When Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, Donald Trump donated to her campaign and raved about her White House credentials. She is “very talented, very smart,” he said.
“Why would I say bad things?” he said. “I’m a businessman. Why would I say she’s doing a terrible job? I would rather not say that about somebody anyway on a humane basis, but why would I say she’s doing a terrible job knowing that I may need help from her or her husband in two years about something that I’m not even thinking about now.”
i) He's conceding, even bragging about the fact that he routinely lies when that advances his agenda. Okay. The obvious question that raises is: "Were you lying then or are you lying now?" Mind you, those aren't mutually exclusive.
Now that he's running for president, doesn't the same modus operandi apply? Now he's tacking to the right, making conservative noises. but since, by his own boastful admission, he habitually lies to promote his self-interest, why believe this is any exception to the rule?
ii) I'd add that his excuse is implausible. There's a difference between badmouthing people in a position to help or hurt you, praising them, or keeping your personal opinions to yourself.
Is there any other Fortune 500 CEO who's as much of a talking head as Trump? I suspect most of them keep a low profile and avoid bloating on controversial issues because that would alienate some of their customers. Their customers range all along the political spectrum. So, from a business perspective, it's generally better to say nothing.
Yet they are able to do business with they political class despite their refusal to go on talk shows and comment on powerful politicians or dicey social issues.
Indeed, don't many CEOs have lobbyists to do the actual schmoozing and glad-handing, behind closed doors, while the CEO maintains a discreet distance?