It’s a tale of two Trumps — and the president is just fine with it.
President Donald Trump admitted Thursday he applies different "tones" in speeches to different crowds, explaining in a pair of tweets why he changed up his style while bashing the media for reporting on it.
"The Fake News is now complaining about my different types of back to back speeches. Well, there was Afghanistan (somber), the big Rally........(enthusiastic, dynamic and fun) and the American Legion - V.A. (respectful and strong). To bad the Dems have no one who can change tones!" he said.
Sen Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested there was a method to what he characterized as Trump's "insanity."
“He goes to Phoenix and kind of goes nuts on stage, but that’s Donald Trump,” Graham said Thursday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “He’s a street fighter from New York, and nothing’s going to change.”
But Graham, like Trump, also poked the media for observing the phenomenon.
“The media has gone absolutely insane over his insanity,” he said.
Graham's comments and Trump's tweets came a day after the president gave several wildly different speeches over the course of a few days.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he lashed out at the media and members of his own party in a largely unscripted and lengthy tirade in Phoenix, Trump, in a staid speech to the American Legion, stuck closely to the teleprompter — and abandoned any attacks.
The president preached unity by telling the prominent veterans group the U.S. should follow its example "to overcome the many challenges that we face."
"We are here to draw inspiration from you, as we work to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one nation and one people," Trump said at the American Legion’s national convention in Reno, Nev.
"We are here to hold you up as an example of the strength, courage and resolve our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face," he added.
The rest of the speech Wednesday went pretty much just like that.
His nationally televised address to the nation on Monday night, when he announced what he called a new approach for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, also revealed an unfamiliar Trump. The president used his prime-time speech to admit he was reversing on on his campaign promises to pull out of the war-torn country.
But on Tuesday, it was a very different Trump, once again.
Trump delivered a barn-burner at the Phoenix campaign rally, appearing to deviate from the teleprompter for long segments as he angrily threatened a government shutdown if his border wall isn’t funded and repeatedly attacked the media for its coverage last week of his remarks — which drew widespread condemnation — about the recent deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The president lambasted news outlets for giving "a platform to hate groups" and he called journalists "bad people" who are responsible for "division in our country." Trump also indirectly criticized both of Arizona’s Republican senators — John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, and Jeff Flake, who is facing a tough re-election.
And Trump strongly hinted he might pardon controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of a misdemeanor for ignoring a judge's order not to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.
That more than hour-long Phoenix appearance further underscored the Trump's unpredictability when in front of an enthusiastic crowd. But by Wednesday, he was in full presidential mode.