In case you missed the latest Republican debate on Fox News, here is a recap of some the lowlights provided by the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump.
Moderator Chris Wallace opened with a question referencing Mitt Romney’s brutal takedown of Trump earlier that day: “[Mitt Romney] challenged you to answer with substance, not insults. How do you answer Mitt Romney, sir?” Not surprisingly, Trump responded with an insult: “Well look, he was a failed candidate, he should have beaten president Obama very easy.”
Trump was asked about his failure to disavow the support of David Duke, the KKK and other white supremacists. He came clean saying “I totally disavow the Klu Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke. I’ve been doing it now for two weeks, this is your — you’re probably about the 18th person that’s asked me the question. It was very clear.” That’s funny, because his previous reason for not doing so was that he didn’t hear the question due to a “very bad earpiece.” He has apparently abandoned that lie. And white supremacists continue to back his candidacy for reasons that are obvious to anyone who listens to him.
On the subject of how badly the discourse in the Republican campaign had deteriorated into infantile insults, Trump elected to sink even further saying “[Marco Rubio] referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.” Something tells me that he is going handle this the same way he is handling his tax returns – by refusing to provide evidence (thank God). And something also tells me that he is just as dishonest about both subjects. His bellicose bullying is clearly overcompensating for shortcoming.
Rubio hit Trump again on his record as a businessman who failed repeatedly and had the benefit of a generous inheritance. Trump continued to evade the issue, changing the subject to the “small” loan of a million dollars that he received from his father. Someone needs to ask him directly how much he received from his father’s estate when he died. Published reports put the amount as high as $200 million.
Trump gave a long, and nearly incoherent, answer when asked when he will start having his clothing lines manufactured in the U.S. He eventually said that he wouldn’t do it because it wasn’t financially feasible because China, Japan, and Mexico “make it impossible for clothing-makers in this country to do clothing in this country.” Of course, the truth is that there are many domestic clothing manufacturers and Rubio made that point by noting that all of the clothes on his website are made in the U.S.
Trump was asked if he would authorize of The New York Times to release the tapes from an interview that included off-the-record remarks. He declined saying that “I have too much respect for that process to say ‘just release everything.’ I would not do that.” He seems not to grasp the concept. Being off-the-record is purely a concession to the interviewee. It is not a process or a promise to the journalist. If he releases the reporter from the agreement, the reporter would be thrilled to publish the material. Trump is obviously trying to blame his refusal to release the material on an imaginary “process” because he’s afraid of what it will reveal about him.
Trump was asked about his flip-flopping, including the time he said that he would have invaded Afghanistan, which he said that he would not do the day before. His explanation was that “Well, on Afghanistan, I did mean Iraq.” The only problem with that is that the full statement he made opposing the Afghanistan invasion was this: “We’ve made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. That thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.” He could not plausibly have meant Iraq instead of Afghanistan if he included Iraq in the comment as another example of invasions he opposed.
And then there was this bizarre exchange with co-moderator Bret Baier:
Baier: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. […] So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders? […] the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.
Trump: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.
Baier: But they’re illegal.
Trump: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going — and I think most of you know where they went — and, by the way, it wasn’t Iraq — but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wives knew exactly what was happening. They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husbands on television flying into the World Trade Center.
First of all, Trump is revisiting a lie he has told before about the wives of the 9/11 hijackers. Only two of the terrorists were married, and their wives never came to the U.S. in the first place, so they never flew back to that “certain territory.” Secondly, Trump completely dodged the question as to how he would coerce the military to commit war crimes, which is what he is proposing when he says that he would bomb the families of terrorists. Soldiers are actually duty-bound to refuse to follow unlawful orders.
And this is current front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. As frightening as is the prospect of such an ignorant, dishonest, wannabe dictator becoming president, it is even scarier that there is a sizable faction of Republican voters who support him. This affirms my theory that Trump is just a symptom, his followers are the disease.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.