonsense, Part II

One really needs to explore the elaborate, if not labyrinthine, Trumpian discourse that Trump is so very fond of using since, in fact, it consists of some of the most intricate rhetorical tools ever used.
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de•con•struc•tion/ˌdēkənˈstrəkSHən/noun a method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary language that emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression.

Of course, one wouldn't expect Donny to understand that notion even though he's very, very smart, but one really needs to explore the elaborate, if not labyrinthine, Trumpian discourse that Trump is so very fond of using since, in fact, it consists of some of the most intricate rhetorical tools ever used. This is the second in a series of Deconstructing Donny and his inimitable style of discourse which will inevitably lead America to becoming great again.

Trump on his past proposal (from 2000) to tackle the national debt and why his idea won't work today:

Well, now we can't do that because the debt is so big. That would have knocked out the debt. I would have paid it. ... It would have taken, 14 percent, and we have no debt. I would do that all day long. I would do that all day long. The problem is that since then that we gotten up to $18 trillion now. We have -- you know they say, the 20 trillion is a real bad number. But the really bad, the magic number is 24 trillion. We are going to be there very soon. That is like the point of no return.

Once again, in his inimitable manner, Trump has focused on the source of the issue without equivocating. He uniquely (and modestly) establishes his argument. In true Hegelian manner, Trump reasons a posteriori that it couldn't be done now, because the debt is so much bigger now and "he would have paid it" by now. The ellipsis moves on to the critical issue that "It would have taken, 14 percent, and we have no debt." On the face of it, such a statement might sound absurd, but what Trump has done brilliantly is avoid the use of aeolism (a tendency to long-windedness) by beginning to state something critically relative to the issue of the national debt by alluding to what could have been done (i.e. It would have taken), shifted to the masterly use of the non-sequitur (14 percent) and then concluded with "and we have no debt" which is a subtle way of paying homage to Gödel's Theorem. He then returns to his favorite use of anaphora (the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more successive verses or clauses) "I would do that all day long," as a way of emphasizing how easy it would have been for him to have dealt with the debt problem had he been president at the time. He emphasizes the fact that the debt is now "18 trillion" to further prove the hypothetical that he could have solved the problem, but now he can't. He tries to distance himself from that issue by claiming that, "We have -- you know they say, the 20 trillion is a real bad number." By not wanting to be aeolistic, Trump masterfully redirects the issue to the "they" who say "20 trillion is a real bad number," indicating that the issue can only get worse -- and then expands that to "the really bad, the magic number is 24 trillion," which is the "point of no return." Here, Trump is really flaunting his rhetorical genius by shifting what he might have done to what he can no longer do all predicated on the opaqueness of who "they" is. Yet another example of his rhetorical genius.

Trump on NAFTA and the U.S.' current trade deals:

I think NAFTA's been a disaster. I think NAFTA's been a disaster. I think our current deals are a disaster. I'm a free trader, the problem with free trade is you need smart people representing you; we have the greatest negotiators in the world, but we don't use them, we use political hacks and diplomats. We use the wrong people...

Trump opens with his favorite rhetorical device of anaphora as a way of emphasizing the obvious and as a way of focusing on the fact it has been a "disaster." Here Trump is showing his intellectual muscle by using the word "disaster" since the word comes from the Latin astrum, Greek ἄστρον star, or in English "ill-starred" or "misfortune." Trump is not only drawing on his etymological background as well as his knowledge of Latin and Greek, but on his keen knowledge of mythology to make this statement linking the fact that the "current deals" have failed due to the whimsy of the Goddess Fortuna who has rained down on the deals "bad luck." As he states "the problem with free trade is you need smart people representing you," but "we use political hacks and diplomats" which are the "wrong people." Trump's true genius is evinced by how he invokes the Goddess Fortuna as the mythological figure that associates herself with "political hacks and diplomats" who are not the "greatest negotiators in the world." His masterly use of the word "hack" is Trump at his etymological brilliance since a hack is a person whose services may be hired for any kind of work required of him especially a literary drudge, who hires himself out to do any and every kind of literary work; hence, a poor writer, a mere scribbler. It would then be axiomatic that a "hack" would not serve well as a negotiator and Trump's discourse is absolutely clear in that regard.

Trump on bombing oil fields in Iraq and his feelings on the "government of Iraq":

The only way you're going to beat them is that. You know why they're rich? Because they have the oil. ... the government of Iraq? There is no government of Iraq. The so-called government in Iraq yesterday went to Iran to meet with Iran. Iran is going to take over Iraq. It's as simple as that, okay, simple as that...

Trump beautifully sets up the focus of his argument by stating unequivocally that "the only way you're going to beat them [Iraq] is that," which brings multiple possibilities into question. The immediate question is: What is that? Is that, this? Or is that, that? Or might that be something altogether different. He abandons the notion of whatever "that" is to raise the question about their "riches" to which he answers, "oil." Of course, one might be led to believe that he's been talking about something other than oil, when he states, and quite profoundly, it is "oil" that has made Iraq rich. He then posits the question: "The government of Iraq?" And then answers, "There is no government in Iraq." One might think this technique of answering one's own question is arbitrary. But Trump is channeling his inner Quintilian (which he can do because he's smart, very, very smart) and the latter's use of hypophora, also referred to as anthypophora or antipophora (a figure of speech in which the speaker poses a question and then answers the question). He then couples the use of hypophora by making it clear that the "non-government of Iraq" is really a "so-called government in Iraq" which beautifully exposes his use of the non-sequitur. The discourse then moves that the "so-called government" in Iraq "went to Iran" to "meet with Iran." Of course, Trump is speaking metonymically as he often does then doubles back by stating Iran is "going to take over Iraq" which would lead one to believe there's an implied absurdity in one country visiting another country to meet with said country knowing that the said country is going to take over the visiting country. But that's just what Trump would have you believe since he's being hyperbolic for a reason. Sheer genius. He then concludes with an homage to Emerson's use of epistrophe (repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences)
"It's as simple as that, okay, simple as that..."

As simple as that, and that is why a Trumpian Presidency would simply make America great again.