Sunday on Meet the Press, Donald Trump ran afoul of fact when NBC’s Andrea Mitchell laid bare the truth about the Republican presidential frontrunner, saying Trump is “completely uneducated about any part of the world,” and that “When he doesn’t know something, he just changes the subject, makes it all about himself.”
Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
CHUCK TODD (HOST): Obviously a bizarre week, Andrea, in so many ways. But I want to go — because what I think could have been the story of the week was this unbelievable editorial board interview that Donald Trump did with The Washington Post. Let me play a longer excerpt of it and get you to respond.
By the way, just so folks know, when we excerpted it, so then everybody around the room introduced themselves, subject got changed.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Exactly. He cannot stick to a subject. It is remarkable. And when he doesn’t know something, he just changes the subject, makes it all about himself.
TODD: On national security it’s a very noticeable — especially to your ears and mine.
MITCHELL: Absolutely. And this was a week where he could have gone after President Obama, arguably. There’s a lot happening and the president has some vulnerabilities. So does Hillary Clinton. But instead he’s all over the lot. And then The New York Times, David Sanger, Maggie Haberman, do an interview with him, a 90-minute interview and it’s in today’s paper and online. And the transcript, if you read the transcript online, he would cancel defense treaties with Japan and South Korea against North Korea. He doesn’t mind, he would be okay if Japan and South Korea go nuclear. American policy for decades since World War II has been trying to keep nukes out of that arena. He would stop importing oil from Saudi Arabia if they don’t pay more for their defense. We need oil. We are not energy independent. We rely on oil still —
MITCHELL: For our daily needs. He is completely all over the lot on Iran. He believes — he complained that Iran isn’t buying our planes. It had to be pointed out to him that Iran is still under sanctions and cannot buy American planes. He thinks North Korea and Iran are the biggest trading partners when North Korea’s biggest trading partner is China. He is completely uneducated about any part of the world.
This is not exactly what you want to see in a presidential candidate. This has been fairly obvious for some time, but, for example, if you read the transcript of The New York Times‘ telephone interviews with Trump about foreign policy, it becomes blindingly obvious that Trump is literally just winging it, a literal mental sh*tstorm of ideas based on bits of knowledge and Republican talking points.
Most glaringly, he failed the “Palin Test,” being unable to name any sources of information, books or articles, he had read or used to inform himself.
Huffington Post has identified a Trump Doctrine which is essentially that of another president who saw things in absolutes, Ronald Reagan, to be defined as “peace through economic and military strength.” What happens, though, when the country is not the economic shambles Republicans claim (it is in fact no longer 2008, the year they’re campaigning against) and when we already have that military strength?
For example, in talking about Japan, China, and North Korea, Trump said when we entered into our arrangement to protect Japan we were “a rich country with a strong military” and that “We’re not anymore. We have a military that’s severely depleted.” Never mind that we have not only the single largest military on the entire planet, but as of 2015, U.S. spends on defense more than the next nine countries combined.
So yes, Donald Trump is completely uninformed about the world and completely unfit to occupy the White House. The Washington Post has analyzed these interviews and other Trump utterances and their findings, organized as “9 key points,” paint a scary picture of a Trump-driven world.
Though he denies it, Trump’s policies make him an isolationist, and we find ourselves in a future of nuclear proliferation, one where the U.S. pulls back from NATO at a time when Russia is flexing its muscles in Eastern Europe, and one where, as Mitchell has pointed out, decisions are made in complete ignorance of the facts (Trump proved he wasn’t even aware of certain Iran sanctions).
We have to remember, however, that the same is true of any Republican candidate, who, after all, get their information from the same “knowledge pool” as Trump. Building on the fantasies of the Bush administration, the GOP has spent the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency constructing an alternate reality and it is now glaringly obvious that nothing Republicans insist is true about the world has any bearing on our shared reality.
Andrea Mitchell told it like it is Sunday: Donald Trump knows nothing. Moreover, as he changes the subject when it comes up, he is revealing that he is aware he knows nothing. But he won’t admit it because his bluster admits of no doubt. He thinks we won’t notice and the facts will get lost, along with the questions, in the sh*tstorm of his bombast.
It hasn’t worked, and what we are seeing more and more is the inevitable result of the GOP’s and Fox News’ construction of a false reality in which their candidates could play. Leave it to the GOP’s also inevitable result, Donald Trump, to expose all its flaws.