This is the “This Week” That Was

Last week’s Democratic National Convention seems to have “bounced” nominee Hillary Clinton back into a slight lead in Real Clear Politics’ average of all the polls, and over the weekend Republican nominee Donald J. Trump got off to an awful start on “This Week.”
For those of you who are either in bed or heading to church during the program, which are the only two places any self-respecting person would be at such an ungodly time, “This Week” is the American Broadcasting Company’s version of those oh-so-serious Sunday morning political shows. It’s hosted by George Stephanopolous, a former Clinton family consigliere who never quite got over the habit, and Republicans have long groused with considerable justification that he strives to make them look stupid. Trump, alas, made the job all too easy.
The interview starts promisingly enough, with Trump boasting that his acceptance speech drew more viewers than Clinton’s, and gloating that “I have one of the great temperaments” and that it is such a “winning temperament” that it beat 16 Republican challengers while Clinton has a “bad temperament” that is such a “weak temperament” that it could barely beat a self-described socialist such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Things started going downhill, though, when Stephanopolous asked “What exactly is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?”
Rather than accusing Stephanopolous of asking a loaded and entirely unfair irrelevant question that is so typical of the biased “lame stream” media, which would have been hard for even Trump to do with a straight face, Trump answered that “I have no relationship with him.” Which of course allowed Stephanoplous to mention the three separate occasions when Trump had boasted that he did have a relationship with Putin, to which Trump offered the explanation that “Because he has said some nice things about me over the years. I remember years ago, he said something — many years ago, he said something very nice about me. I said something good about him when Larry King was on. This was a long time ago, and I said he is a tough cookie or something to that effect.” When Stephanopolous was once again so rude as to mention those three more recent public occasions when Trump did boast of speaking with Putin during their appearance on the same “60 Minutes” episode, Trump acknowledged that their separate interviews on the program were conducted on different sides of the world and demanded to know “What do you call a relationship?”
Asked about the Democrats’ criticism of Trump’s recent statements that he would not necessarily honor America’s North American Treaty Organization obligations, and might recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Trump explained that “They only fear one thing, losing the election.” He explained his remarks on Crimea by saying “I’m not going to be mean to anybody. George, you know me pretty well. I don’t bow,” and clarified his position on NATO by saying “I’m all in favor of NATO. I said NATO is obsolete,” and then claimed credit for the organization’s anti-terrorism stance. Asked why a call for arming Ukrainian rebels to resist Russian occupation was dropped from the Republican platform, Trump insisted he was not involved but admitted that his people were.
At which point the interview went even further awry.
“Well, look, you know, I have my own ideas,” Trump said. “(Putin’s) not going into Ukraine, OK? Just so you understand, he’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down and you can put it down, you can take it anywhere you want.” To which Stephanopolous reasonably asked, with a rather stunned look on his face, “Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Trump had a rather stunned look on his own face when confronted with this well-known and indisputable fact, but recovered well enough to say “OK, well, he’s there in a certain way, but I’m not there yet.”
This was followed by a critique of the Obama administration’s Russian policy, which is indeed a ripe target for a counter-attack, but it’s hard to imagine any other Republican in the history of the party making a bigger mess of it. Pretty much any other Republican in the history of the party would have noted that Obama and the Secretary of State who is now the Democratic nominee had betrayed our Polish and Czech allies by reneging on a missile-defense treaty and then offered that ridiculous “reset” button and promised on a hot mic to offer even greater “flexibility” in a second term, which clearly encouraged Russia’s recent revanchism, and even wound up selling Russia a big chunk of America’s uranium reserves shortly after a couple of generous contributions to the past Secretary of State and current Democratic nominee’s phony-baloney “family foundation,” all of which Trump neglected to mention. Pretty much any other Republican wouldn’t be bogged down by Trump’s even friendlier policy pronouncements, though, or his own sizable contributions to that phony-baloney “family foundation,” or his instinct to link the failures of the Obama administration to that free-loading bunch of bums in a NATO pact that Trump is all in favor of and has said is obsolete.
As bad as it was, the Russo-American issue wasn’t even the part of the interview that generated the worst press of the weekend. Trump was also asked to respond to a speech given at the Democratic convention by Kzir Khan, the father of a Muslim Army Captain who died fighting for America in the Iraq War, who had criticized Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigrants. Pretty much any other Republican would have gratefully acknowledged the family’s sacrifice, and respectfully made the case that American policy must nevertheless realistically assess the costs and benefits of admitting large numbers of Muslim immigrants that will surely include less patriotic sorts. Pretty much none of them would speculate that the father’s speech had been written for him, or gratuitously note how the fallen soldier’s mother had stood silently by her husband during his speech, or add that “She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say,” and certainly none would have compared their efforts to get rich to the sacrifice of a Gold Star family.
There was also a claim that the National Football League had written a letter to Trump expressing their concerns about the presidential debate schedule, which the NFL promptly denied, and which will probably be more widely noted than any of the rest of it because the NFL is such a big deal. All in all, this week got off to a bad start for Trump on “This Week.”

