On 26 January 2017 Donald Trump gave his first interview, after becoming president, to ABC News.
When I listened to the interview I was confused. So, in a quiet moment, I decided to analyse the transcript to see if I could understand exactly what his responses to the questions posed by David Muir, the interviewer, meant. I have to admit that it proved to be a rather difficult task and I am left just as confused now as I was then.
Q5. DAVID MUIR: What are you gonna say to some of your supporters who might say, “Wait a minute, I thought Mexico was going to pay for this right at the start.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’d say very simply that they are going to pay for it. I never said they’re gonna pay from the start. I said Mexico will pay for the wall. But what I will tell my supporters is, “Would you like me to wait two years or three years before I make this deal?” Because we have to make a deal on NAFTA. We have to make a new trade deal with Mexico because we’re getting clobbered.
We have a $60-billion trade deficit. So, if you want, I can wait two years and then we can do it nice and easily. I wanna start the wall immediately. Every supporter I have — I have had so many people calling and tweeting and — and writing letters saying they’re so happy about it. I wanna start the wall. We will be reimbursed for the wall.
COMMENT: “…..they are going to pay for it.” “We will be reimbursed for the wall.” This is contradictory. If they are going to pay for it why would the USA need to be reimbursed? It also begs the question, which David Muir didn’t ask but I will. What makes you so sure they are going to pay for it when their President has stated they are not? Do you have a signed pledge or contract?
Q6. DAVID MUIR: When does construction begin?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it. We’re …
DAVID MUIR: Within months?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say in months. Yeah, I would say in months. Certainly planning is starting immediately.
COMMENT: Wow! That sounded really convincing Donald. David didn’t ask how many months and only got two words out of the start of his next question…..
DAVID MUIR: People feel …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll be having some really good, really solid plans within a short period of time.
COMMENT: The answer to Q6 following this waffle should be ‘I have no idea when construction will begin because nothing has been agreed by America or Mexico.’
Q7. DAVID MUIR: When people learn of the news of this wall today there are gonna be a lot of people listening to this. And I wanna ask about undocumented immigrants who are here — in this country. Right now they’re protected as so-called dreamers — the children who were brought here, as you know, by their parents. Should they be worried — that they could be deported? And is there anything you can say to assure them right now that they’ll be allowed to stay?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They shouldn’t be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border. We’re gonna have a very solid border. Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried. We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks.
COMMENT: Unless my hearing and sight are impaired this is mind-blowing. I have to keep reading to make sure. If you reword it like this how does it sound? ‘Illegal immigrants are welcome because I have a big heart. They shouldn’t be very worried about being deported because we are going to take care of everybody.’
If this is right why would you need a border? Just a passing thought.
Then “….great people that are here that have done a good job……. should be far less worried.” Far less worried than the illegal immigrants who “…..shouldn’t be very worried.”? And why should they be? I thought you were going to take care of everybody.
How is anyone supposed to make sense of this? David seems frustrated as he tries to get an answer to Q7. He continues…
Q8. DAVID MUIR: But Mr. President, will they be allowed to stay?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m gonna tell you over the next four weeks. But I will tell you, we’re looking at this, the whole immigration situation, we’re looking at it with great heart. Now we have criminals that are here. We have really bad people that are here. Those people have to be worried ’cause they’re getting out. We’re gonna get them out. We’re gonna get ’em out fast. General Kelly is — I’ve given that as his number one priority.
COMMENT: So the correct answer to Q7 and 8 must be ‘I don’t know.’
Now the President goes from great people doing a good job to the revelation that America has criminals!!! Really bad people. Is anyone under the illusion that this was not so? Did we need the President to tell us this startling news?
“We’re gonna get them out.” Should we read into this that law enforcement in America is defunct and the President is sending in the troops under General Kelly to do the FBI’s job? If I’m wrong then what is he talking about?
Q9. DAVID MUIR: Senator Jeff Sessions, your pick for attorney general, as you know during his confirmation hearing said that ending DACA, this is President Obama’s policy protecting the dreamers — that, “Ending it certainly would be constitutional.” That you could end the protection of these dreamers. Is that a possibility?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna be talking with — attorney general. He will soon be the attorney general. He’s done fantastically well. We’re all very proud of him. I thought he was treated very, very unfairly. He’s a brilliant man and he’s a very good man. He’ll do a fantastic job. I’ll be speaking to him as soon as he’s affirmed.
COMMENT: Well, now we know in no uncertain terms that the attorney general has done fantastically well, is a brilliant man and will do a fantastic job. But what has that got to do with the question – Q9? David tries again.
DAVID MUIR: So, it’s a possibility.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will be talking to the attorney general.
COMMENT: So I assume the answer to Q9 is ‘I don’t know.’