It has been a bad twenty-four hours in Trumpland.
There is no doubt about it. The Donald is really skilled at dodging direct questions. But reporters are increasingly holding him accountable for his answers, and as the candidate struggles to string phrases together into complete sentences, we are gaining additional insights into his views.
Today Trump got to reaffirm his newly acquired stance on abortion, and he repeated his proclamation that abortion should be banned. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went on to ask the candidate if he believed that a woman should be punished for having an abortion if a ban were put into place.
Donald rambled a bit, in that typical Donald way. At first he responded, “I would say that it is a very serious problem, and it is a problem we should decide on.” Matthews then asked how the candidate proposed to ban abortion. Trump’s articulated his views on the issue by stating “Well, people might go to illegal places, but you have to ban it.” An odd discussion of Catholicism followed. Matthews then successfully disengaged himself from the candidate’s attempt to explore the reporter’s theological beliefs, and asked him again if a woman should be punished for having an abortion, demanding that Trump give an answer that included the words yes or no.
You could see the wheels turning in Trump’s head. He had lost control of the discussion, and he is clearly unaccustomed to losing control. He spoke much more slowly, much more deliberately than we are used to seeing him speak. His eyes dart around. He blinks a few times. He puts his tongue between his teeth and responds:
“The answer is that, (pause, pause pause) there has to be some form of punishment.”
“For the woman?” Matthews asked.
“Yeah.” Trump responds, regaining his balance, and finally looking like himself again. “There has to be some form.”
In a follow-up question, when Trump was asked if men should bear any responsibility, the candidate responded, “No, I don’t think so.”
Now anyone who has been paying attention is aware of the fact that Trump has not put his huge IQ to work on developing many of the policies that he might want to implement as he makes us great again.
And it seems that someone on his staff reminded the candidate that conservatives like Mr. Trump support the rights of individual states to make decisions on such matters. Do you think that your job sucks? Imagine how much it must suck to be the person who tells Mr. Trump that he just screwed up and needs to fix it.
Apparently there was a subsequent damage control tweet from a member of Trump’s staff, clarifying that the candidate believes that the states should have to right to… blah blah blah.
It hasn’t been a good 24 hours.
Last night, after providing an extensive analysis of the video of his campaign manager saving him from a crazed reporter with a pen, (that might have been a bomb), Trump was asked a question by the member of the audience at a Town Hall Meeting. The question was the sort of soft, open ended questions that most candidates would delight in having the opportunity to respond to.
“In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?”
Trump jumped in with his first best answer, which was security. Security, security, security.
He rambled a bit, said security a few times, obviously struggling to find something else to add to the list. Then he responded:
Trump: “I would also say health care, education,”
Moderator Anderson Cooper looked puzzled. He questioned Trump further.
Cooper: “So in terms of federal government role, you’re saying security. But you also say health care and education should be provided by the federal government.”
Trump: “Those are two of things. Yeah, sure. There are obviously many things. Housing, providing great neighborhoods.
Cooper: “Aren’t you against the federal government’s involvement in education?” “Don’t you want it to devolve to states?”
Trump: “No, I want it to go to states. Yeah, absolutely.”
Cooper: “So that’s not part of what the federal government should do?”
Trump: “Well, the federal government. But the concept of the country is that we have to have education within the country.”
Cooper: “And federal health care run by the federal government?”
Trump: “Health care. We need health care for our people. Obamacare is a disaster.”
Cooper: “That is something that the government should be doing?”
Trump: “The government can lead it but it should be privately done.”
It seems that poor Mr. Trump has not even passed Conservative Indoctrination 101, which states that all conservatives must, at all costs, hate big government. (Except when it comes to who you marry and what you do between the sheets and how women control their bodies, of course.) But we need to keep government out of our education systems, out of our healthcare systems. That is basic. So what possibly could have inspired him to name those two issues as among the top three roles functions of government?
Perhaps he demonstrated what many of us have suspected all along. He has no idea how government works. Period.
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