During the Commander in Chief Forum put on by MSNBC Wednesday night, Matt Lauer asked Donald Trump about his penchant for making bizarre, reactionary statements when he’s “in the heat of battle” and whether that’s a trait we should be comfortable with in a president. He didn’t even attempt to answer the question.
LAUER: People talk about you and commander-in-chief, and not just Secretary Clinton, but some of your Republican opponents in the primary season, and they wonder about your temperament. They say, does Donald Trump have the temperament to be commander-in-chief?
You said something recently that I found interesting. You admitted that sometimes in the heat of a debate or when you’re talking about a lot of issues you say things that you later regret. So can we afford that with a commander-in-chief — to have a commander-in-chief who says things that he later regrets?
TRUMP: Well, when you say regret, yeah, sure, I regret. But in the meantime, I beat 16 people and here I am. So, you know, to a certain extent there is a regret. I would have liked to have done it in a nicer manner. But I had 16 very talented people that I had to go through. And that was a lot of people.
LAUER: But when you say…
TRUMP: That was a record, Matt. That was a record in the history of Republican politics. I was able to get more votes than anybody ever has gotten in the history of Republican politics.
LAUER: But when you say inflammatory things… (CROSSTALK)
LAUER: … in a presidential campaign, it’s different than saying them when you’re commander-in-chief. If you say things you regret…
TRUMP: I agree with you.
LAUER: … when you’re commander-in-chief, you can spark a conflict, you can destabilize a region, you can put American lives at risk. Can we afford to take that risk with you?
TRUMP: Well, I think absolutely. I think if you saw what happened in Mexico the other day, where I went there, I had great relationships, everything else. I let them know where the United States stands. I mean, we’ve been badly hurt by Mexico, both on the border and with taking all of our jobs or a big percentage of our jobs.
And if you look at what happened, look at the aftermath today where the people that arranged the trip in Mexico have been forced out of government. That’s how well we did.
Wait, the guy that arranged the meeting with Trump got canned and that proves “how well we did.” Really, that’s the measure of success? Seriously, WTF? At no point does he even attempt to answer the question, which is an entirely relevant one. The pattern with Trump is that at the slightest provocation, even the mildest criticism of him, he flies completely off the handle. There are so many examples of this, but what he said about John McCain not being a hero because he prefers people who don’t get caught is probably the single best example. He’s already done this in regard to foreign leaders, attacking Angela Merkel rather viciously.
This is maybe the most bizarre thing about Trump’s campaign, that he attacks our closest allies while continually praising Vladimir Putin, whose expansionism and aggression are a real threat to those allies in Europe and Asia. It makes absolutely no sense.