Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Donald Trump's presidential attitude: "I don't care."

I missed the CBS 60-minutes interview with Trump and P. pencius so will rely on Ezra Klein (vox.com) who made some notes about it.

On Sunday night, Donald Trump and Mike Pence sat down with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl for their first joint interview. It got weird quickly.

Leslie Stahl grilled the two on ISIS and the Iraq war.

We could be safe again — we just need a president comfortable "deciding to destroy the enemies of our freedom." Having served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike Pence knows that what’s missing is "a directive to our military commanders" that will harness "the enormous resources of the United States," although apparently not ground troops.

Again, this wasn’t a pop quiz. This was a planned 60 Minutes interview. This was a question about a core slogan of Donald Trump’s campaign. I appreciate that there aren’t easy answers to the problems of ISIS. But it doesn’t feel like Trump and his running mate are trying to come up with answers at all. It’s just nonsense.

And that wasn’t even the worst of it.

"We did go to war, if you remember," Stahl said. "We went to Iraq."

"Yeah," Trump replied, "you went to Iraq" — note the use of the second person there — "but that was handled so badly. And, by the way, that was a war that we shouldn't have entered."

Recall, at this point, that Trump is sitting next to his running mate, Mike Pence. And Mike Pence supported the Iraq War. This is something Stahl noted.

"Your running mate voted for it," she said.

Trump’s reply? "I don't care."

Stop for a moment and let that sink in. Trump did not try to explain away Pence’s vote. He did not say that Pence had learned from his vote. He just said, flatly, "I don’t care."

Stahl, at this point, seemed genuinely shocked. "What do you mean you don't care that he voted for it?"

"It's a long time ago," Trump said. "And he voted that way, and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people." Here, again, it’s worth quoting what came next:

Lesley Stahl: But you've harped on this.

Donald Trump: But I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but you've used that vote of Hillary [Clinton]'s that was the same as Gov. Pence as the example of her bad judgment.

Donald Trump: Many people have, and frankly, I'm one of the few that was right on Iraq.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but what about he—

Donald Trump: He's entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.

Lesley Stahl: But she's not? Okay, come on—

Donald Trump: But she's not—

Lesley Stahl: She's not?

Donald Trump: No. She's not.

Lesley Stahl: Got it.

Let’s recap: Donald Trump says he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, which he didn’t. He says one reason you can’t trust Hillary Clinton’s judgment is that she supported the war in Iraq. But his vice presidential pick also supported the war in Iraq, and his justification for that is, literally, "I don’t care." When asked to explain the discrepancy, his answer, literally, is that Mike Pence is allowed to make mistakes and Hillary Clinton isn’t.

Trump is getting obvious questions, and he’s not even pretending to have answers. It’s like he’s not even trying.

There are days when I wonder if Donald Trump really wants to be president, and this is one of them.

If you missed it, check out Klein's transcript or view the interview on CBS News.

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