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.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I want to start — we’re five days in. And your campaign promises. I know today you plan on signing the order to build the wall.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Correct.
Q2. DAVID MUIR: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ultimately it’ll come out of what’s happening with Mexico. We’re gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I will say …
COMMENT: This didn’t look too promising. Two questions together may have proved to be too much. Thankfully David stopped him.
Q3. DAVID MUIR: So, they’ll pay us back?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent.
COMMENT: This seems like a straight answer, easy to understand. Mexico will pay the USA back. Therefore that must mean the USA will fund the wall building. But is it a straight answer? In Q4 David is seeking confirmation.
Q4. DAVID MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I wanna build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.
COMMENT: Off he goes on a tangent. “We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from.” Could they possibly be from Mexico? So what’s the answer to the question Donald? David is more polite than me so he tries again.
DAVID MUIR: But you talked — often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, “It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.” He says …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.
COMMENT: “….there will be a payment.” So where’s the contract? And what if there isn’t (as Mexico’s President says), after America has paid for the wall. Have you considered that Donald? “It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.” What on earth does that mean?
We wanna have a very stable, very solid Mexico. Even more solid than it is right now. And they need it also. Lots of things are coming across Mexico that they don’t want. I think it’s going to be a good thing for both countries. And I think the relationship will be better than ever before.
COMMENT: If you have any idea what this means please let me know.
You know, when we had a prisoner in Mexico, as you know, two years ago, that we were trying to get out. And Mexico was not helping us, I will tell you, those days are over. I think we’re gonna end up with a much better relationship with Mexico. We will have the wall and in a very serious form Mexico will pay for the wall.
COMMENT: “…. in a very serious form Mexico will pay for the wall.” Now it has changed from a complicated form to ‘a very serious form’ Which one is it and what does he mean?
Notice David is still waiting for an answer to Q4?