President Donald Trump has to be the most transparent person in politics. When he speaks, it is easy to tell when his words reflect his true values and beliefs, or when he is reading a script prepared by his staff. After seven months in office, we all understand that teleprompter Trump is the fake Trump, and that his true values and beliefs are voiced during his rallies.

Teleprompter Trump is calm and promotes the ideals of America. Teleprompter Trump promotes diversity, calls for unity, and criticizes hate and violence. Teleprompter Trump also sounds like a school-boy being forced to read an apology to his classmates.


Rally Trump is the true Trump. Rally Trump is an angry, persecuted victim. Rally Trump is unhinged and unpredictable, but clearly reflects Trump's values and beliefs.

Sometimes we get the Teleprompter Trump on Monday and Rally Trump on Tuesday. Repeat on Wednesday and Thursday. Listening to Trump following the Nazi and KKK march in Charlottesville gave some news watchers whiplash. Teleprompter Trump condemned the violence and the hate groups that marched through the campus of the University of Virginia with torches chanting anti-Semitic slogans. The next day, Rally Trump was attacking "both sides," and he wasn't even at a rally. He was at a news conference.

Trump is unable to stay on script for more than a few minutes. In an effort to change the national discussion away from Charlottesville, White House staff set up a press conference so Trump could discuss plans to rebuild American's infrastructure. But Trump, with the impulse control of a child, was unable to stay on script, showed no real interest in America's infrastructure, and proceeded to whine about how his response to Charlottesville was misinterpreted by the press and our lying ears.

Trump is transparent and it is easy to understand how he feels about any person or topic. Does anyone not understand how Trump feels about immigration? Is anyone confused about Trump's position on building a wall on the Mexican border? Does anyone have any doubt that Trump is unhappy about Robert Mueller's Russia investigation?

So why is Trump so weak when communicating about white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis? Why does he keep switching between Teleprompter Trump on one day and Rally Trump on the next day when speaking about these groups?

In Arizona, Rally Trump criticized the state's two Republican senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain. He made it perfectly clear that he doesn't like them. No confusion. But he had nothing critical to say about David Duke, former KKK leader, who thanked him for his Charlottesville statements. He also had nothing but love for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who he later pardoned, who was convicted of targeting innocent American citizens because they looked Hispanic and ignoring a judge's order to stop.

Trump is transparent. He uses derogatory nicknames for the people he doesn't like — "Crooked Hillary" and "Low Energy Bush" — but, interestingly, he has no nicknames for Duke or his followers, or Russian President Vladimir Putin. For some reason, these people are protected from Trump's morning tweet dumps.

Thank goodness Trump was not President of the United States during World War II. He might have been confused about which side to support. Would he have blamed "both sides," the Nazis and the Jews, for not getting along? Trump and his defenders seem unable to distinguish the difference between hate groups (KKK, Nazis, white supremacists) who want to limit the freedom of others — even exterminate them — and the patriots defending American values.

Also, for those who need this spelled out, the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement is to end the discrimination of blacks. The purpose of the KKK and other white supremacist groups is to encourage the discrimination of blacks, Jews, and other minorities.

If the protesters in Charlottesville were Muslims chanting anti-Jewish slogans, it would have taken Trump seconds to type out multiple nasty tweets condemning the Muslims. But they were white Nazis and members of the KKK chanting anti-Jewish slogans. So Trump was conflicted. Who knew that being anti-Nazi was so complicated?

A Holocaust survivor at one anti-Nazi rally held up a sign that read, "I escaped the Nazis once. You will not defeat me now." Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, tweeted, "My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home." Sen. McCain stated, "There's no moral equivalency between racists and Americans standing up to defy hate and bigotry. The President of the United States should say so." But Trump can't say so because hate and bigotry formed the foundation of his presidential campaign and continue to be the bedrock of his presidency.

Tom Zirpoli writes from Westminster. He is program coordinator of the human services management graduate program at McDaniel College. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.