Donald Trump has apparently decided that he’s the master of the long-form interview, so he’s been giving a bunch of them lately. But they raise a question: does Trump really think he’s impressing people in these interviews? Today we got our answer: he does indeed. Here he is in his latest Q&A with Robert Costa and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post:
I do say this: My media coverage is not honest. It really isn’t. And I’m not saying that as a person with some kind of a complex. I’m just saying, I will be saying words that are written totally differently from what I’ve said. And I see it all — in all fairness, the editorial board of The Washington Post. I was killed on that. I left the room, I thought it was fine.
Just as a reminder, this is the interview where his comment on racial disparities in law enforcement was “I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t.” On Iran: “We should have gone in and said, ‘release our prisoners,’ they would have said ‘no,’ and we would have said, ‘double up the sanctions.'” On his beef with the Ricketts family: “I’ll start doing ads about their baseball team.” On using nukes against ISIS: “I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here.” On his hands: “My hands are fine. You know, my hands are normal. Slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a slightly smaller than large glove, okay?” On how he’d address racial problems: “I actually think I’d be a great cheerleader for the country.” On taking Iraq’s oil: “For that, I would circle it….I would defend the areas with the oil”—apparently not realizing that the oil is spread throughout nearly the entire country.
That interview was a train wreck. Trump’s ignorance and incoherence was on a Charlie Sheen-esque level—except that Trump didn’t have any pharmaceutical help. But he thought everything went fine. Apparently he can’t read a room quite as well as he thinks.
And he’d better be prepared to get treated badly again. Here he is on the national debt:
DT: We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.
BW: How long would that take?
DT: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers….
BW: What’s fairly quickly?
DT: Well, I would say over a period of eight years. And I’ll tell you why.
BW: Would you ever be open to tax increases as part of that, to solve the problem?
DT: I don’t think I’ll need to. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad.
So…Trump is somehow going to start running a budget surplus of $2 trillion per year without raising taxes. How? Something to do with trade.
Is this even fact checkable? Or is it, in Wolfgang Pauli’s famous words, so nonsensical that it’s “not even wrong”? In any case, I promise Trump that every quote in this post is a direct quotation. Nobody is making him say words that are totally different from what he’s said. Honestly, there’s no need.
However, the fact that he thinks he’s being constantly misquoted really does make you wonder if he’s all there. He seems awfully sincere about this. He really and truly talks in such a stream of consciousness that he doesn’t even realize what he’s said half the time.