ABC's David Muir has gotten some flak for his performance interviewing President Trump yesterday, but I'm not sure it's deserved. Maybe he could have done better, but if the guy won't answer a question, he won't answer a question. Most of the time, Trump barely let Muir get in a word edgewise. Every time half a question came out, Trump would barrel over it and deliver a rambling, unrelated screed. If Muir had asked him what 2+2 equaled, Trump would have blathered for five minutes about our terrible schools and the Chinese are killing us and nobody knows numbers anymore and we have to get rid of Common Core and blah blah blah. Muir tried four or five times to get a straight answer about Trump's idiotic claim that 3-5 million noncitizens voted, and Trump just flatly wouldn't engage.
Still, there were a few interesting tidbits. I count four altogether. First, what's this business of sending in the feds to deal with Chicago's crime problem?
DAVID MUIR: You will send in the feds? What do you mean by that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's carnage....It's horrible carnage....Now if they want help, I would love to help them. I will send in what we have to send in. Maybe they're not gonna have to be so politically correct. Maybe they're being overly political correct. Maybe there's something going on.
Chart above adapted from CNN chart. Next up: Does Trump endorse torture?
DAVID MUIR: The last president, President Obama, said the U.S. does not torture. Will you say that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will say this, I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don't wanna do, that's fine. If they do wanna do, then I will work for that end....And I'm gonna rely on those two people and others. And if they don't wanna do it, it's 100 percent okay with me. Do I think it works? Absolutely.
How about the oil in Iraq? Are we going to go back in and take it?
DAVID MUIR: You brought up Iraq and something you said that could affect American troops in recent days. You said, "We should've kept the oil but okay maybe we'll have another chance." What did you mean by that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we should've kept the oil when we got out....
DAVID MUIR: You've heard the critics who say that would break all international law, taking the oil.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, wait, can you believe that? Who are the critics who say that? Fools. I don't call them critics. I call them fools....
DAVID MUIR: What got my attention, Mr. President, was when you said, "Maybe we'll have another chance."
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, don't let it get your attention too much because we'll see what happens. I mean, we're gonna see what happens.
Finally, will Trump guarantee that folks currently covered by Obamacare will remain covered under his new plan?
DAVID MUIR: You've seen the estimate that 18 million Americans could lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed and there is no replacement. Can you assure those Americans watching this right now that they will not lose their health insurance or end up with anything less?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: .... Here's what I can assure you, we are going to have a better plan, much better health care, much better service treatment, a plan where you can have access to the doctor that you want and the plan that you want. We're gonna have a much better health care plan at much less money.
And remember Obamacare is ready to explode. And you interviewed me a couple of years ago. I said '17 — right now, this year, "'17 is going to be a disaster." I'm very good at this stuff....And why not? Obama's a smart guy. So let it all come due because that's what's happening.....
DAVID MUIR: So, no one who has this health insurance through Obamacare will lose it or end up with anything less?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, when you say no one I think no one. Ideally, in the real world, you’re talking about millions of people. Will no one. And then, you know, knowing ABC, you'll have this one person on television saying how they were hurt. Okay. We want no one. We want the answer to be no one.
So there you have it:
- Two weeks ago, the Justice Department released a "blistering" report about the Chicago Police Department that said "excessive force was rampant, rarely challenged and chiefly aimed at African-Americans and Latinos." But Trump thinks maybe they're being too soft and they need someone to come in and toughen them up.
- Torture is a war crime, but Trump is explicitly fine with it if any of his guys recommend it.
- He still wants to take Iraq's oil, and refuses to rule out the possibility of going back in and doing it. Trump seems to still not realize that the oil is all in the ground and he can't just "take it," nor that taking it would also be a war crime.
- He thinks President Obama deliberately designed Obamacare to implode in 2017 when he would no longer be in office.
- His health care plan will cover everyone who currently has coverage under Obamacare. No one will end up with something worse. "We want the answer to be no one."
I would have posted this last night, but I just couldn't stand any more Trump. It took me all morning to work up the willingness to tackle it.
And we're only partly through the first week. There are 208 to go.