Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Donald Trump Not Knocked Down Again

leave a comment »

Trump

I watched with interest Scott Pelley’s 60 Minutes interview with Donald Trump.  What I got out of it was that although Mr. Pelley pounded Mr. Trump with rapid fire questions, Mr. Trump responded with rapid fire answers that were totally coherent.

I remember when former presidential candidates struggled over geo-political, international finance, or immigration issues.  Donald Trump did not struggle.  He admitted his eschewed and outsider status with establishment politicians.  He reiterated his intention to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, retrieve American jobs from Asia and reduce America’s support of certain countries in the Middle East.  He outlined a complicated tax policy. The thing about Donald Trump is although he is extreme, he does seem to own up to the things Republicans wish the traunche of current candidates had the guts to say.

The problem is that the Republicans who support Mr. Trump are not the majority of voters who, according to a century of polls, are what statisticians like to call “Middle America.”  Middle America is generally accepting of the intracacies of the economy, the problems with immigration and the complications of international relations than their more conservative countrymen.  They know the President has to walk a thin line and they don’t want Wall Street gouging them no matter how much the more free market thinkers among us think more money means better everything.

But as I watched the interview, I noticed that between the interview segments, the story reinforced Trump’s growing power, popularity and influence.  It acknowledged him as an egotist but also as a power broker.  And without the yelling that normally orbits a Trump interview, I noticed what seemed to me Mr. Trump extracting quiet respect from Mr. Pelly.

When he challenged Trump on him saying that if the presidency doesn’t work out, he’ll go back to business, I thought to myself, that probably wasn’t the best indictment of someone’s qualifications.  I remembed hearing something very similar regarding George Washington, our first president.  Apparently, Mr. Washington didn’t seek the presidency either.  But he was asked repeatedly by his peers and took the job reluctantly.  And when his term was finished, he returned to his quiet life as a successful businessman.

I haven’t watched the segments of the interview that didn’t make it into the 60 Minutes story,  But Mr. Pelley fired all of his questions and Donald Trump emerged from the inteview standing.  Throughout it all, Mr. Trump displayed an air of confidence if bordering arrogance, of assertion if bordering aggression, of vision if bordering magical thinking.  But he hardly sounded any worse than any in the current Republican presidential field who say everything but what their constituents wish they would.  I can’t tell if they’re worse than Trump because they’re not as honest or better than Trump because they’re more diplomatic.  But either way, he’s got to be their worst nightmare.  He has Reagan’s optimism for America, Chris Christie’s ability to throw a punch, Ted Cruz’s brainpower and he’s not politically correct.

It will be very interesting to see what happens in the weeks and months to come.

UPDATE:

NPR’s Elsa Chang just did a story (December 22, 2015) where she visited a military academy Donald Trump’s father sent him to as a teenager.  The story didn’t exactly glorify Trump, but highlighted his desire to be the best, his willingness to be led so as to learn how to lead, his prowess as a ladies man and the fact that 50 years later, his classmates still admire him.

Like with the CBS story above, this is good press for Trump.  Interesting.

 

 

Advertisements

Written by Interviewer

September 28, 2015 at 10:28

Posted in Scratchpad

Tagged with , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: