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The Lid: The Two Donald Trumps

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Announcing his 2016 endorsement today. Ben Carson described Donald Trump as “actually a very intelligent man,” which sure makes a heck of an inspiring bumper sticker.

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‘16 from 30,000

Within the space of 12 or so minutes this morning, Donald Trump said these two phrases: “I think there are two Donald Trumps” and “I don’t think there are two Donald Trumps.” He was agreeing - then disagreeing - with new endorser Ben Carson’s assessment that Trump’s private persona is much more “cerebral” than the image he projects publicly.

If the regular laws of political physics still applied, we could imagine a universe in which the mirror-image phrases would end up as familiar to TV audiences as Obama’s “you didn’t build that” or the infamous Romney “Etch-a-Sketch.” Had it been any other candidate, media types may have even put to use that charming, old-fashioned noun: “a gaffe.” But because Trump has upended the rules of gravity so much, it seems doubtful that even skillful ad-making to highlight the moment will matter at all to Trump fans, who have been undeterred even by his real-time policy flip-flops on debate stages and in press conferences.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

“There are two different Donald Trumps."

  • Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump on Friday.

TOMORROW’S SKED

SATURDAY: Trump, Clinton and Kasich campaign in Ohio. Cruz is in Missouri while Rubio campaigns in Florida.

Guam and Washington, D.C. hold GOP nominating contests on Saturday. Northern Mariana Islands holds a Democratic primary.

SUNDAY: Ted Cruz and John Kasich join Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.”