Every weekend, the airwaves are cluttered with the voices of would be presidential candidates, pundits and assorted other folks. This week we award Donald Trump an F for his performance. Mayor Bloomberg should get an A or A-.
The encounter between Donald Trump and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie was notable. Trump tried to wax presidential even as he showed off his apparent ignorance of history.
Trump seemed perplexed when asked about the legal principle that served as the foundation of Roe v. Wade.
Guthrie: Is there a right to privacy in the Constitution?
“Trump: I guess there is. I guess there is. And why just out of curiosity. Why do you ask that question?”
He was asked to explain how his position on the right to privacy “squares” with his anti-abortion position. Trump’s reply:
“Well, that’s a pretty strange way of getting to pro-life. I mean it’s a very unique way of asking about pro-life. What does that have to do with privacy? How are you equating pro-life with privacy?”
“Guthrie: Well, you know about the Roe v. Wade decision.”
“Trump: Yes. Right. Sure. Look, I am pro-life. I’ve said it. I’m very strong there.”
At another point, Trump talked of his educational achievements: “I think I’m presidential. I think I have a very high aptitude and I think I was at the best schools and always did good.” Did “good,” Donald? I think your grammar teacher would have corrected that. You did well.
On other matters, Trump was both defensive and offensive. Again, he questioned whether Obama had a proper birth certificate -- and he was confronted with the fact that Karl Rove, no stranger to rough and tumble politics, had said that raising the so-called birther issue “means he [Trump] is in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate.”
Trump’s response: “Oh, really? I’m leading in every poll.” And he said he hoped Obama does have a birth certificate.
Trump, after this battering, got unexpected support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who told Chris Wallace on Fox News that: “I’m a friend of Donald Trump. He’s a New York icon.”
But, balancing that, Bloomberg said: “I think the Republicans are making a terrible mistake in making this a big issue. We have immigration. We have the deficit. We have the economy. Those are the things the public cares about. My girlfriend always says that it’s all about housing and jobs. My house, my job.”
The Mayor was most eloquent when he spoke about the immigration crisis. “Our economy is actually doing better,” he said, “and it’s because of immigrants. Forty percent of the people that live in New York City were born outside of the United States.”
But was he saying that people who broke the law are going to benefit? Bloomberg replied: “You know, slamming our thumb with a hammer because it feels good when we stop is a nice thing to talk about but it’s not very good policy.”
He added: “These people are here. Yes, they broke the law. Nobody should say they shouldn’t. Let’s figure out a way where they can pay a penalty, do what we need to have them do to become productive citizens and then get on with it.”
Bloomberg says he isn’t running for president. Trump says, in effect, that he is. Both New Yorkers have giant egos. But Trump’s ego, as indicated just by the buildings he’s erected along the river on the west side, verges on the grotesque. The “Trump Place” buildings look like penitentiaries.
I guess that taste is not a requirement for a presidential candidate. Forgive me for straying a bit off course, but isn’t this a bit too much?