Real estate mogul and master of outrageous soundbites Donald Trump can’t seem to stay out of the news these days as he continues his quest to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus spent 45 minutes on the phone with Trump yesterday, urging him to “tone it down” because he was hurting the Republican brand, but The Donald was undeterred.
Most of the media attention surrounding Trump has been negative since he asserted that illegal Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals. But so far, Trump appears to be living proof of the adage that all publicity is good publicity. Running second only to former Florida governor Jeb Bush in national polls, he appears destined to earn a spot in the first GOP presidential debate next month, where sound bites and the ability to shock could be even more of a benefit than they have been to him so far.
Appearing in a 29-minute interview on NBC Wednesday afternoon, the former reality television star conducted a master class in boorishness and braggadocio, repeating his attacks on immigrants, denigrating his Republican opponents, and even belittling NBC’s Katy Tur, the interviewer questioning him. All the while, Trump threw off outrageous assessments of his own abilities as a politician, negotiator, military strategist and diplomat that bordered on the delusional.
The man may be a sound-bite machine, but even by his own prodigious standards, the performance on NBC was special. Here are 10- of the best lines from Trump’s appearance yesterday:
On the backlash to his calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I have a great relationship with the Mexican people…. I have many legal immigrants working with me. And many of them come from Mexico. They love me, I love them. And I'll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I'll win the Latino vote.
On Macy’s, Serta, NBC Universal and Univision dropping him over his comments. This [issue] is too important. Yeah, I'm losing some contracts. Who cares? They're weak and they want to be politically correct. Some of them have already apologized to me and said they made a mistake.
What he thinks about his old friend Hillary Clinton? She was the worst secretary of state in the history of our nation, and she’s weak on immigration reform. [She would] let everybody come in… killers, criminals, drug dealers . . . I might be divisive on immigration, but she's weak on immigration, which is far worse.
What he thinks about former Republican governor Jeb Bush. Jeb would be very weak as president. No energy.
How he would defeat ISIS. I’m about beating ISIS militarily and not acting like a bunch of babies like we’re acting right now. I would knock the hell out of their oil areas because they’re as rich as can be. They’re building a hotel in Iraq. They took over a hotel and they’re renovating a hotel in Iraq. They have nothing but money; it’s coming out of their ears. And they’re getting most of their money from oil…. With ISIS, you kill them at the head. You take the oil.
On Republicans who fear he is dividing their party and could cost them the presidency. Well on Fox [News], they say I did a great favor because I’m the one who brought up the whole [issue] of immigration. I think I’m helping the party greatly. And I actually think that if you look at Mitt Romney, who was a great disappointment because he ran a terrible campaign, and especially in the last month he totally collapsed. Something happened to him. Still, it’s very simple. Many of the conservative Republicans stayed home. They didn’t want to do anything…. If those people had got out and voted, he would have won. But they weren’t energized.”
On gun control or background checks. We have a lot of people that are killed by guns, but I’m a big Second Amendment person. You know when the prisoners escaped up in New York, which was a tragedy in itself, people who were against guns said, ‘Thank God we have guns.’… I don’t want to do anything to violate the Second Amendment…. To me the Second Amendment is very important.
On his biggest concerns. I’m concerned about the country. Our country is going to hell. I’m concerned about everything. Our country is being beaten in trade deals by China, by Japan, by Mexico. Mexico is the new China. Mexico is killing us in trade. We’re being beaten militarily. Every time we send equipment to our so-called allies, one bullet is shot in the air and they [scatter]. We lost 2,300 armored plated Humvees, not three or four or seven. We lost 2,300 Humvees in one day. That’s impossible. How can you lose that many? A bullet gets fired into the air, and the people we are giving Humvees to, they run like bandits.
On the U.S. debt. Our country is in trouble. We owe $18 trillion, going up to $21 trillion very soon. We are Greece. We are Greece on steroids. I want to make our country great again. We have the potential to have that great spirit that we once had. We don’t have that anymore. Our country is a mess.
On Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist who called him a “rodeo clown.” [He’s] a totally overrated person that dislikes me personally. I’ve never met him. He’s a totally overrated guy, doesn’t know what he’s doing.
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