Monday, April 24, 2017

This Trump Transcript is SO MUCH

I just want to preface this by saying that when the Trump Campaign, and especially ghouls like Rudolph Giuliani, made the insinuation that there was something very wrong with Hillary Clinton (Parkinson's? A stroke? None of which are amusing to me, having known people who have suffered those conditions and maintained great functionality--but also, it's not amusing to idly remote-diagnose people to slander them with speculative bullshit) I found this exceptionally grotesque.  Without any kind of proof positive, off-gassing some vileness about a person's health or possible disability seems both like wishful thinking--in wanting a political adversary to be in a failing condition, and like saying that a person with some level of impairment in one area can't have compensatory skills or experiences that help them to achieve despite of the barriers they have to overcome.  So I am going to very specifically try to avoid ableist or medical terms with respects to what I'm observing with respects to Trump's overall demeanor--it is enough to find that he is incurious, deceitful, and inarticulate with the assumption that he has always been to some degree so, without trying to find some organic reason why he seems so.

Leaving all that aside, the AP transcript of Trump's interview with Julie Pace is utterly fascinating. We have every reason to believe that he is ratings-obsessed and still a bit in denial over his popular vote loss, but his idea that winning the electoral vote meant he would suddenly be loved is a bit...sad. He wonders where the ersatz "100 day" metric comes from, not realizing it was from his very own boast. He repeats a lie about the F-35 program. He does, but doesn't, but does, express support for Marine Le Pen, who is horrible.  He tries to say he had hardly any knowledge of WikiLeaks when he praised them, when he knew what they were in 2010.

And so on, and so on. And although "unintelligible" usually means that whatever recording device the reporter used to keep the interview fresh failed to pick up something, it just seems a bit weird to see it printed out so many times in this interview when Trump is not a "soft-talker" for the most part. And yet, he sometimes does seem like a person who is half-assing it. Even his sobriquet for "Face the Nation": "Deface the Nation", sounds borrowed from White House guest Sarah Palin.


I get the distinct feeling that his vagueness comes from the idea that he genuinely thought he could offload the responsibility to other people and only take the plaudits, not the genuine criticisms. This is incredibly far from what the actual job entails. He gave some lip-service to the idea of responsibility, and appreciating the sheer size of the "company" that he now represents as chief executive. But it remains astonishing to me that he embarked on the process of running for this position with apparently no understanding of these things at all, and still talks in terms of whether he is liked or has chemistry with world leaders, instead of understanding the geopolitical lay of the land and what leverage he does or doesn't have, and why.

It is concerning to me that the more I see of his mental process and his responses to events, the less I think he has the wherewithal to do the job. When he brags that he "called" terror events, instead of acknowledging that this is a recognized problem that must be faced on numerous fronts, I feel like this is a kid's understanding of things. He sees things as new to everyone because they are new to him, and it is as off-putting as it is dangerous, because it imbues him with a sense that he is ahead, not behind, the curve. 

This is what journalism is for, though--letting us see what a figure has to say, and let us draw our own conclusions. I am glad this transcript lets us see this view of Trump's thought process. And I think the questions and follow-ups were truly on-point because they helped fill in parts that aren't there with the certain knowledge that they are not there because they are not. In Trump's mind. There yet.

*And yet, after seeing all the digressions, obsessions, and slightly not all there things in this one interview, keep in  mind that Trump once confused Tim Kaine for NJ former governor Thomas Kean, and recently called Paul Ryan "Ron" several times.  Brah--do you even politics? I begin to think, regarding Trump, the answer is clearly, nah. rite?

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