Why Donald Trump can’t become “moderate”

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How a 1990 Playboy interview exposes Trump’s biggest weakness. Ezra Klein explains.

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Of late, the media has become convinced that Donald Trump is going to reinvent himself as a sensible moderate as he transitions to becoming a general election candidate. “When I’m president, I’m a different person,” he told a crowd back in January. “I can be the most politically correct person you’ve ever seen.”

No, he can’t.

In 1990, Donald Trump gave an interview to Playboy magazine. Read today, it stands as an astonishing testament to Trump’s consistency. Nearly every sentence of it is something Trump could have said today. But that’s not to say it’s devoid of insights. Toward the end, Trump offers his philosophy of life, of governance, and of international competitiveness.

“People need ego, whole nations need ego,” he told Playboy. “I think our country needs more ego, because it is being ripped off so badly by our so-called allies; i.e., Japan, West Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, etc. They have literally outegotized this country.”

The full playboy interview Ezra refers to: https://www.playboy.com/articles/playboy-interview-donald-trump-1990

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