November 21, 2018

Sunday School 11/18/18 (pt 4)

In the final part of the president's interview with Chris Wallace, we learn about his toughest decision, his relationship with the military, and how he ranks his own performance, which I'm saving for last.    The first three parts of the interview are available here, here and here.

Wallace asked Trump about term limits. The question is a piece of work:
Can you envision a situation - you talk about six more years. Can you envision a situation well into your second term where you think you're so good for the country and so essential to the progress of the country that you would try and amend the Constitution so you could serve a third time?
Fortunately, Trump didn't take the bait.
No, no. .. Just won't happen, it's not -- I think the eight-year limit is a good thing, not a bad thing.
On the Veterans Day weekend debacles, including Trump's insistence that it was the Secret Service that prevented him from going to the first cemetery, not the weather, which came up previously in the interview as well.

Wallace did not ask why Trump did not join his fellow world leaders for the trip to the Arc de Triomphe; he and Putin both arrived separately. It reminded me of the time Trump rode behind as the other leaders walked, together, at the G7 summit in Italy. He did ask why Trump failed to go to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
I should have done that, I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling as you know...I probably - you know, in retrospect, I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year.
He did not do it last year either - he was out of the country, but what's another lie?
But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American Cemetery in Paris and I probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state - doing other things. But I would have - I would have done it. 
OK, sure. Calls and affairs of state and other things.  Notably, there are no readouts of any Veterans Day calls on the White House website, for what it's worth.

On why he hasn't visited our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned. We don't want to talk about it because of - obviously because of security reasons and everything else. But there are things that are being planned. As you know I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq. I think it was a tremendous mistake, should have never happened. 
I don't think anybody's been more with the military than I have, as a president. In terms of funding, in terms of all of the things I've been able to get them, including the vets. I don't think anybody's done more than me. 
I've had an unbelievably busy schedule and I will be doing it. On top of which you have these phony witch hunts. On top of which - I mean, we've just been very busy. But I will be doing that. '
What an incredibly insensitive thing for the Commander-in-Chief to say, don't you think? Especially when one looks at his unbelievably busy schedule aligned with his own words to us before he was elected.
Why I would have loved for a follow up question - you know a, "what, do you think I'm stupid?" or something, but instead Wallace switched gears, telling Trump that Republicans who like what he's doing but dislike that he's so divisive.
I think if I was a, you know, more modified, more moderate in that sense, I don't think I would have done half of the things that I was able to get completed. With that being said, other than you have to have a certain ability to fight back and as you know, people have - you know, they take strong stance on me both ways, you know, love and hate. I'd like to see it a little bit, maybe, right down the middle.
But tone is something that is important to me. But a lot of times you can't practice tone because you have people coming at you so hard that if you don't fight back in a somewhat vigorous way, you're not going to win. And we have to win. This country has to win.
We have a lot of victories coming and I think if I - if I go too low-key, we're not going to have those victories.
Now, mind you, Wallace posed his question after talking about Trump's negative comments about Mia Love, April Ryan, Yamiche Alcindor and Abby Phillip. I wasn't sure that being victorious over a Republican Senator and three reporters, all women of color, was so important to our country, were you?

Wallace also asked Trump about his toughest decision as president; Trump said North Korea, and that he's got a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un, even though, Wallace asked, that they might still be working on nukes?
Yes, Maybe they are. Maybe they're not. I don't believe that, I don't. And you know, could. And which is - if it  - if that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes. You know, I go with the way we have to go. But so far, it's been good. We have a good relationship. We made, I think, some great decisions for the - for the people of this country.
And I do, you know, I put America first and other countries should put themselves first. It's not like we're  - we should put - and everybody else should be second to us. No, other countries are proud of their countries and their leaders should put their countries first. But we were putting our country in many cases last. We were more worried about the world that we were worried about the United States. That's not going to happen with me. 
Note again his disregard for the United States intelligence community: maybe it was Russia, maybe it was somebody else. Maybe they are testing nukes, maybe they aren't. Maybe it was the Crown Prince, maybe it wasn't.

Maybe he believes the experts, maybe he doesn't.

Maybe he understands that disagreeing with the sum total of our best and brightest intelligence folks shows us as untrustworthy to our allies, maybe he doesn't.

The final exchange we'll look at between the two of them is this one:
CW: Where do you rank yourself in the pantheon of great Presidents? There is Lincoln and Washington, there's FDR and Reagan. Do you make the top 10? 
Trump: I think I'm doing a great job. We have the best economy we've ever had.
CW: So, where do you rank yourself?
Trump: ... I would give myself, I would - look I hate to do it but I will do it. I would give myself an A+ - is that enough? Can I go higher than that? 
See you around campus, where we grade on a more realistic curve. 

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