— Bud Norman

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One response

  1. Another week and another week of Trump bashing by “Integrity Bud.” Kzir Khan now joins the media pantheon, along with Cindy Sheehan, as someone with “absolute moral authority” because he had a son who was killed in Iraq.

    You remember Cindy Sheehan, don’t you? She found her way to every Bush event, to his home in Texas, and was front and center on camera … until she was revealed as a nut case, loose cannon, who could not be assured of only bashing Republicans. We suspect that Kzir Khan will be useful to the press as long as he stick to his story line. And what is that story line? That “terror has nothing to do with Islam” and that Trump is a menace to the constitution, a copy of which he pulled from his pocket.

    Byron York, who has a reputation be being a straight shooter, unlike most people in the press, has an article about this in the Washington Examiner.

    “In seven minutes on the national stage, Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen who came to this country in 1980, excoriated Trump for proposals to build a wall along the Mexican border and to temporarily ban the entry of foreign Muslims into the U.S.
    “Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” Khan said to Trump. “I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.'”…

    “It may be that building a wall, deporting illegal immigrants, and temporarily banning the entry of foreign Muslims are all terrible policies. But among the Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans touting Khan’s performance there appears to be a belief that if something is a terrible policy, it must also be unconstitutional. That’s not necessarily so.

    “It should be noted, though, that Trump’s proposals are not unconstitutional according to the way the Supreme Court has interpreted the law for the last 225 years. If a President Trump acted on his proposals and was challenged in court — as he certainly would be — there would always be the possibility that the justices might make up some new reading of the Constitutional to invalidate the president’s actions.”

    It should also be noted that building a wall along the Mexican border is already the law of the land and so is deporting people who are here illegally. The only unconstitutional part is that President Obama, who has sworn that he will execute the laws of the country to the best of his ability, has not done that. That’s unconstitutional, while Hillary has promised the American people that she will not enforce the laws either, something that we don’t hear “integrity Bud” fulminating about.

    Because “integrity” means becoming an ally of Hillary.

    “Integrity Bud” is like John Podhoretz who tweeted to a Trump defender: “HE IS OUR MASTER. BOW BEFORE HIM.” And then there’s Jonah Goldberg who is equally unhinged in his denunciation: “Every day I hear from people who accuse me of thinking I’m better than them for not bending the knee.” And who describe Trump supporters of harboring “… a sense of shame on the part of those willing to sell their souls to this creamsicle colored kakistocrat. “

    Now that’s some kind of “integrity.” On the other hand, their full-throated support of the republican losers in past elections didn’t turn the tide because I suspect that they are preaching to the choir, attracting the eyeballs of the politically obsessed who, if history is a guide, don’t decide elections. If they did, this election would be about the second term of President Romney a man who oozed integrity from his eyeballs.

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