Stephen Colbert starts his latest monologue with the same humour we are used to seeing from him, but he ends on a very serious note. It is well worth watching … please do …
Last week, Donald Trump finally, after much speculation, selected a running mate, Indiana Governor Michael Pence. Yay. But it would appear that these two have little in common, and I think they do not even actually much like each other!
On Saturday, 16 July, Mr. Trump introduced Mike Pence as his running mate. First, though, da trumpeter had to blow his own horn in a 28-minute speech that was, by all accounts a rambling monologue at times, diatribe at others, in which he talked about Hillary Clinton, terrorism, his primary victories, his crushing of a “Stop Trump” movement. Donald Trump understands infrastructure and how to build a border wall, he said. He even got in a plug for his new hotel in Washington. And then, finally, he remembered his 2nd banana and said “Back to Mike Pence!” But instead of actually allowing Pence to speak, he used the reference to the Hoosier State to remind the audience of 150 that he had trounced Mr. Pence’s endorsed candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, in the primary there. Eventually, he did hand the microphone to Mr. Pence, but rather than stand beside him, as was expected, he patted him on the shoulder and walked off stage. Apparently, once the conversation was no longer about himself, he became bored and went home to play with his toys. One tweeter (is it tweeter, or twitterer?) had the following comment: “Trump introducing Pence with a long list of ways Trump is awesome, has been awesome, and will continue to be awesome in the future.” (Haberman, New York Times, 18 July 2016)
Fast forward to the next day …
Sunday, 17 July, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence did their first joint interview with Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes in a segment titled The Republican Ticket. Leslie Stahl is a seasoned veteran, having been with CBS since 1972 and 60 Minutes since 1991. She served as White House correspondent under three presidents: Carter, Reagan, and Bush, Sr. She covered Watergate. She has interviewed heads of state from around the globe. She is no novice. But even she could not corral da trumpeter and squeeze any sensible discussion out of him. Which is not to say that he was silent … au contraire! He had much to say, without ever actually answering a question. Oh yeah … and he even let Mike Pence speak a time or two. Take a peek at some of the more ‘stellar’ moments. As always, my comments are in italics.
*Stahl: Are you ready for this world that we are facing today?
Trump: We’re both ready. I’ve no doubt. We need toughness. We need strength. Obama’s weak, Hillary’s weak. And part of it is that, a big part of it. We need law and order. We need strong borders.
Stahl: But all reactions to what’s been going on aren’t muscular. For example, look what happened in Turkey. There was a military coup in a democratic country; a NATO ally. How would you respond to that?
Donald Trump: Well, as a president, I’m going to be– you know, they’ve been an ally and I stay with our allies. They have been an ally. But that was a quick coup.
Did he not understand the question?
Stahl: But what about the chemistry between you two [referring to himself and Pence]? You don’t really know each other that well. [Addressing Pence] You’re — at least I’ve read, a very low-key, very religious, [addressing Trump] you’re a brash New Yorker —
Trump: Religious —
Stahl: Are you?
Trump: Yeah, religious.
Stahl: — you wouldn’t —
Donald Trump: Hey, I won the evangelicals. The evangelicals —
Stahl: That doesn’t —
Pence: You know, nobody thought – He speaks!!!! Or not …
Trump: —well, I think it means a lot. I don’t think they think I’m perfect, and they would get up and they would say, “You know, he’s not perfect,” but —
Stahl: They’d point to the —
Trump: — they like me —
Stahl: — divorces —
Trump: — but I won — I won states with evangelicals that nobody thought I’d even come close to—
Stahl: Well, that’s true —
Trump: — and I won —
Stahl: — so you didn’t —
Trump: — with landslides —
Stahl: — need him for the evangelicals?
Trump: I think it helps. But I don’t think I needed him, no, because — I won with evangelicals.
Pence: But I think we have more in common —
Whew … did you notice that nobody completed an entire sentence?
Stahl: But we did go to war, if you remember. We went to Iraq.
Trump: Yeah, you went to Iraq, but that was handled so badly. And that was a war — by the way, that was a war that we shouldn’t have entered because Iraq did not knock down — excuse me —
Stahl: Your running mate —
Trump: Iraq did not —
Stahl: — voted for it.
Trump: I don’t care.
Stahl: What do you mean you don’t care that he voted for?
Trump: It’s a long time ago. And he voted that way and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people.
Stahl: But you’ve harped on this.
Trump: But I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
Stahl: Yeah, but you’ve used that vote of Hillary’s that was the same as Gov. Pence as the example of her bad judgment.
Trump: Many people have, and frankly, I’m one of the few that was right on Iraq. What terrific insight he had!
Stahl: Yeah, but what about he —
Trump: He’s entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.
Stahl: But she’s not? Okay, come on —
Trump: But she’s not — Why? Because da trumpeter said so, that’s why.
Stahl: She’s not?
Trump: No. She’s not.
Stahl: Got it. Finally, she realizes that she is fighting a losing battle and just simply gives up.
Stahl: [Speaking to Pence] In December you tweeted, and I quote you, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the US are offensive and unconstitutional.”
Trump: So you call it territories. Okay? We’re gonna do territories. We’re gonna not let people come in from Syria that nobody knows who they are. Hillary Clinton wants 550 percent more people to come in than Obama —
Stahl: So you —
Trump: — who doesn’t know what he’s —
Stahl: — so you’re changing —
Trump: — so we’re going to —
Stahl: — your position.
Trump: — no, I — call it whatever you want. We’ll call it territories, okay?
Stahl: So not Muslims?
Trump: You know — the Constitution (if only he had read it)— there’s nothing like it. But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, as a country, okay? And I’ll tell you this. Call it whatever you want, change territories, but there are territories and terror states and terror nations that we’re not gonna allow the people to come into our country. And we’re gonna have a thing called “extreme vetting.” And if people wanna come in, there’s gonna be extreme vetting. We’re gonna have extreme vetting. They’re gonna come in and we’re gonna know where they came from and who they are. How I wish we could have extreme vetting to eradicate stupid people who keep repeating the same phrase over and over!
Pence: You just asked me — if I’m comfortable with that and I am. What, what Donald — He tries to speak …
Stahl: You’re on the same page on that?
Pence: Clearly this man is not a politician. He doesn’t speak like a politician —
Stahl: He’s done pretty well.
Pence: — he speaks from his heart — Wait … did he say “heart”? Who knew he had one?
Trump: Is that a good thing? I think that’s a good thing.
Pence: — he speaks from his heart. And —
Stahl: Well, I —
Trump: Well, I — I speak from my heart and my brain. Just so we understand. His brain? OMG – who knew he even had one?
Trump: This is [points to head] may be more important.
There is much more, however in the interest of time, space, and hoping not to be charged with copyright infringement*, I can only include a small portion of the interview here. It continues in the same vein, with Trump never completing a sentence and never directly answering any question, and Pence barely speaking, again not in whole sentences. If you are interested in an article highlighting the five most interesting parts, here is a link (includes 5:15 video). Or if you are really a glutton for punishment and wish to read the entire transcript, which will have you shaking your head and running for the aspirin bottle, but even so is hysterically funny, follow this link (includes full video 21:35). Meanwhile, stay tuned, as I am certain there is much, much more fun coming in the next three-and-a-half months!
Special thanks to Senam for pointing me in the right direction and suggesting this post!
*All quoted dialog is courtesy of CBS News and 60 Minutes