by Rachel Blevins
For nearly every decision Donald Trump has announced as president, there seems to be a small collection of Tweets he has published at some point within the last decade that directly contradict his current decisions—raising speculation about just how much freedom he has, and how many of his policies are being decided for him.
The most recent example occurred this week when Trump announced that he will follow in the footsteps of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama by continuing the War in Afghanistan—the longest war in U.S. history, which has been ongoing for 16 years.
President Trump presented the never-ending war as a cornerstone of American culture by saying, “American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield—for our nation and for our freedom.”
However, Businessman Trump shared a very different opinion when he commented on the situation in February 2012. “It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests,” He wrote on Twitter.
As he campaigned for re-election in May 2012, Obama appeared to share a similar sentiment, making the statement that “By 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over.”
“I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan,” Trump wrote in January 2013. “We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money — rebuild the U.S.!”
Trump also previously wrote that he agreed with Ron Paul’s stance on Afghanistan in August 2011. “Ron Paul is right that we are wasting trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” He said.
Ironically, Paul was one of Trump’s biggest critics on Monday, publishing a series of Tweets during Trump’s speech on Afghanistan that called out his administration for the blatant hypocrisy it is displaying to appease a neoconservative, war-mongering agenda.
“Sad that these wars the politicians argue for are unconstitutional yet we are told we are over there defending the Constitution,” Paul wrote, followed by, “The American people deserve to know when we are going to war and MUST give you permission through their representatives in Congress!”
Even though the fresh-faced Illinois senator and the New York business mogul expressed support for putting an end to the miserable failure that has been the War in Afghanistan, they both ended up contributing to it. And this is just the beginning of the long list of examples.
Several of Trump’s most contradictory Tweets have been chronicled on a Sub-Reddit titled “Trump Criticizes Trump,” which is a fitting name for a page filled with 140-character rants, jabs and insults that perfectly describe everything that is wrong with the president’s current policies.
In June 2015, as his presidential campaign was just beginning, Trump claimed that if elected, he would cut back on vacation time. “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,” he said. “I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off.”
That comment fell directly in line with one of Trump’s biggest complaints about his predecessor. In October 2011, Trump took to Twitter to ask, “Why is Barack Obama always campaigning or on vacation?
Then in July 2014, Trump wrote, “Obama is on yet another two-day West Coast fundraising swing. Has to fit it in before his 15-day tax-payer funded vacation.”
However, instead of setting the example once he took office, Trump decided to take some vacation time of his own. While he criticized Obama for taking a 15-day vacation, Trump just concluded a 17-day vacation, bringing his total to 53 vacation days while in office, which is three times the number of vacation days Obama took in the same time period.
Another aspect Trump criticized Obama on was the amount of time he spent campaigning for re-election, instead of focusing on the American people. However, it should be noted that Trump’s first campaign rally occurred in Florida on Feb. 18—less than one month after he was inaugurated.
Trump’s past Tweets serve as a very real reminder of what happens when a regular citizen assumes the office of president and he is forced to change his policies in order to fit the narrative that has become the status quo for all presidents in the U.S.
As he wrote in March 2014, “It’s almost like the United States has no President—we are a rudderless ship heading for a major disaster. Good luck everyone!”
In the same way that Obama gained votes by criticizing warrantless government surveillance and pushing for an end to the United States’ war-mongering foreign policy, Trump gained votes by speaking out against the establishment and promising to bring an end to a reckless pattern of regime-change wars.
Every 4 years, a new puppet is considered for the White House, and every 4 years the public continues to ignore the fact that the government only continues to grow, armed with a series of all-powerful agencies that face no accountability—from the CIA creating terrorist groups to overthrow foreign leaders, to the NSA illegally spying on innocent Americans, to the Pentagon failing to account for billions, if not trillions, of taxpayer dollars.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, then why hasn’t it become clear that the American public is stuck in an insane cycle of believing that simply electing the “right candidate” will solve a sea of problems that seem to stay the same, no matter which individual is in office or which party is in “control”?