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What happened to the version of Donald Trump I liked?

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks as he introduces his wife Melania Trump during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Monday night, Melania Trump delivered what was, by most accounts, a good-to-great speech. She looked and seemed sincere and even earnest.

But within minutes after it left her lips, controversy started and people accused her of lifting parts of a speech that Michelle Obama gave at her husband’s nominating convention back in 2008.

This seems — at times — to be modus operandi for the Trump campaign: Something good, followed by something bad, followed by denials from the campaign that something bad happened.

To me, it would’ve made all the sense in the world to single out Mrs. Trump’s speech writer and tell him (or her), “You’re fired!”

This wasn’t Melania Trump’s fault and I don’t think anyone (short of the Democrats) would’ve laid the blame for plagiarism at her feet. One can’t expect her to Google every phrase in a speech that was written for her. (I know, you’re shocked that famous people don’t write their own speeches.)

Instead of fixing the problem by holding the actual guilty party responsible, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair, said he thinks it’s “just really absurd” that anyone would think part of her speech was ripped off from Michelle Obama.

Manafort told CBS, “They’re a couple of phrases. It’s basically three places in the speech and it’s fragments of words.”

Fragments of words? Aren’t fragments of words actually consonants and vowels?

What I don’t get if this was so easily fixable: Problem pops up, problem gets fired before the next news cycle even starts. My best guess is that the culture within Trump’s campaign is that firing someone is an admission you were wrong in hiring them in the first place. And there can be no admitted mistakes.

In the meantime, he’s letting his wife take the incoming fire. If I did that to my wife, I would be on the couch for a year.

This leads me to this question: If Donald Trump is incapable of firing someone at this low level (his wife’s speechwriter), what happens if, when he’s president, his VA director lets veterans languish in their care? What does he do if an errant general in charge of troops in a foreign country needs to be taken out of that command position? Will he be able to bring himself to sack a postmaster general who can’t manage to get the mail delivered?

There’s about one million more examples I could give you. And that scares me.

Because while I appreciate Donald Trump’s loyalty, I want the Donald Trump who’s willing to say “You’re fired!” when you do a lousy job. I want the the Donald Trump who says, “You’re fired!” when someone is wasting taxpayer money. I want the Donald Trump who will choose our men and women in uniform over his loyalty to someone who isn’t treating them right and tell the loser bureaucrat, “YOU’RE FIRED!!”

When do we get that guy back?

Probably after the election — when he goes back to his old job on “The Apprentice” about a week after Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office.

Listen for my live coverage of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland all week on Arizona’s Morning News starting at 5 a.m. and throughout the day on KTAR News 92.3 FM.

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