Here is the start of a Jake Tapper question to Donald Trump this morning. Trump has just gotten done lying yet again—and at length—about his support for the Iraq War, and Tapper finally decides to move on:
TAPPER: At a rally in Sacramento, you accused [Hillary Clinton] of lying about your foreign policy as it relates to expressing
support for Japan being able to get nuclear weapons.
TRUMP: A hundred percent.
TAPPER: Well, let me just read from you….This is from an April 3 interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. You said: “North Korea has nukes, Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.”
And Chris Wallace says, “With nukes?”
And you say, “Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.”
This is followed by nearly a thousand words over the course of three minutes of Tapper vainly trying to get Trump to address his question at all. It’s not that Trump tap dances or makes excuses or pretends he really meant something different. He just flatly insists on talking about something else and bowls over Tapper whenever he tries to get him back on track. Finally, Tapper gives up and moves on again.
This is not a criticism of Tapper, who has been more aggressive than most about trying to hold Trump accountable for the things he says. But what can you do? Trump very plainly has expressed support for Japan getting nukes. It’s on tape. He’s been explicit on multiple occasions that we should withdraw our military presence from Japan unless they’re willing to pay us a lot more money. That’s on tape too.
Hillary Clinton responded with this: “It’s no small thing when he suggests that America should withdraw our military support for Japan, encourage them to get nuclear weapons.” That’s 100 percent accurate. It’s not even slightly exaggerated. And yet Trump blithely insists that she’s lying and then refuses to answer questions about it. Eventually exhaustion sets in and everyone just lets it go.
How do you handle someone like that?