Permit me a moment to think about Donald Trump’s words far harder than Donald Trump ever will.
This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it [Donald Trump, speech to leaders of 50+ Muslim countries, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as transcribed by CNN, 2017.05.21].
Terrorists are engaged in a war against civilization, and it is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil….
Civilization is at a precipice—and whether we climb or fall will be decided by our ability to join together to protect all faiths, all religions, and all innocent life. No matter what, America will do what it must to protect its people [Donald Trump, statement, 2017.05.26].
For Donald Trump, words are mere accessories, thrown on like his too-long neckties to tickle and exaggerate his manhood. Looking for logical consistency in such fire-and-forget blurts is an oral fixation not worth pursuing.
I’ll offer this one faint attempt at finding some consistency in Trump’s civilization/war statements. Trump’s words still contradict the thesis of Clare Lopez and his anti-Muslim base, who contend that the Muslim Brotherhood is waging civilization jihad to replace Western civilization with Islamic civilization. However, when he said there is no war between civilizations, he did not logically exclude the possibility that there are extra-civilizational evildoers who are trying to tear down the whole idea of civilization. These two statements five days apart thus allow Trump to cling to the rhetorical position that we face a battle not of civilization versus civilization but of all civilizations versus anarchy.
But there I go again, putting far more thought into Donald Trump’s words than he himself puts into them.