Dowd just lets Trump hold forth, types up his answers verbatim, and takes everything he says at face value. Here's Dowd asking Trump about his meeting with Paul Ryan:
So, with the soul of the party at stake, the two most powerful -- and polar opposite -- men in the G.O.P. got down to it.Dowd asks what Ryan said to Trump and Trump replies that Ryan expressed amazement at how fabulous Trump is. You and I might take this with a grain of salt. Dowd just accepts it as fact:
What were Speaker Ryan’s demands?
“We talked about the success I’ve had,” Trump replied. “Paul said to me that he has never seen anything like it because I’m a nonpolitician and I beat very successful politicians. He was really fascinated by how I won. I said, it’s just like I have good ideas and I’ve bonded with the people and my people are very loyal. They will stay through thick and thin, whereas the people that support Marco and Cruz wouldn’t. If Jeb sneezed, they’d leave.”
No doubt Ryan was furiously taking notes for 2020, in case Trump loses big, which is a nearly unanimous expectation in the nation’s capital.You can read that as Dowd expressing skepticism about Trump's skill as a candidate, but I read it as "Wow, Trump really did kick ass in the primaries, something Ryan desperately wants to do!"
So Ryan didn’t ask Trump to stop making remarks that alienate women? “No,” Trump said, “he wants me to be me.” So much for the showdown."So much for the showdown"? Trump says no criticism was expressed and Dowd just takes that on faith? Miller or Barron couldn't have done a better job of channeling Trump's thoughts.
Dowd asks about Elizabeth Warren't criticisms of Trump. Trump calls Warren "Pocahontas." Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd mentions the fact that Senator John Cornyn offered advice to Trump about reaching out to Hispanic voters. Trump makes a wisecrack about getting advice from people lower than him in the pecking order. Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd questions Trump about his recent meeting with James Baker. Trump says they talked about Ronald Reagan. Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd asks about Trump's unreleased tax returns. Trump insists they won't show that he's poorer than he claims to be and won't show that he hides his money in offshore tax havens. Dowd asks no follow-up, and expresses no skepticism.
Dowd even asks about the Miller/Barron story. Trump says, no, the person on the 1991 tape praising Trump in Trumpesque language isn't Trump himself, even though Trump subsequently admitted using fake names in phone conversations. Does Dowd ask a follow-up? I'm pretty sure you know the answer.
No one not named Donald Trump can deliver the unadulterated Trump message as effectively as Trump pretending to be John Miller or John Barron -- but Maureen Dowd comes awfully close.