Donald Trump’s presidential campaign denied a report on Wednesday that the Republican presidential nominee had three times asked a foreign policy adviser why the U.S. could not use its vast nuclear arsenal.Here's what Scarborough said on the air this morning:
“There is no truth to this,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Hill in an email, as the anecdote from MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough gained traction on the internet.
SCARBOROUGH: ... I'll be careful here. Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, "If we have them, why can't we use them?"The head of Trump's campaign, Paul Manafort, says this is inaccurate because Trump hasn't had any meetings of the kind Scarborough describes.
[MIKE] BARNICLE: Wow.
SCARBOROUGH: That's one of the reasons why he has -- he just doesn't have foreign policy experts around him.
BARNICLE: Trump? Trump asked three times whether we can use nuclear weapons?
SCARBOROUGH: Three times in an hour briefing, "Why can't we use nuclear weapons?"
But Scarborough wasn't talking about the formal security briefings given to presidential nominees. Scarborough was talking about meetings with foreign policy experts. We know Trump has had a couple of those -- in May he met with James Baker and with Henry Kissinger.
Trump went on to claim that he won Kissinger over, or at least persuaded him that he'd be feared as president:
Donald Trump said Henry Kissinger agrees with his foreign policy ideas at a rally in Fresno, California Friday.But Kissinger denied that:
“One of the biggest diplomats in the country who is a friend of mine, you saw recently I actually met with him and it was all over the place, so you can figure it out,” Trump began, apparently referencing a meeting he had with Kissinger, former secretary of state and foreign policy guru, in the middle of May.
Trump continued: “And he said, ‘Donald, I thought you were wrong in your approach. I thought it was too tough. But you know what? All of those countries are calling me, What do we do, what do we do, how can we make him happy?'”
Through a spokesperson, Kissinger disputed Trump’s account. “On foreign policy, you identify many key problems” Kissinger said of Trump. “I do not generally agree with the solutions. One-shot outcomes are probably not possible.”"One-shot outcomes are probably not possible." What did Kissinger's spokesperson mean by that? Was that an overly cryptic way of signaling the fact that Trump had said he could settle any international dispute with one nuke?
I don't know why this months-old conversation came to light only now. Maybe Scarborough, who was a Trump lackey for months, didn't want to go public with it at the time, and is doing so now to try to help his precious GOP put some distance between itself and the floundering embarrassment of the Trump campaign. Or maybe the expert -- Kissinger or whoever it was -- didn't give Scarborough the OK to go public with the story until now. I can imagine that the expert didn't quite believe that Trump is as dangerous as he is until this week-- a lot of supposedly smart political insiders were similarly asleep at the wheel until now.
Maybe Scarborough is going public with the story as part of this exercise in futility:
ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated -- and confused -- by Donald Trump's erratic behavior that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out.Of course he hasn't, you idiots.
... Trump would have to voluntarily exit the race. Officials say there is no mechanism for forcing him to withdraw his nomination. (Trump has not given any indications that he no longer wants to be his party's nominee.)
A guy who obsessively needs to be the alpha in every room he's in isn't going to drop out, so can we kill this talking point?— (((Danielle))) (@abradacabla) August 3, 2016
@abradacabla I don't know why people don't get this. Quitting is worse than losing for Trump. He can blame a loss on others.— Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) August 3, 2016
The Republican establishment may be sick of Trump, but Trump isn't sick of Trump. He may not be enjoying himself as much as he was when he was winning primaries, but he likes himself, and he likes being liked by crowds. He sincerely believes the conspiracy theories he peddles, so not only will he respond to a loss by saying he was cheated, he'll mean it. He's a pure product of right-wing propaganda. He believes in nukes because thinks every problem has a simple solution ("toughness," "resolve"), and he believes he'd win a fair election because the right has been telling us for years that Democrats only win elections as a result of fraud. So no, he's not going anywhere.