July 16, 2016 5:43 pm -

Donald Trump was likely stalling for time after his choice of Mike Pence for VP was leaked and he used the tragedy in Nice as an excuse to figure out what to do next. As Josh Marshall writes:

Trump more or less decided on Pence. Pence’s name was leaked, intentionally or not. But Trump perhaps hadn’t definitively made his decision. At least he didn’t want his hand forced by media leaks. So he was miffed. He also apparently hadn’t told his two dignity-drained manservants, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich, that they were out. Trump’s inability to break the news to Christie seems to have caused a snag in the expected roll out. NBC News reports a “tense” conversation yesterday between Trump and Christie in which Christie could see the writing on the wall but still wasn’t given a definitive word by Trump.

Trump seems to have jumped on the Nice tragedy as a way to call a timeout on a process that had left him miffed, feeling out of control and perhaps even doubting his decision. In short, it offered him a brief window to play for time. This seems amply confirmed by Manafort’s dancing and hemming and hawwing on TV this morning, probably not sure himself what was happening.


When the candidate is mercurial, impulsive and emotionally unstable you can’t ever know. No matter who you are. Probably not even if you’re Trump.

Of course, announcing his decision on Twitter at roughly the same time he’d planned his formal announcement torpedoes any idea that he wanted to delay the announcement out of respect for the victims of the Nice tragedy. Given that Pence was facing a critical election filing deadline in under two hours and probably himself couldn’t know for sure whether Trump was really, really going to pick him, it is not implausible that Trump was faced with some sort of ultimatum to irrevocably commit before the deadline past.

This is admittedly an effort to reconstruct some plausible explanation of an almost inexplicable and botched series of events over the last forty-eight hours based on the limited evidence now available. Whatever the precise details, however, it’s classic Trump – poorly organized, impulse driven and on fly, riddled with weird personal animosities and feuds.

Nothing is more revealing about Trump or the reality of what a Trump presidency would bring than the fact that rather than getting more dignified and mainstream as he moved toward the general election he has gotten more extreme and erratic.




D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.