Newspaper article International New York Times

Trump's Style? Deal-Making Flexibility

Newspaper article International New York Times

Trump's Style? Deal-Making Flexibility

Article excerpt

Through one dust-up and brouhaha after another, Trump remains unapologetically Trump.

Donald J. Trump's plan to combat the Islamic State? "We go in, we knock the hell out of 'em, we take the oil," he told Fox News on Tuesday.

How would he handle China, should it keep devaluing its currency? "Well, you have to take strong action," he said at a news conference here later in the day, right before he took the stage in a hall crammed with about 3,000 people.

And what was his plan to improve race relations, someone asked him a moment later? "You need spirit, esprit de corps, cheerleading, and you need jobs."

For a man of so many words, Mr. Trump still has relatively little to say about the kinds of policies he would pursue as president. Even as he seeks to give his campaign the kind of serious agenda befitting a candidate who is leading in the polls, so far the Trump Doctrine is not much more than: "Trust me."

After repeated questions from reporters about what specifics he was offering to fix the economy and foreign policy he insists are so badly broken, he finally offered, "I think you're going to see lots of plans."

Or maybe we won't.

"When you're dealing, and that's what I am, I'm a dealer," he said when he called a New York Times reporter after the speech, "you don't go in with plans. You go in with a certain flexibility. And you sort of wheel and deal."

Demands for greater clarity on what his priorities in office would be have grown louder as he has risen in the polls.

At one point in his 50-minute speech on Tuesday night, someone from the crowd shouted, "So how do you fix it?"

For such a loud standing-room-only crowd, the hall in the Birch Run Expo Center here felt oddly quiet at times as Mr. Trump meandered through lines about the country's need for meaner negotiators, a tougher trade policy and, in a Trump administration, a large role for Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor.

A little more than a half-hour into the speech, a few people started filing out.

But when he started to drift too much, he would reach for his guaranteed applause lines.

"Obamacare is a disaster."

"You have to build a wall. …

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