For someone without a single real accomplishment under his belt from his time as president, Donald Trump has a lot to say about his far more successful successor. He still refuses to admit that President Biden won the 2020 election and has repeatedly launched bad faith attacks on his administration. The controversy over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has given him an opportunity to escalate his criticisms of Biden while conveniently ignoring the fact that he himself called for an even faster departure from the region.
In a new interview with right-wing radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt this morning, Trump tore into Biden yet again. Hewitt teed him up by asking about the “fiasco abroad,” a phrasing that implies there could have been some neat and tidy way to withdraw from a two-decades-long war. The tragic reality is that while there are perhaps valid criticisms to be made of the exact manner in which the withdrawal was executed, it was always going to be a chaotic, heartbreaking affair.
Hewitt also dinged Biden for allegedly not answering enough questions from the press.
“Well, he can’t be available, because I don’t think he knows what’s happening,” said Trump. “And it’s frankly a horrible thing that’s going on. I think it’s the most embarrassing moment for our military and for our country. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen, it just doesn’t make sense. How they’re doing it, what they’re doing, we had it in perfect shape,” added Trump who, again it must be pointed out, originally criticized Biden for not withdrawing troops sooner. Hewitt agreed that Biden’s handling of the situation “made no sense.”
The two of them went back and forth for a while, both happily propagating the myth that Trump had some kind of coherent strategy for Afghanistan. In this fantasy world that will never come to pass, Trump would have been tough but fair with the Taliban, they would have feared and respected him, nobody would have been hurt, and the withdrawal would have gone perfectly smooth. The litany of crises botched by President Trump—most notably the COVID-19 outbreak—reveals the delusion at work here. If Trump were still in the White House the withdrawal would either never happen at all or happen in a much more incompetent fashion.
At one point in the interview, Trump championed the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the leader of the Iranian Quds Force Qasem Soleimani and absurdly insisted that both were “bigger” gets than Osama Bin Laden.
“Now just so you understand, Soleimani is bigger by many, many times than Osama bin Laden. The founder of ISIS is bigger by many, many times, al-Baghdadi, than Osama bin Laden,” claimed Trump. “Osama bin Laden had one hit, and it was a bad one, in New York City, the World Trade Center. But these other two guys were monsters. They were monsters. And I kept saying for years why aren’t they getting them? For years, I said it. I got them. The press doesn’t talk about it. They don’t talk about it because they don’t want to talk about it. You talk about it a little bit.”
Trump even managed to blame the details of the Afghanistan withdrawal on the election, once again falsely claiming that he won it.
“And we were getting ready to leave, and then the election was rigged,” lied Trump. “And shockingly, I lost. Even though I got 12 million more votes than I got the first time, even though I ran a better campaign than I ran the first time, the election was lost. The ballots were rigged. They used COVID in order to cheat, because they cheat fantastically. If they could fight wars like they cheat an election, we would have had that war one in one day. But…”
Hugh steered Trump away from the election and back towards foreign policy, at which point the former president began lavishing bizarre compliments on the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.
“I was with the head of Pakistan, who is a great guy, Khan. And we met, and he is a very respected figure and a very great athlete, actually. He is like the Mickey Mantle of cricket. I don’t know if you know that,” said Trump.
“Right, right,” responded Hewitt.
“But a very respected, dignified, handsome man,” Trump added. “And I was with him, and I got along with him very well. He said when I heard that you took out Soleimani, I closed my offices and I went home for a week. It was the biggest thing to happen in the Middle East in 100 years. He said you have no idea. When you took out Soleimani, that was the biggest thing to happen in the Middle East, Mr. President, in 100 years. Now…
Hewitt went on to ask about the idea of Biden resigning.
“Over the weekend, you called for President Biden to resign, but that would make Kamala Harris the president. Do you believe she would be doing a better job than Biden?” asked Hewitt.
“I think that she’s terrible. I think that she, I was surprised when he picked her, because she was done, she had done very poor in the debates, and she had done very poor in the polling. She was heading in the wrong direction, but he picked her. Look, everything this guy does is sort of strange,” said Trump, who once claimed that windmills can cause cancer.
“And I just looked a recent poll where she’s down even lower than him, which is pretty hard, because he’s down very low,” he went on. “I also looked at polls where I’m winning by many points, but I was when we had the election. I don’t know. We have people in office that did not win the election, okay? They didn’t win the election,” Trump added before rambling off some of his usual misinformation and conspiracy theories about 2020.
“Mr. President, it’s much more important to talk about Afghanistan than these claims. I have not seen one claim that I agree with, but let’s talk about Afghanistan,” responded Hewitt.
“Well, the claims, I mean, they’re, well, you know why? Because the press doesn’t write about it, Hugh. They won’t write about it,” whined Trump.
“Okay, I have not seen one that I agree with, but I…” said Hewitt.
“You could have certified numbers, which we will have. But you could have certified numbers, and the press doesn’t write about it, because we have a very corrupt media,” said Trump, at which point Hewitt finally wrestled him back to the topic of Afghanistan.
As the interview was winding down, Hewitt asked Trump if any Republicans have impressed him enough to endorse in 2024 if he decides not to run himself.
“Yeah, a number of people have impressed me,” said Trump.
“Like who?” asked Hewitt.
“A number, I don’t want to say right now. This isn’t the right time to say. I just picked somebody to run against a person named Liz Cheney, who’s off her rocker. And I’ll be announcing that sometime today,” said Trump, who has feuded with Cheney off and on since she slammed his role in the January 6th insurrection.
“You know, Mr. President, I like Liz a lot, so let’s not talk about her. I like her and her…let’s not talk about her,” said Hewitt.
“That’s okay. But she went crazy. She’s off her rocker,” said Trump.
As usual, Trump takes a perverse delight in attacking prominent women like Kamala Harris and Liz Cheney. Hewitt, who was clearly uncomfortable with the attacks on Cheney in particular, bit off more than he could chew by agreeing to interview our increasingly deranged former president. This interview is not only an example of journalistic malpractice but a harsh condemnation of Hewitt’s essential character.
Read the full interview here.
Here is the complete audio of my interview with former President Trump from this AM and the first part of the transcript. Check back for more of the transcript as @radioblogger makes it available. Feel free to use audio with attribution and a link: https://t.co/21fymFKvuI
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) August 26, 2021
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